Hurricane Matthew threatens Vikings kicker's home

MINNEAPOLIS--As if Vikings kicker Blair Walsh hasn't had enough to worry about lately, his family's home in Boca Raton, Fla., was being threatened Thursday by Hurricane Matthew.

MINNEAPOLIS-As if Vikings kicker Blair Walsh hasn't had enough to worry about lately, his family's home in Boca Raton, Fla., was being threatened Thursday by Hurricane Matthew.

Walsh has faced plenty of recent scrutiny for missed kicks. He is hopeful his parents will be able to fly from South Florida to Minnesota on Friday for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"I'm praying for that entire area," Walsh said. "Category 4 is always a serious thing, and I heard the winds are somewhere in the 130 (mph) to 140 range, but I'm hoping it kind of slides away and goes back into the Atlantic. But I think everybody will be prepared."

Walsh said his parents live near the ocean, but they have not evacuated. He said while some in the area have left, his family home had special wind-resistant windows installed about 10 years ago.

"They got all the hurricane windows and all that stuff that you need for the house," Walsh said. "So we've been prepared for a long time."


Linebacker Emmanuel Lamur is another Vikings player paying close attention to the hurricane. He has numerous relatives, including his parents, in West Palm Beach. He, too, said they have not evacuated.

"I've dealt with this before," Lamur said. "If you live in Florida, you have to be prepared for hurricanes like, if you live in California, you have to consider earthquakes. ... I will stay prayed up."

Walsh said he planned to remain in constant contact Thursday with his parents. He also must prepare for Sunday's game against the Texans.

Walsh, who missed a 27-yard field goal in the waning seconds of a playoff loss to Seattle in January, has gotten off to a shaky start this season. He is 8 of 11 on field-goal attempts, including a 46-yard miss in the third quarter of Monday's 24-10 victory over the New York Giants, and 6 of 8 on extra points.

"The one thing about Blair is that I was very proud of the way that he came back and then drilled the next field goal," Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said Thursday about a 44-yard attempt he made later in the third quarter. "A 46-yarder is not a gimme, and I'm not going to make excuses for him. He shouldn't miss those kicks.

"He's too good to miss those kicks, and he knows that. But there's a couple things we're working on. Maybe try to re-emphasize and go back and look at what he has done before successfully. Go back and watch tape when he's really hitting the ball well. ... At the end of the day, that may cost us someday. So we're hoping to rectify that situation and help him go out and make all his kicks."

Walsh had one of the best days of his career in his only previous game against the Texans. He was 3 of 3 on field goals, including a career-long 56-yarder, in the Vikings' 23-6 victory in Houston on Dec. 23, 2012.

Boone lauds fans' quiet


Guard Alex Boone last month told fans at U.S. Bank Stadium to "shut up'' when the Vikings are on offense.

He said Thursday that they listened.

Boone said fans did a much better job of being quiet at the appropriate time during the second home game, a 24-10 win last Monday over the New York Giants. Boone was displeased about how it went in the home opener, a 17-14 win over Green Bay on Sept. 18, when Minnesota had five false-start penalties.

"It was better,'' Boone said. "Bravo. Bravo to you guys. Bravo to them. They did a great job. They got excited and then all of a sudden it got real quiet (when the Vikings were on offense).''

Boone was informed that perhaps Packers fans on hand played a role in the noise being made in the opener that he didn't like.

"There better not be any (bleeping) Green Bay fans,'' Boone said. "That's our stadium. Don't tell me you're the best fans in the land and you got other fans in the stadium. That (bleep) don't fly.''

Zimmer: No 'trap game'

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said his mentor, Bill Parcells, used to place mousetraps in the locker room if he feared a "trap game'' was coming up.


Zimmer, though, won't be doing that before Sunday's game against Houston. He doesn't have any concern about the 4-0 Vikings possibly overlooking the Texans.

"Trust me, this isn't a trap game,'' Zimmer said Thursday. "These guys are 3-1. They're (defending) AFC South champions. They've got a good program. We're going to have to play really good to win. ... They have our full attention.''

Zimmer was defensive coordinator under Parcells with Dallas from 2003-06. He said the hall of fame coach resorted to all sorts of motivational ploys.

Zimmer also isn't worried about the Vikings looking ahead to their bye week. Following Sunday's game, they don't play again until Oct. 23 at Philadelphia.

The way some players were talking Thursday, perhaps having an upcoming bye could serve as motivation.

"If you lose before a bye week, it's awful,'' Boone said. "It's tough. So this has got to be a win week.''

The Vikings are one of three remaining undefeated NFL teams. Defensive end Brian Robison said a victory would put them "in a good position'' entering their bye week.

"Hopefully, we can be 5-0 coming out of this week and then just sit back and see what happens with everybody else,'' Robison said. "If Houston comes in here and we drop the ball and we don't play well, then it's probably going to be the end of the world to everybody.''


-- Offensive coordinator Norv Turner spoke Thursday about how the Vikings simplified play-call names to one word to make it easier for quarterback Sam Bradford to learn the system after being acquired Sept. 3 from Philadelphia. He said names used included "Warrior'' and "Dodge.'' "That makes everything faster,'' said Turner, San Diego's coach from 2007-12. "That play, Warrior, that play when we ran it in San Diego, was 5-72 F9 swing. ... So, Warrior is much easier.''

-- Turner laughed when talking about the listed weight of portly Houston nose tackle Vince Wilfork. "They list him at 325 (pounds),'' Turner said. "I don't think he has been 325 since he was in the eighth grade. He is big, and it takes a lot to move him. You're not going to move him.''

-- The Texans are the only team the Vikings are undefeated against, although they have met just three times since Houston entered the NFL in 2002. Minnesota has won games in the series on the road in 2004 and 2012 and at home in 2008.

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