Vikings coach Mike Zimmer hadn’t talked to kicker Blair Walsh after Sunday’s loss to Seattle when he met with reporters and said, “It’s a chip shot. He’s got to make it.”
It’s nothing Walsh hadn’t said or anyone hadn’t expected to hear. But it became an overblown deal with people saying Zimmer had thrown his kicker under the bus. (And people wonder why fewer athletes and coaches have even fewer honest and interesting things they’re willing to say in today’s world).
Earlier today, during his post-season press conference Zimmer said he talked to Walsh in front of the team. He didn’t go into details, but it sure sounds like the coach kept the kicker out from under the wheels of the bus in the aftermath of Walsh’s missed 27-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in the 10-9 wild-card loss to Seattle.
“I think our team handled it remarkably well in the things that they said [after the game],” Zimmer said. “I know people are giving me a hard time about saying he needed to make that kick. But if it had been Kyle Rudolph in the end zone, I would have said, ‘He needed to make that catch.’ Or if it would have been Xavier Rhodes, it would have been, ‘He needed to knock that ball down.’ That’s my expectations going back to that. I expect our guys to perform all of the time.
“[Walsh] wasn’t on the field when we didn’t cover the guy when [Russell] Wilson grabbed the ball and ran it and threw it down to the 1-yard line. He wasn’t on the field when we fumbled. There was a lot of other situations throughout the course of the ballgame. One play does not win or lose. Unfortunately for kickers, it’s the finality of the situation that happens. We had many, many opportunities to win that football game.”