With this afternoon’s release of Blair Walsh, the Minnesota Vikings are short a kicker, but it doesn’t sound like it will be that way for long.
Per numerous sources on social media (though I think our friend Tom Pelissero of USA Today had it first), the Vikings are expected to sign former Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints kicker Kai Forbath as Walsh’s replacement. Forbath was one of the six kickers the Vikings brought in last week to try out at Winter Park, and with Walsh’s continued struggles, the Vikings appear to have brought in the kicker that they felt was the most impressive of the lot.
The #Vikings are expected to sign Kai Forbath, source said.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 15, 2016
Forbath went undrafted out of UCLA in 2011, and had stops with the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before getting his first permanent job with the Redskins in 2012. The Redskins released Forbath after the first game of the 2015 season, and he went on to play in 10 games for the Saints.
In his career, Forbath is an 84.1% field goal kicker, which is comparable to Walsh’s percentage of 84.2%. Just as importantly. . .at least in the case of the Vikings. . .he was 34-of-35 on extra points in 2015, the first season the league moved the extra point try back to the 15-yard line.
Interestingly enough, the three primary players on Minnesota’s special teams were teammates in college as well. Forbath, along with punter Jeff Locke and long snapper Kevin McDermott, all played on the same team at UCLA. Forbath left UCLA in 2011, while Locke and McDermott both left UCLA in 2013.
So, it sounds like we have our replacement for Blair Walsh. Hopefully he can prove to be a solid replacement for Walsh in the long run.