Vikings trying out other kickers
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- With Blair Walsh struggling, the Vikings have decided to work out kicking prospects Tuesday. Coach Mike Zimmer would not reveal the names of any candidates, but a source said among those coming in will be NFL veterans Randy...
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - With Blair Walsh struggling, the Vikings have decided to work out kicking prospects Tuesday.
Coach Mike Zimmer would not reveal the names of any candidates, but a source said among those coming in will be NFL veterans Randy Bullock and Kai Forbath. Zimmer made it clear Monday why competition is needed.
"You haven't been watching all year?" he said.
Walsh missed an extra point and had a 46-yard field-goal attempt that was low blocked in Sunday's 22-16 overtime loss to Detroit. On the season, he is 12 of 16 on field-goal attempts and 13 of 16 on extra points.
Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal in the final seconds in a 10-9 playoff loss to Seattle in January. He seemingly has not recovered from it.
"At some point in time, you have belief and confidence in guys because you know what they've done in the past,'' Zimmer said. "We've missed three extra points this year. We've missed several field goals. The way our games are being played, they're going to come down to a lot of close games. We have to look at all avenues as far as what gives us the best opportunity to win football games."
Walsh has missed seven total kicks this season. In his first two seasons combined, he missed just eight, though the degree of difficulty for PATs increased in 2015 when the NFL extended 20-yard extra point attempts to 33 yards.
Bullock has kicked with Houston, the New York Jets and the New York Giants from 2012-16, his stint with the Giants being just for this year's opener, when their kicker at the time, Josh Brown, was serving a one-game suspension. Forbath kicked for Washington from 2012-15 while also spending time last season with New Orleans.
A source said, if Walsh were to be replaced, the Vikings would want a kicker with NFL experience. The source said it would take an impressive effort either by Bullock or Forbath in a tryout for the Vikings to eat Walsh's contract after he had a four-year, $13 million deal begin this season.
Asked whether the Vikings could sign another kicker by Sunday's game at Washington, Zimmer said, "We'll see."
Zimmer insisted he hasn't totally lost confidence in Walsh.
"I think Blair can be a successful kicker, yes," Zimmer said.
After Sunday's game, Walsh was perturbed by questions about his missed kicks, saying, "You're going to ask me this question a million times.'' Zimmer said he understands the frustration of answering questions during difficult times.
"I know you guys, that's your job to ask the questions and ask how we're feeling and all those things,'' Zimmer said. "I understand that, but there are plenty of times I get frustrated with the questions, too. It's part of our job to answer the questions after we don't do what we're supposed to do, but the answer is no, I have not talked to (Walsh about his interview).''
Zimmer also was displeased Sunday with a kickoff by Walsh from the 50 with 23 seconds left in regulation and the Vikings leading 16-13. That resulted in a touchback and no time running off the clock, and the Lions tied the score on a 58-yard field goal by Matt Prater on the final play of regulation.
"We were trying to kick it between the 10- and the 5-yard line.'' Zimmer said.
Newman willing to stay at nickel
If Captain Munnerlyn can't play Sunday's game at Washington, Terence Newman is ready to continue as the Vikings' nickel back.
Munnerlyn was lost for the game after just six plays in Sunday's 22-16 loss to Detroit at U.S. Bank Stadium. Coach Mike Zimmer said Monday that Munnerlyn had an MRI that was negative and he is "day-to-day" with a sprained ankle.
With Munnerlyn out, Zimmer first turned to Mackensie Alexander as his slot cornerback, but the rookie struggled. So Zimmer then went with Newman, a starter, at the nickel while playing Trae Waynes on the outside.
"It was something that was kind of a spur-of-the-moment deal," Newman said Monday. "They needed me to go in there, and I went in there. I made mistakes, but I competed, and that's all they can ask us to. I don't know Cap's deal, but if it's something they need me to do going forward for a little bit, I'll do it."
The versatile Newman filled in at safety for a December game last season. He said he got plenty of experience playing the nickel when he was with Dallas from 2003-11, although the role has changed since then.
"I'm pretty familiar with it for the most part, but lots has been added to it," said Newman, who had Zimmer as his Cowboys defensive coordinator from 2003-06. "But if I have to play nickel for a little bit, it won't be a bother for me."
After Alexander replaced Munnerlyn at nickel back, he was called for holding in the final seconds of the first half and then on the next play was beaten on a 1-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin. Zimmer said he will talk to Alexander about some of his mistakes.
The Vikings were without two starters Sunday: guard Alex Boone and linebacker Eric Kendricks, both sidelined with concussions. Boone remained Monday in the NFL's concussion protocol Monday, while Kendricks' situation wasn't clear.
Running back Adrian Peterson, on injured reserve and out until at least December with a knee injury suffered in Week 2, was in the locker room Monday but declined comment. Zimmer said he doesn't know when Peterson might be able to return.