Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY

Mike Zimmer on releasing Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh: ‘Just part of the business’

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the release of Blair Walsh is “just part of the business” after giving him “a lot of opportunities.”

The Minnesota Vikings held onto Blair Walsh longer than a vocal segment of fans would have liked, but on Tuesday they ended the saga by releasing the struggling kicker.

“It was just something we felt like we needed to do, kind of move forward. We’re all accountable for the things we have to get done,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “I think we gave him a lot of opportunities. Although Blair is a great kid and it was hard to do, it’s just part of the business.”

Walsh had missed four field goals and four extra points this season. The most damaging game this season was a loss to the Detroit Lions, who are now tied with the Vikings atop the NFC North standings, when Walsh missed an extra point, had a field goal blocked and failed to properly execute a kickoff from the 50-yard line in the final minute of regulation.

Another missed extra point last week against the Washington Redskins finally ended it for Walsh with the Vikings.

“Obviously it’s tough anytime you see one of your teammates get let go,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “Obviously coach made that decision, but to be honest I don’t know a lot about our new kicker.”

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The Vikings signed former Redskins and New Orleans Saints Kai Forbath on Wednesday. He has some strong ties to the Vikings’ battery of specialists, as he, punter Jeff Locke and long snapper Kevin McDermott all went to UCLA.

“He’s been accurate. He’s kicked before. And then he had a UCLA connection with the snapper and the holder,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer said Walsh’s missed 27-yard field in the final minute of regulation of the Vikings’ 10-9 wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks in January wasn’t a distraction for the coach as Walsh’s struggles transitioned into the 2016 regular season, and Zimmer didn’t want to speak on the potential of teammates losing confidence in Walsh this year.

“I can’t really speak for the teammates’ confidence,” Zimmer said. “It just comes down to doing your job.”


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