Walsh was one of the NFL's best kickers last season, which naturally means that his expectations for this season are quite large. The Vikings' offense set Walsh up for 39 field goal attempts, 34 of which he made. He also went 6 of 8 from 50-plus yards. It was a big bounce-back season for Walsh, who has nailed at least 86 percent of his field goal tries in three of four NFL seasons. One possible issue? Walsh must rebound from his missed 27-yard field goal at the end of the team's NFC wild-card loss to the Seahawks. HC Mike Zimmer said that he wasn't necessarily worried about restoring Walsh's confidence after the miss, and in January, Walsh didn't sound like he was worried about the missed field goal affecting him in the future. The best way for any questions to disappear is for Walsh to find some success early in 2016, and Zimmer sounded as though he's keenly interested in making sure that happens. The good news? As CBSSports.com pointed out, a nice early season schedule and a return to playing more than half his games indoors will help.
Blair Walsh 2015 Outlook
Walsh’s leg strength was again a tremendous weapon for the Vikings, as Walsh finished seventh in the league in touchback percentage on kickoffs. Walsh hit a slump at the end of the season, missing his final three kicks of 50 yards or longer and going 5-for-10 in December. Despite that stretch of missed kicks at the end of the season, Walsh still is one of the league’s top kickers, with a big leg that’s especially effective on kickoffs. Indeed, HC Mike Zimmer had enough confidence in Walsh to let him attempt from 68 yards on the final play of a 16-14 loss to the Detroit Lions last December, choosing that option over a Hail Mary pass. Walsh’s attempt was a few yards short. The NFL doesn’t officially keep track of length of field goal attempts, but it’s safe to say that Walsh’s was one of the longest (serious) kicks in league history. So in the big picture, Walsh followed a 82-for-93 start to his career with a 1-for-6 stretch. As ESPN.com suggested, it hardly seems time to panic.
Blair Walsh 2014 Outlook
Walsh wasn't quite as good in his second season as he was as a rookie, missing three kicks from more than 50 yards as he struggled with a hamstring injury, but he still made 26 of his 30 field goals. The issue he'll face this season, however, is a new one -- at least at home. That's because home will no longer be indoors. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Walsh has been checking out University of Minnesota's stadium, which will be the Vikings' temporary home. The venue features an open horseshoe end, which makes for some tricky wind conditions. "The field is definitely not conducive to hit straight balls," Walsh said. "The ball is going to move no matter what with that wind, but you can definitely conquer it, master it and sort of make it your advantage." Walsh said he doesn't think the wind should impact field goals from inside 40 yards, but anything longer than 45 could be moved by the shifting winds. Like Walsh, fantasy owners should take the change into account.