Walsh’s Impact Not Limited To FGs

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 10, 2012 – 1:41 pm

All the talk about Vikings K Blair Walsh after the game centered on his clutch FGs, a 55-yarder as time expired in the 4th quarter to send the game into overtime and then a 38-yarder to give the Vikings a lead and, ultimately, a victory in overtime.

Walsh’s teammates and his head coach showered him with praise in the moments after the game.

“There were clutch plays all over the place, and I can’t say enough about Blair Walsh,” QB Christian Ponder said in his post-game press conference. “For him to nail the field goal that was 55 yards, in his first real action, was unbelievable. For him to put us ahead in overtime was great. Obviously, he’s a great weapon for us to have on offense. He takes the pressure off of us because we know if we’re close, he’s going to get us points regardless.”

Frazier gave credit to Walsh, as well as to those who felt strongly in the pre-draft process that Walsh had the ability to kick in the NFL.

“You have to credit Rick (Spielman) and Mike Priefer and our scouts for finding him and having confidence that he was the right guy for what we wanted to do going into this season,” Frazier said. “Blair, there is no need to say it, but it was outstanding to come away and kick the way he did at the end of regulation and then to hit the game-winning field goal in overtime.”

That’s all well and good. Walsh came up big with his FG kicking, converting all 4 of his tries on the day, and has eased a lot of the worry for those who questioned the Vikings decision to select him last April. But Walsh’s influence on Sunday’s season-opening win was not limited to FGs. Walsh, as the team expected when they used a 6th-round pick on him, was also a difference-maker on kickoffs.

Walsh had 6 kickoffs in the game, with 5 of them reaching the end zone and 3 of them resulting in a touchback. His combination of depth and hang time on kickoffs will cause the opposing offense to begin drives deep in their own territory, which will make life easier for the Vikings defense.

The Jaguars average starting field position on Sunday was the 19.5-yardline, with 2 of their 3 drives that began after a kickoff return starting inside the 20. Those drives resulted in a punt and the end of the 1st half, while the Jaguars drives that started on the 20 resulted in a fumble, FG and punt. On their 6 drives that began at or inside the 20, the Jaguars produced just 3 total points.

The statistics listed in the two preceding paragraphs represent marked improvements from last year for the Vikings. While it’s just a one-game snapshot, it’s a sign that the Vikings have things going in the right direction when it comes to the kicking game.

After Sunday’s game, Walsh was clearly thrilled to be able to provide the contribution he did. The Vikings put together a solid 2nd half after starting slowly, and it appeared for a moment as if victory would slip through their hands after a late TD by the Jaguars. Ponder and Walsh led scoring drives to save the win late in the game.

“It is awesome,” Walsh said in the locker room after the game. “We came out and fought so hard for this victory, and we worked so hard in the offseason, and this is the first time it actually counted. It is awesome to just go out there and get a win for these guys.”

As we mentioned on Monday morning, Ponder displayed on Sunday publically the improvement and progress he’s displayed privately to coaches and teammates over the course of the offseason and preseason. Frazier explained after the game how he anticipates Ponder leading the team to victories like Sunday’s for many years to come.

And Ponder explained that he sees Walsh kicking the Vikings to victory for many years to come, too.

“For a guy that is so young to handle that pressure in his very first game was a testament to him and how good he is,” Ponder said. “I think he’s going to be a Viking for a long time.”

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 36 Comments »

36 Responses to “Walsh’s Impact Not Limited To FGs”

  1. By getadealdonealready on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    His play was clutch, but all I could think about watching him jump around was don’t pull a gramatica!

  2. By Troutdaddy on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Wow…. another first!

  3. By Troutdaddy on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    All I can say is that Walsh was a great pickup and is going to keep us in the kicking game for a long while. He is not afraid to take a hit or to hit and tackle as well. With some big shoes to fill (Longwell), I think the shoes fit. The attitidue and humor he has brought to the team seams to be just the ticket as well. I am hoping that he adds some points to my fantasy team as well!!! Go Vikes! Bleed Purple! Nuf said…

  4. By GrandDaddyPurp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    The Blair Walsh Project is in full effect!

  5. By tdurfeightyeight on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    The dude has some large huevos for a kicker…but he kinda looks like the gargoyle from a Johnny Quest episode…oh well.

  6. By GrandDaddyPurp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    I loved seeing a healthy secondary, and DBs that can tackle. I saw Raymond come up and make a hit on a receiver to force an incompletion and I remember thinking I havent seen that since Darren Sharper was with us.

    Matt Kalil is a stud. I loved seeing him pick up guys and throw them off AD when they were piling up on him after one of his runs. Then to see him in OT get to the next level and put a crucial block on the LB to free up Adrian for the long run was a breath of fresh air. The whole OLine was solid. They were creating holes in the line I havent seen since AD’s first two years.

    Greenway played like the pro bowler we all know he is. Brian Robison was a nightmare for the Jags OLine.

    Ponder baby. Joe who? Ponder showed what he can do with an OLine he can trust to give him time. He put the ball out for his receivers to make plays and they did just that.

  7. By tdurfeightyeight on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Check it out! The Vikings are considered a artificial turf team,because of their overall team speed…They will play only once on natural grass during the next nine games before the bye, that is huge and i’m perdicting that they will be 7-3 at the break.

  8. By GrandDaddyPurp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    and I’m not overreacting just because we won the first game, I’m just appreciative of seeing our team execute plays, finish drives, and do things they haven’t done the past two seasons.

    The future is bright people.

  9. By GrandDaddyPurp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Usually “artificial turf teams” dont have a good D and cant run the ball.

  10. By tdurfeightyeight on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Someone lit a fire under the o-lines collective arses right before the last two minutes of the first half…before that c.j.,phat phil,and fusco were not holding their own…no pun intended

  11. By GrandDaddyPurp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    It seemed like once we got Percy the ball everything started to click for the offense. I love AD he is my favorite player but I honestly believe Percy is more important to the offense.

  12. By tdurfeightyeight on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    The Giants play on the fake stuff ,GDP, and they one a couple superbowls in the last few years.

  13. By GrandDaddyPurp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    It was so nice to see Percy lined up in the backfield more than once. We absolutely have to get the ball in his hands as many times as we can

  14. By tdurfeightyeight on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder is the key to this ferrari…Ad,Percy,Rudolph,Toby, et. all

  15. By GrandDaddyPurp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    The giants pass rush was a huge reason they got those 2 rings

  16. By GrandDaddyPurp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Do you believe in Ponder?

  17. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    I predicted 7-3 at the BYE about a month ago– I saw it all along.

  18. By JE on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder played a solid game. He has promise and that is more than we had since Farve.We will see as the season goes and getting Simpson back will be a big help. Good Game Ponder.!!!

  19. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    This young Vikings team has spirit !!!…

    Almost every player on our team contributed yesterday !!!…

    A good game against a team that is much better than they were last year in the Jag’s…

    The Jag’s played a solid game…

  20. By RichardA1 on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    He is really small compared to some of the players………maybe he needs a nick name? little bigman? who could ask for more from a rookie!

  21. By GrandDaddyPurp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    The Blair Witch Project/The Blair Walsh Project

  22. By odark30 on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    How about “Air Walsh” ala Air jordan

  23. By Baba-Kluwe on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Jiminy Kickit

  24. By Baba-Kluwe on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    It’s kinda strange seeing Ponder out there not running for his life on every play. He actually looks like a QB when he has time to throw. Go figure.

    O-line looked good, but they’re not even close to how good they will be when they’ve been together for a year or two.

    It was also nice not to hear, “FALSE START…. NUMBER 71….. OFFENSE…..” Way to go Phil. Your best move was right after we got the win, and they fired off the cannons, you jumped up and did a Skip-To-My-Lou onto the field. That was hilarious!!!

  25. By Woodboat on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Titus…. 7-3 at the bye, you say? I’ll take that bet! Don’t get me wrong, I hope you are correct. Heck, I hope you undershot by 3!!! As excited as I was to see them pull that victory, I had to concede that it was against the Jags. Not exactly one of the more competitive teams in the NFL. If they are able to go 3-1, I’ll start to get excited about their chances to have a decent record.

    Personally, I’ll enjoy this season if they just keep showing improvement throughout the season and stay competitive. I don’t see them being able to get past SF or Dallas at this point, so a ring isn’t in the picture just yet….

  26. By Woodboat on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    One thing I will say about our O Line…. ours looks all-pro compared to the guys dressed up in Bengals gear. Just saw some of the Bengals/Ravens game…. that line is ghastly. Their RT makes Phil look like a Hall of Famer…..

  27. By Woodboat on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    How about we DON’T give him a nickname and just use the name his parents gave him. Not every player needs a “B. Whizzle my Kizzle” nickname. Kind of getting played…

    The best nickname I heard slapped on a rookie this week was for Robert Griffen III.
    No, not RG3 (stupid nickname)…. no, it was slapped on him by one of the Giants…. nicknamed him…. Bob.

  28. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Yeah, but after the BYE, I am not so optimistic. 3-3 at best.

  29. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    I cannot wait until we beat the 49ers at the dome. Now that will be priceless.

  30. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    I am not a big fan of nicknames unless ones for your honey in private. Other than that, most people just call me smart.

  31. By sunnyazvike on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    SIGN PERCY TO A LONG TERM DEAL. He started the offense by himself. He took screens and busted out first downs, and would not go down. He runs over defenders bigger than him all the time. The guy could be the strongest pound for pound athlete in the NFL. Why stop throwing screens to him when the defense doesn’t stop it? Zygi write up the contract yourself.

  32. By sandiamond on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Off to a good start for the rookie class. Last year no rookie viking player was ever mentioned in usatoday, or

    Vote for Blair Walsh:

  33. By sandiamond on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

  34. By sandiamond on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    titus, never thought the san fran game would cross the mind this early! If they knockoff Det it will be RIPE for an upset of the over-confident 9’ers in the Dome

  35. By Frederick Jones on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    titus being a hom0 yet again

  36. By Woodboat on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Once again, I am excluded from the category of “most people”.

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