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How Will Blair Walsh Adjust To Playing Outside?

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One overlooked facet of playing outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium the next two years is the effect the weather will have on the kicking game. How has Blair Walsh done outside his first two seasons?

Blair Walsh and the Vikings will see a lot more of the white stuff the next two years.
Blair Walsh and the Vikings will see a lot more of the white stuff the next two years.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

On the day Blair Walsh was drafted by the Vikings, most everyone went 'who?'

When we looked up his stats while at the University of Georgia, we all went 'WTF?'  Well, at least I did.  I mean, the Vikings had Ryan Longwell, who was one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history.  He had kicked clutch game winners for the Vikings time and time again.

Sure, his range was down on kickoffs, but anything from 45 yards in on a field goal attempt was money. Less than a week later, the Vikings cut Longwell and gave the job to Walsh. We all thought Rick Spielman was a moron.

That is, until Blair Walsh re-wrote the record book as a rookie. Kicking from the friendly confines of the Metrodome, Walsh has has a fantastic start to his career.  Let's look at his first two seasons as a field goal kicker:

0-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

Total

Year

FGA

FGM

FGA

FGM

FGA

FGM

FGA

FGM

FGA

FGM

FGA

FGM

FG%

2012

10

10

9

8

9

7

10

10

38

35

92.1%

2013

7

7

12

12

6

5

5

2

30

26

86.7%

Career

17

17

21

20

15

12

15

12

68

61

89.7%

But with the Vikings moving outside to TCF Bank Stadium, how will Walsh fare?  Collegiately, he kicked at Georgia in the SEC, and never had to deal with adverse weather.  With minicamp getting underway, Walsh and punter Jeff Locke are checking out the conditions at TCF:

So how has Walsh done outside as a Viking? In his two year NFL career, he's kicked outside in 12 of 32 regular season games.  So let's break out his outdoor kicking stats:

0-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

Total

Year

FGA

FGM

FGA

FGM

FGA

FGM

FGA

FGM

FGA

FGM

FGA

FGM

FG%

2012 *

3

3

3

2

2

1

1

1

9

7

77.8%

2013**

4

4

5

5

4

3

2

1

15

13

86.7%

Career

7

7

8

7

6

4

3

2

24

20

83.3%

* 4 games total

**8 games total

A couple of interesting things to note here.  In his rookie season, the field goal percentage dropped from 92% to 77%, but when Walsh kicked outside more often in 2013, his field goal percentage got better.  And last year, playing an additional four games outside, his outdoor indoor split was identical: 15 attempts, 13 made, for an 86.7% field goal accuracy. And if you'll remember, two of the last three outdoor games were in either pretty cold temperatures (at Green Bay), or in a blizzard (at Baltimore).  In those games, Walsh was 6/6 in field goals.

So what can we take away from all of this? For one, Blair Walsh is one of the best, if not the best, kicker in the NFL. And whether he's kicking inside or outside, his kicks are going to be good, eight or nine times out of ten, regardless of the weather.