Blair Walsh

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Blair Walsh
refer to caption
Walsh with the Vikings in 2015
No. 3 Minnesota Vikings
Position: Placekicker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1990-01-08) January 8, 1990 (age 26)
Place of birth: Boca Raton, Florida
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight: 170 lb (77 kg)
Career information
High school: Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Gibbons
College: Georgia
NFL draft: 2012 / Round: 6 / Pick: 175
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
NFL
High School
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2015
Field goals: 121
Field goal attempts: 142
Field goals %: 85.2
Longest FG: 56
Player stats at NFL.com

Blair Richard Walsh (born January 8, 1990) is an American football placekicker for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). Walsh played college football for the University of Georgia, was nicknamed the "Athens Assassin" for converting long field goal attempts.[1] He was drafted by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

High school career[edit]

Walsh at the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Walsh attended Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and played football for coach Michael Morill as their punter and placekicker. While a senior, he made 14 of 20 field goal attempts and 30 of 31 extra point attempts. Twice he hit field goals from 59 yards. Walsh also averaged 41 yards per punt and 69 yards per kickoff. For his efforts, he was named to USA Today's All-USA First Team Offense and noted as a top-5 kicker in the nation by ESPN.com.[2] He also played in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

College career[edit]

Walsh attended the University of Georgia, where he was a placekicker for coach Mark Richt's Georgia Bulldogs football team from 2008 to 2011. He was a standout player who amassed a number of significant kicking stats. During his time at Georgia, he made 4 field goals in a game three times. Twice he attempted a field goal from, his long, 56 yards and converted it once in a game against Coastal Carolina in his senior year. In all, Walsh made 184 of 185 PATs and 76 of 103 field goals. However, in his senior year he made just 21 of 35 field goal attempts.[3] He also had two tackles and one fumble recovery to his credit.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

2012 season[edit]

Walsh prepares for a kickoff

Walsh was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the fifth pick of the sixth round. A priority acquisition for the Vikings, Walsh would take over kicking duties for the released Ryan Longwell. Through the first 11 weeks of the season, Walsh missed only one field goal and had another blocked. He was 6-for-6 with kicks over 50 yards and 21-for-21 on extra point attempts. On December 16, Walsh passed Randy Moss for the Vikings' franchise record in points scored by a rookie (119). In his best week of his rookie season, in a game against the St. Louis Rams in week 15, Walsh equalled the NFL record for field goals made from 50 yards or more with his eighth kick (a new team record); his three 50-yarders in the game was also a team record.[4] His 5 kicks also tied an NFL record for most field goals of 37 yards or more in a single game, 5, which only Chris Boniol equaled for the Cowboys in 1996 and Scott Norwood in 1988. The next week in a game against the Houston Texans on December 23, 2012, Walsh completed a 56-yard attempt, setting the NFL record for field goals over 50 yards in a season with his 9th 50+ yarder. The 56 yarder also tied the Vikings record of longest field goal set by Paul Edinger in 2005.[5]

Walsh speaks with the media after game-winner against the Packers

In the final game of the 2012 season, Walsh completed a 54-yard field goal to make himself 10/10 over 50 yards on the season. He was 3 points short of tying an NFL record for most points in a season by a rookie at 144, Walsh ended 2012 with 141 points for the Vikings; which is the team record. His final regular season field goal allowed the Vikings to beat the Green Bay Packers 37-34 and earn a playoff berth. The field goal also tied the NFL record for most field goals by a rookie kicker at 35 with Ali Haji-Sheikh from 1983.

As reward for his standout rookie season, Walsh was selected for the NFC team in the 2013 Pro Bowl.[6] Walsh was also selected to the All-Pro 1st Team.

2013 season[edit]

In 2013's season opener against the Detroit Lions, Walsh tied the record for most consecutive 50 yard or more field goals with eleven, tying with Robbie Gould and Tony Zendejas.[7] Walsh broke the record three weeks later against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London, England with his twelfth straight 50+ yard field goal. On November 24 againist the Green Bay Packers Walsh hit four of four field goals and had five touchbacks off kickoffs; he was named NFC special teams player of the week.

2014 season[edit]

2015 season[edit]

In July, Walsh signed a four-year contract extension worth up to $14 million, including $5.25 million guaranteed, making him one of the top-five highest-paid kickers in the NFL.[8] He struggled in the preseason, making only five of eleven field goal attempts. Walsh missed a 36-yard field goal attempt in a 20–23 loss to the Denver Broncos in week 4. He picked himself up by converting seventeen consecutive field goals from week 4 in Denver through week 10 in Oakland, where he missed a 53-yarder that ended his streak. During this span, Walsh kicked back-to-back game-winning field goals: a 36-yarder against the Chicago Bears in week 8 and a 40-yarder in week 9 against the St. Louis Rams in overtime. Walsh has made five out of five field goal attempts on two separate occasions: week 7 against the Detroit Lions and week 16 against the New York Giants, including two 50+ yard field goals in each. For his efforts after scoring 19 points in Minnesota's 49–17 win over the Giants, Walsh was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[9]

In the Vikings' 20–13 win over the Green Bay Packers in week 17, Walsh converted both of his field goal attempts, giving him a total of 34 made field goals, the most among kickers in the 2015 NFL season.

In the Vikings' first playoff game since 2012 against Seattle on January 10, 2016, in a game played in Arctic conditions, Walsh was 3-for-3 on field goals before missing a potentially game-winning 27-yard attempt in the 4th quarter with 26 seconds remaining. Walsh kicked the laces of the football and hooked the attempt wide left, and the Vikings lost the game 10–9.[10][11] In the days following the game, Walsh and his family received death threats from fans.[12]

NFL awards and honors[edit]

  • 2012 AP All-Pro First Team: Only rookie selected
  • 2014 PFF All-NFC North Kicker of the Year [13]

NFL records[edit]

  • Most field goals of 50 yards or more made in a season – 10 (2012)
  • Most field goals of 50 yards or more made in a season without missing – 10 (2012)
  • Most field goals of 50 yards or more in a game – 3 (12/26/2012) (tied with Morten Anderson, Neil Rackers, and Kris Brown)
  • Most consecutive field goals of 50 yards or more made - 12 (2012–2013)
  • Most field goals of 37+ yards in a game – 5 (2012) (tied with Chris Boniol and Scott Norwood)
  • Highest field goal percentage in a season by a rookie – 92.1% (2012)
  • Most field goals made in a season by a rookie – 35 (2012) (tied with Ali Haji-Sheikh)

Vikings franchise records[edit]

  • Longest field goal – 56 yards (2012) (tied with Paul Edinger)
  • Longest field goal attempt – 68 yards (2014)
  • Most field goals of 50 yards or more in a season – 10 (2012)
  • Most field goals of 50 yards or more without missing in a season – 10 (2012)
  • Most field goals of 50 yards or more in a game – 3 (12/26/2012)
  • Most field goals of 50 yards or more – 23
  • Most consecutive field goals made of 50+ yards – 12 (2012-2013)
  • Highest FG% by a rookie kicker – 92.1% (2012)
  • Straight games making a 50+ yard field goal – 3 (2012)
  • Most points by a rookie in a single season – 141 (2012)[14]
  • Most touchbacks – 187
  • Most touchbacks in a season – 53 (2012)

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Minnesota Vikings
Regular Season Statistics
Overall Field Goals 20-29 Yards 30-39 Yards 40-49 Yards 50+ Yards PATs
Year Team G Blk Lng FGM FGA Pct FGM FGA Pct FGM FGA Pct FGM FGA Pct FGM FGA Pct XPM XPA Pct
2012 MIN 16 1 56 35 38 92.1 10 10 100.0 8 9 88.9 7 9 77.8 10 10 100.0 36 36 100.0
2013 MIN 16 0 54 26 30 86.7 7 7 100.0 12 12 100.0 5 6 83.3 2 5 40.0 43 44 97.7
2014 MIN 16 2 55 26 35 74.3 4 5 80.0 8 10 80.0 7 9 77.8 5 9 55.6 29 29 100.0
2015 MIN 16 1 54 34 39 87.2 9 9 100.0 13 15 86.7 6 7 85.7 6 8 75.0 33 37 89.2
Career 63 4 56 121 142 85.2 30 31 96.8 41 46 89.1 25 31 80.6 23 32 71.9 141 146 96.6

Post season[edit]

Minnesota Vikings
Post Season Statistics
Overall Field Goals 20-29 Yards 30-39 Yards 40-49 Yards 50+ Yards PATs
Year Team G Blk Lng FGM FGA Pct FGM FGA Pct FGM FGA Pct FGM FGA Pct FGM FGA Pct XPM XPA Pct
2012 MIN 1 0 33 1 1 100.0 0 0 0.0 1 1 100.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 1 1 100.0
2015 MIN 1 0 47 3 4 75.0 1 2 50.0 0 0 0.0 2 2 100.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0.0
Career 2 0 47 4 5 80.0 1 2 50.0 1 1 100.0 2 2 100.0 0 0 0.0 1 1 100.0

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blair Walsh nicknames | Souhan on Sports | StarTribune.com
  2. ^ a b Blair Walsh Bio - Georgia Official Athletic Site
  3. ^ Ex-Bulldog kicker Walsh perfect as a pro | AJC Sports News Now
  4. ^ Craig, Mark (December 16, 2012). "Long field goals put rookie kicker in record books". Star Tribune (Minneapolis: Star Tribune). Retrieved December 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Blair Walsh sets NFL record for 50-yard-plus field goals". National Football League. 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2012-12-23. 
  6. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg (December 26, 2012). "2013 Pro Bowl roster analysis: NFC". NFL.com (National Football League). Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  7. ^ Mayer, Larry (2013-09-08). "Bennett rebounds from drop with impressive TD". Chicago Bears. Retrieved 2013-09-08. Gould has now made 11 straight field goals from 50 yards and beyond, tying the NFL record set by Tony Zendejas from 1988-93. The Vikings' Blair Walsh also tied the mark Sunday. 
  8. ^ Goessling, Ben (July 26, 2015). "Kicker Blair Walsh gets contract extension from Vikings". ESPN. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  9. ^ Vensel, Matt (December 30, 2015). "Blair Walsh named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week". Star Tribune. Retrieved December 30, 2015. 
  10. ^ Edholm, Eric (January 10, 2016). "Blair Walsh hooks short field goal; Seahawks survive vs. Vikings". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved January 10, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Vikings K Blair Walsh misses potential game-winning 27-yard FG". Sports Illustrated. January 10, 2016. Retrieved January 10, 2016. 
  12. ^ Scholla, Kevin (January 12, 2016). "The Kick No Good: The Treatment of Vikings K Blair Walsh Disgusting". Breitbart. Retrieved 2016-01-14. 
  13. ^ Mountford, Michael (January 2014). "2014 PFF ALL-NFC NORTH TEAM". ProFootballFocus.com. Pro Football Focus. 
  14. ^ Preston, Michael (December 16, 2012). "Minnesota Vikings rookie K Blair Walsh passes Randy Moss' record". SB Nation. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 

External links[edit]