"I've got a pretty strenuous offseason program that is designed to keep my strength up by doing a lot of different types of workouts," Longwell said. "I was more worried about my kickoffs, but it has translated over to field goals."
For most of his career, sending Longwell out to kick a long field goal was an iffy proposition at best. In his first 11 seasons from 1997-2005, Longwell had made just 14 of 28 attempts of 50+ yards. If he was sent out to try a long field goal, there was just as good a chance that he would miss it as make it. Things were even worse with the Vikings. In his first two years with the team, he attempted six field goals of 50 or more yards and missed five of them.
But, thanks to his new offseason training regimen, the results have been significantly different. Since the start of the 2008 season, Longwell has made all eight of his attempts from 50 yards and beyond. He made all six of his tries last year and is 2-for-2 this season, including Sunday's 52-yarder. Whatever it is that has made Longwell better from long distance, it's working.
"I'm not trying to kick the ball lower like I used to," Longwell said. "I used to do that to get extra distance. When he you do that, you increase the chances that it could get blocked and there is no margin for error when you kick it. I try to kick it normally as I do shorter field goals and it has worked. Some of the guys have kidded me that, whatever it is I'm doing, keep doing it. I think I will."