Eight games into the season, Blair Walsh has missed either an extra point or field in four of them. On Sunday against the Detroit Lions, he missed both an extra point and a field goal in a 22-16 overtime loss.
It was one of the primary reasons the Minnesota Vikings lost and it could cost Walsh his job after a season of struggles.
The Vikings kicker missed an extra point that kept Minnesota from tying the game. His missed extra point in the third quarter kept the Vikings behind 10-9. His blocked 46-yard field goal attempt a little over a minute into the fourth quarter kept the Vikings trailing by a point and led a 53-yard field goal that extended Detroit’s lead to 13-9.
“They didn’t go in, man. You watched it,” an irritated Walsh said after the game.
“It’s not that I’m frustrated with (the media), but you guys have got to understand that what do you want the answer to be? I want to be there for my team, of course I do. I mean, come on. You guys ask the same question every week: ‘Did you make it? Why didn’t it go in?’ If I had the answer right away, I’d tell you. I’m confident in what I’m doing. I know that I’m going to be fine, but it’s tough right now.”
The question is whether Walsh will have the chance to rebound this time. It was his third missed extra point of the season and his fourth missed field goal.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has kept Walsh on the roster up to this point, but he didn’t sound as convinced that would remain the case after Sunday’s loss.
“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Zimmer said when asked where he stands with Walsh. “I’m not going to make any evaluations right now. Today’s not the day to be making any evaluations.”
Walsh’s blocked field goal early in the fourth quarter was returned to the Minnesota 42-yard line and the Lions took the 13-9 lead when Detroit kicker Matt Prater hit a 53-yard field goal.
“Probably didn’t hit it well enough. You never know until you watch film,” Walsh said of the block. “I probably didn’t hit it well enough, get it over the line. That’s my fault. I need to come through for my team there.”
But after missing the extra point and field goal, he said he didn’t watch as Prater hit a 58-yard field goal as time expired in regulation to send it to overtime tied at 16.
Walsh’s missed extra point in the third quarter hit the right upright and bounced backwards and changed the complexion of how the Vikings would approach the final 19 minutes of regulation.
“It didn’t go in, right? You guys are going to ask me this question a million times – ‘Did it feel good? Did I make it?’ No. Do I have to? Yes. Do I want to? Yes,” Walsh said. “If you’ve got something else, please. Seriously.”
Walsh, who missed a 27-yard field in the first round of last year’s playoffs that likely would have been the game winner, is now 12-for-16 on field goals and 13-for-16 on extra points, but said he hopes he still has the support of his teammates.
“I have no idea. I would hope so. I’ve been around this league long enough,” he said. “I’ve been in this league long enough, I’ve had success, but I’m in a place where I’ve got to make kicks. I know that. That’s really what it comes down to.”