MINNEAPOLIS — After his missed extra point and blocked field goal again made him a subject of postgame intrigue following the Minnesota Vikings‘ 22-16 overtime loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday, kicker Blair Walsh voiced his exasperation to the reporters at his locker.
“It’s not that I’m frustrated with you. It’s just, you guys have got to understand, what do you want the answer to be?” Walsh said. “I want to be there for my team. Of course I want to make it. But come on. You guys ask the same questions every week — ‘Did you make it? Why didn’t it go in?’ I mean, 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 kicker’s third-quarter extra point attempt ricocheted off the upright instead of tying the game at 10 in the third quarter, and Walsh had a 46-yard field goal attempt blocked in the fourth quarter with the Vikings down by a point. He has now missed three extra points this season, the most in the NFL. Walsh, who came into the game tied for 18th in the league in field goal percentage, has now made 12 of his 16 field goal attempts this season.
Asked to explain what happened on the two misses, Walsh said, “They didn’t go in, man. I mean, you watched it.” When asked if the extra point felt good coming off his foot, Walsh said, “I mean, obviously not. It didn’t go in, right? I mean, you guys are going to ask me this question a million times. ‘Did it feel good?’ ‘Did I make it?’ No, I didn’t. ‘Do I have to?’ Yes. ‘Do I want to?’ Yes. I mean, if you’ve got something else, please. Seriously.”
Later, when asked what he saw on the field goal attempt that Tyrunn Walkerblocked, Walsh said. “I probably did not hit it well enough. I mean, you can never know until you watch film, but I probably did not hit it well enough, and did not get it over the line. So that’s my fault, and I need to come through for my team there.” When asked if the kick was too low, Walsh said, “It’s hard to tell, but that would be my guess.”
The Vikings were down by four when coach Mike Zimmer decided to go for it on fourth down from the Lions’ 5 midway through the fourth quarter. Zimmer said he felt like the Vikings’ offense “continues to need confidence as they move forward,” and while he said “it did factor in that [Walsh] missed an extra point in there,” he added, “That really wasn’t it. … I was prepared to get a field goal, but it was so close that I figured [I’d go for it]. Points for us are hard to come by — at least they were in the beginning of the ballgame.”
The Vikings signed Walsh to a four-year contract extension in July 2015, but the kicker struggled at the beginning of the 2015 season before missing a 27-yard field goal attempt at the end of the Vikings’ NFC wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The team has continued to stand by Walsh, and players backed the kicker in the locker room Sunday. Asked where he stands now with Walsh, Zimmer said, “I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m not going to make any evaluations right now. Today’s not the day to be making any evaluations.”