Blair Walsh with the Minnesota Vikings in 2015
|No. 7 – Seattle Seahawks|
|Date of birth:||January 8, 1990|
|Place of birth:||Boca Raton, Florida|
|Height:||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight:||170 lb (77 kg)|
|High school:||Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Gibbons|
|NFL Draft:||2012 / Round: 6 / Pick: 175|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 1, 2017|
Blair Richard Walsh (born January 8, 1990) is an American football placekicker for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Georgia and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Walsh attended Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and played football for coach Michael Morill as their punter and placekicker. As a senior, he made 14 of 20 field goal attempts and 30 of 31 extra point attempts. Twice he hit field goals from 59 yards. Walsh also averaged 41 yards per punt and 69 yards per kickoff. For his efforts, he was named to USA Today's All-USA First Team Offense and noted as a top-5 kicker in the nation by ESPN.com. He also played in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Walsh attended the University of Georgia, where he was a placekicker for coach Mark Richt's Georgia Bulldogs football team from 2008 to 2011. He was a standout player who amassed a number of significant kicking statistics. During his time at Georgia, he made 4 field goals in a game three times. Twice he attempted a field goal from his long, 56 yards, and converted it once in a game against Coastal Carolina in his senior year. In all, Walsh made 184 of 185 PATs and 76 of 103 field goals. However, in his senior year, he made just 21 of 35 field goal attempts. He also had two tackles and one fumble recovery to his credit.
Walsh was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the fifth pick of the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. A priority acquisition for the Vikings, Walsh would take over kicking duties for the released Ryan Longwell. Through the first 11 weeks of the season, Walsh missed only one field goal and had another blocked. He was 6-for-6 with kicks over 50 yards and 21-for-21 on extra point attempts. On December 16, Walsh passed Randy Moss for the Vikings' franchise record in points scored by a rookie (119). In his best week of his rookie season, in a game against the St. Louis Rams in week 15, Walsh equalled the NFL record for field goals made from 50 yards or more with his eighth kick (a new team record); his three 50-yarders in the game was also a team record. His 5 kicks also tied an NFL record for most field goals of 37 yards or more in a single game, 5, which only Chris Boniol equaled for the Cowboys in 1996 and Scott Norwood in 1988. The next week in a game against the Houston Texans on December 23, 2012, Walsh completed a 56-yard attempt, setting the NFL record for field goals over 50 yards in a season with his 9th 50+ yarder. The 56 yarder also tied the Vikings record of longest field goal set by Paul Edinger in 2005.
In the final game of the 2012 season, Walsh completed a 54-yard field goal to make himself 10/10 over 50 yards on the season. He was 3 points short of tying an NFL record for most points in a season by a rookie at 144, Walsh ended 2012 with 141 points for the Vikings; which is the team record. His final regular season field goal allowed the Vikings to beat the Green Bay Packers 37-34 and earn a playoff berth. The field goal also tied the NFL record for most field goals by a rookie kicker at 35 with Ali Haji-Sheikh from 1983.
In the 2013 season opener against the Detroit Lions, Walsh tied the record for most consecutive 50 yard or more field goals with eleven, tying with Robbie Gould and Tony Zendejas. Walsh broke the record three weeks later against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London, England with his twelfth straight 50+ yard field goal. On November 24 against the Green Bay Packers Walsh hit four of four field goals and had five touchbacks off kickoffs; he was named NFC special teams player of the week.
In July, Walsh signed a four-year contract extension worth up to $14 million, including $5.25 million guaranteed, making him one of the top-five highest-paid kickers in the NFL. He struggled in the preseason, making only five of eleven field goal attempts. Walsh missed a 36-yard field goal attempt in a 20–23 loss to the Denver Broncos in week 4. He picked himself up by converting seventeen consecutive field goals from week 4 in Denver through week 10 in Oakland, where he missed a 53-yarder that ended his streak. During this span, Walsh kicked back-to-back game-winning field goals: a 36-yarder against the Chicago Bears in week 8 and a 40-yarder in week 9 against the St. Louis Rams in overtime. Walsh has made five out of five field goal attempts on two separate occasions: week 7 against the Detroit Lions and week 16 against the New York Giants, including two 50+ yard field goals in each. For his efforts after scoring 19 points in Minnesota's 49–17 win over the Giants, Walsh was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
In the Vikings' 20–13 win over the Green Bay Packers in week 17, Walsh converted both of his field goal attempts, giving him a total of 34 made field goals, the most among kickers in the 2015 NFL season.
In the Vikings' first playoff game since 2012 against the Seattle Seahawks on January 10, 2016, in a game played in Arctic conditions, Walsh was 3-for-3 on field goals before missing a potentially game-winning 27-yard attempt in the 4th quarter with 26 seconds remaining. Walsh kicked the laces of the football and hooked the attempt wide left, and the Vikings lost the game by a score of 10–9.
Walsh struggled through the first ten weeks of the 2016 season, missing four extra points along with four field goal attempts. He missed an extra point in a 26–20 Week 10 loss to the Washington Redskins which led to his release by the Vikings on November 15, 2016.
After his release from Minnesota, on February 9, 2017, Walsh signed with the Seattle Seahawks. He gained national attention during his second preseason game where the Seahawks beat the Minnesota Vikings, his former team, 20–13. He went 2-of-3 on field goals of over 50 yards and converted both extra point attempts during the game. After his two successful field goals, he was seen pointing at Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and his former Viking teammates for being taunted and having profanity yelled at him during all of his extra points and field goals. At one point, Richard Sherman joined in to show his support and respect for his new teammate.
|Regular season statistics|
|Overall field goals||20–29 yards||30–39 yards||40–49 yards||50+ yards||PATs|
|Overall field goals||20–29 yards||30–39 yards||40–49 yards||50+ yards||PATs|
Gould has now made 11 straight field goals from 50 yards and beyond, tying the NFL record set by Tony Zendejas from 1988 to 1993. The Vikings' Blair Walsh also tied the mark Sunday.
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