Less than a half hour after his worst professional outing, Blair Walsh was already trying to kick his performance to the curb. He undoubtedly hopes for better success doing that than he had in the rainy, windy conditions at TCF Bank Stadium Saturday night.
Walsh, who signed a four-year contract extension with $5.25 million guaranteed, missed field goals of 35, 38 and 49 yards and added a missed point-after touchdown from 33 yards out.
Zimmer said he wasn’t sure if the wind affected Walsh, but it was one of things that “concerns” the Minnesota Vikings head coach had coming off the third preseason game.
“You’ve got to go out there, do your job, make your kicks and move on. One miss leads to the other,” Walsh said. “You make one of those first two and the last one doesn’t even have to happen. They all come off of each other and you’ve got to be able to do your job.”
The winds and weather at TCF didn’t just create a one-hour, five-minute delay for lightning in the second quarter, it helped create some special teams drama in a preseason game.
Walsh missed a 35-yard field goal that sliced wildly to the right, then followed that up with a missed a 33-yard extra point to the right on the opposite end of the field when the wind didn’t help it back to the left.
“Yeah, it’s discouraging in the moment, but I think when you look back at what you’ve done so far and what I’ve been doing in camp and that’s the most frustrating part about it is you want to take your results and what you do pregame and in camp and what you’ve done in your career and do it right now,” Walsh said. “I’m not doing it right now and I’m not translating it over and I need to fix it.”
Mike Zimmer said he wasn’t sure if the winds affected Walsh, but he clearly wasn’t happy with Walsh’s performance.
The missed 35-yarder, 49-yarder and missed PAT were all to the right. The 38-yarder went wide left.
“I wasn’t playing it out there. It just kind of drifted right off my foot,” Walsh said of the second miss to the right. “I thought I actually made good contact on it. I got a good hold of it but it just didn’t go where I wanted it to go.
“(The wind) switched around a bunch during the game, but it was consistently windy. It’s one of those games where you want to move past it, realize what you did wrong and do better in Dallas.”
It wasn’t all bad on special teams.
Marcus Sherels provided a spark with a 49-yard third-quarter kickoff return. Filling in for Cordarrelle Patterson, Sherels fielded the kickoff 8 yards deep in the end zone and returned it 49 yards to the 41-yard line, getting another 5 yards added for offsides on the Raiders.
Earlier in the game, Sherels pulled out another of his tricks, downing a punt at the 2-yard line.
Rookie Stefon Diggs, who is battling Sherels for the punt return job, had a 29-yard punt return in the fourth quarter.
And Jeff Locke, who struggled to find consistency last year, had three punts, averaging 42 yards – and all three of them were inside the 20-yard line.
Walsh discouraged, tries to move on
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