Blair Walsh can assure miss won’t define him by not missing
By Dan Zinski
Blair Walsh says his playoff miss won’t define him, but until he makes a big kick in a big game, that is just empty talk.
It’s been almost five months since Blair Walsh shanked an easy kick wide left and cost the Vikings a playoff victory at home against the Seattle Seahawks.
Since that time Walsh has received tons of sympathy and support from some fans, tons of criticism from other fans and lots of the media and (most importantly) a fairly large dose of tough love from head coach Mike Zimmer.
When OTAs opened this week, Walsh’s miss remained a hot topic for reporters. When asked about the kick, Walsh continued with the same line he’s been using all offseason (via ESPN):
"“My common message is, it’s one moment,” Walsh said. “It won’t define me.”"
Walsh sounds confident enough, and in practice he’s been drilling the ball long and straight. Good for him.
When the season starts, Walsh may very well go on a tear nailing long field goals and bashing through extra points. Fine.
But what happens the first time Walsh faces real pressure in a big game? That will be the true test.
Talking to the media is easy. Hitting practice field goals is easy. Kicking in regular games, especially indoors, is relatively easy.
Making chip shot field goals in playoff games? That’s evidently not so easy.
Until Walsh makes a tough kick in a pressure situation, the choker stigma will still cling to him. Until he he helps the Vikings win a playoff game, he will continue being the guy who lost the Vikings a playoff game.
When Walsh says “It won’t define me” he means he won’t let it bother him. But the only way to assure that kick doesn’t define him is to erase it from memory by making the next big one.
Until Walsh proves that he can stand up to the pressure, he will continue being the kicker who got drafted, got a big extension and then pooped the bed in the biggest moment of his life.
Everyone from Rick Spielman on down to the fans hopes Walsh is right when he says that kick won’t define him.