Vikings kicker Blair Walsh striving to avoid a sophomore slump
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings' special teams coach Mike Priefer and Blair Walsh sat down after the kicker's stellar season and watched every kick to see where the rookie Pro Bowler needed to improve on to avoid a sophomore slump.
Walsh took notes as he and Priefer studied every kickoff, field goal and point after touchdown to analyze his footwork and speed to the ball among other techniques.
"[Walsh] kept a journal and continually refers back to it," Priefer said after Saturday's morning walkthrough. "He did it in the spring and will this season."
One wouldn't think there would be much to improve on after converting 35 of his 38 field goals last season, including 10-for-10 from beyond 50 yards.
But Walsh said he's not content with one good year.
"There are a ton of guys in this league who have kicked consistently over a long period of time," Walsh said. "I still have a ways to go to get on their level. I'm confident and know I can be the best."
The sophomore slump is very real, Priefer said, and he and his second-year kicker have discussed it in depth.
"I've mentioned to him several kickers in the NFL that have had wonderful rookie seasons and have gone on to have two or three poor years and are out of the league now," Preifer said.
Priefer said the benefits of Walsh's tape study and journal are already showing.
"In the spring, he was a little of on his footwork and basically he figured it out," Priefer said. "He watched the tape on it and went out the next day and fixed it."