Is Mike Zimmer to blame for the Vikings’ kicking game circus?

(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Mike Zimmer
(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Mike Zimmer /
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 1: Blair Walsh #3 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the third quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams on September 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Rams 27-25. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Blair Walsh /

Wide Left Walsh

Blair Walsh was drafted by Minnesota in 2012, two years before Mike Zimmer became the team’s head coach. In his first two seasons without Zimmer leading the way, Walsh never missed more than four field goal tries in a year.

Then came his first season under the Vikings’ current head coach in 2014 and the young kicker failed to convert on nine of his 35 field goal attempts that year. Was this a coincidence or an effect of Zimmer getting in Walsh’s head?

Things didn’t really get any better during their second season together. Walsh began the preseason by missing a bunch of kicks and Zimmer certainly didn’t hide his feelings about the situation.

During the 2015 regular season, Walsh actually got off to a pretty good start. He attempted 21 field goals in Minnesota’s first eight games and he made 19 of them, including back-to-back game-winning kicks against the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams.

Walsh went on to miss three more field goal tries during the year, but none of them came in games that the Vikings ended up losing. So heading into the playoffs, Minnesota and Zimmer seemed to be feeling pretty good about their kicking situation.

Then came Walsh’s infamous moment during the Vikings’ Wild Card matchup with the Seahawks where he missed a simple 27-yard field goal attempt that would’ve locked up a win for Minnesota. Just when the Vikings were finally feeling fine about their kicker, he went ahead and delivered an old fashioned gut punch.

After the heartbreaking loss Zimmer commented more than once that Walsh’s miss was, “a chip shot,” and he should’ve made it. There was no blame from the coach on Minnesota’s offense though, which didn’t score any touchdowns and managed to gain only 183 total yards.

Instead of saying that the entire team could have made more plays, Zimmer put a lot of the blame on a kicker whose confidence was just obliterated by a missed field goal that he probably makes 99 times out of 100.

Zimmer’s Fault?: He certainly didn’t do anything to help.