NFL kickers often fall into the “don’t notice them unless they mess up” category, along with long snappers, offensive linemen and team website writers.
But that’s not the case in Minnesota, where everyone from the website writer to the head coach has taken notice of the consistency and reliability with which Vikings K Ryan Longwell performs. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress, when appropriate, includes Longwell and the entire special teams effort in his praise while assessing his team’s performance after a game. And we’re on record here of acknowledging Longwell’s solid performance during the course of the 2009 season.
Longwell had perhaps his best season as a Viking in 2009, converting 26 of 28 FG tries and 58 of 59 PATs to finish 3rd in the NFL in scoring. While not perfect, Longwell’s record this season has been outstanding nonetheless, especially in light of the NFL standard both in the regular season and the postseason.
In going 26 of 28 on FG tries during the 2009 regular season, Longwell made FGs at a 92.8% clip. The NFL average during the regular season was 81.3% (756 of 930). In the playoffs, Longwell is 2 for 2 this year but the league average in the postseason is 57.7% (15 of 26).
“To have a guy like Ryan Longwell be able to bang a couple of those through, it’s a huge factor,” Childress said when asked about his comfort with Longwell. “To go down to the end of a drive and come away with no points is disheartening. To be able to get yourself three points, you would like sevens. It is nice to have a guy that has only missed a couple.”
Of the 2 FGs Longwell has missed this season, 1 was blocked (at home against San Francisco). The only true miss was on the road at Carolina, when Longwell nailed the right upright on a 39-yard attempt. With the only miss of the season coming on the road and with the Vikings history of FG kicking in NFC Championship Games (at the 4:15 mark), the Vikings and Longwell will be mindful of preparation and consistency as they prepare to hit the road again this week and play at New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game.
Tags: Ryan Longwell
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