According to every source imaginable (Except mine, apparently…) ex-Vikings kicker/fan heart breaker Blair Walsh has been signed by the Seattle Seahawks. That’s right. The team that was on the other side of Walsh’s infamous 27 yard shank, signed said shanker. In other news, the New England Patriots just signed the entire Atlanta Falcons team.
This is surprising, for obvious reasons, but outside of the team that signed him it’s really not that surprising that Walsh has been given a second chance by another NFL team. There aren’t a lot of talented, unemployed kickers out there and because of that a lot of teams are forced to get by with kickers that are technically liabilities. The demand for kickers has increased, ten-fold, since the NFL implemented a new rule on point after kicks. The move has destroyed kickers PAT percentages. Prior to that rule change PAT’s were essentially gimmes (Kickers were rocking a collective 99% hit rate), with missed PAT’s being relatively rare in the NFL. Now? Not so much. So, because of that rule change, Walsh has a chance to beat out Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka for a job.
Hauschka missed four PATs in 2016, and that seems to be the reason that they’re bringing in Walsh, at least for competition/fire under ass lighting reasons. However, it does seem relatively odd because Hauschka was the fourth best kicker in the league in regards to actual field goals (Hitting 33 of 37 boots, good enough to almost hit 90 percent). So, really, I don’t think that the Seahawks are looking to get rid of Hauschka, instead, like implied poorly above, it looks like they’re looking to motivate him a bit. I mean, if missed PATs are the issue, and they’re now kicked from the 15 yard line, why bring in a guy who struggles from up-close? Perhaps Hauschka struggles with kick-offs, which would make sense as Walsh does have one of the stronger legs in the league (Except when we play the Detroit Lions).
I’ve made it clear that I truly dislike the rule change that the league did make. I know, there was no drama in those “Gimme” extra point kicks of the… Forever, but that’s what we became accustomed to as fans. Touchdowns were essentially seven points, and we were okay with that, or at least used to it. I do also understand that this is a game and that having something that is essentially automatic (To the point that unless the game is on the line, a lot of defenses used to just stand up and watch the kick) is boring and against the idea of chance that a game implies, but still, NO ONE wants to lose a playoff game because of a missed extra point.
The main reason I hate this rule is because I know that at some point it’s going to burn the Vikings. I can already see it. So, spare me your “Well thought out”, “Intelligent” and “Logically sound” arguments, as everything I say and do runs through the filter of “How can the Vikings screw this up?” (Which is why I’ll never buy a boat). So, speaking of the Vikings screwing up, I am happy for Mr. Walsh as he seemed like a nice guy and did have a couple great years here. I don’t believe that in a million kicks that Hauschka will lose his job but if he does, perhaps Walsh can break even with Vikings fans by being the driving force behind the Vikings acquiring Hauschka off of the waiver wire.