MINNEAPOLIS — Blair Walsh’s five seasons in Minnesota were filled with big-time makes and big-time misses.
With the Vikings in a tailspin and desperate to save their season, they simply couldn’t wait for Walsh to pull himself out of another rut. Minnesota cut Walsh on Tuesday, two days after he missed his league-leading fourth extra point in a 26-20 loss to the Washington Redskins.
Walsh was 12 of 16 on field goals and 15 of 19 on extra points in nine games this season. On a team that started the season 5-0 but has gone 0-4 since then and is built to play close games, Walsh’s inconsistency could no longer be tolerated.
After Walsh missed an extra point, had a field goal blocked and misplaced a kickoff in a loss to Detroit two weeks ago, the Vikings brought in six kickers for a tryout. They ultimately decided to give Walsh one more chance, but his miss just before halftime against the Redskins sealed his fate. Walsh was in the first year of a four-year, $13 million extension he signed last season .
The Vikings were expected to sign free agent Kai Forbath to take Walsh’s place, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made. USA Today first reported the move.
Walsh was an erratic kicker at Georgia when Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer started to scout him. The coach said Walsh had the best combine he had ever seen from a kicker leading up to the draft in 2012, and the Vikings selected him in the sixth round.
After some tweaks to his approach from Priefer, Walsh set a Vikings rookie record with 141 points and was a perfect 10 for 10 from 50 yards or longer.
He made an NFL-high 34 field goals last season, but missed four extra points and shanked a 27-yard field goal in the closing seconds of Minnesota’s 10-9 playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Forbath made 34 of 35 extra points and 10 of 15 field goals while kicking for the Redskins and Saints last season.