Blair Walsh – K (2012)
Love him or hate him, it can’t be denied that Blair Walsh was an excellent value choice as a sixth-round pick. The Vikings took the former Georgia kicker in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft and Walsh went on to be a very reliable kicker for Minnesota during his first four seasons.
During his rookie year, Walsh connected on 92 percent of his field-goal attempts. The following season in 2013, he converted a solid 86.7 percent of his field-goal tries before his percentage dipped into the mid-70s in year three. He proved to be well worth that sixth-round pick and he was viewed as one of the better kickers in the league.
Of course, he’ll forever be known for the miss in the Vikings’ 2015 playoff loss in the wild-card round during a game that was played in sub-zero temperatures.
Minnesota marched down the frozen field late in the matchup and all they needed was Walsh to make a 27-yard field goal to knock off the Seattle Seahawks and they would advance further in the playoffs. The snap was bad, the laces were facing in, Walsh’s kick hooked left, and the Vikings were ousted from the postseason in typical heartbreaking fashion.
Despite the gut-wrenching loss, Walsh remained Minnesota’s kicker for the first half of 2016. This season didn’t last long for him though as the Vikings released him after a shaky nine games.
Following his departure from the Twin Cities, he spent one year with Seattle and bounced around the league a bit. But despite numerous tryouts, he has failed to land with another team for next season.
It’s worth wondering how Walsh’s career with the Vikings would have differed had he made that game-winning kick in the 2015 playoffs. Would that have restored his confidence and sent him on to a long and successful career in purple? Who knows, but even getting three good seasons out of a sixth-round kicker is still very good value.