Vikings' pick at No. 175: Georgia kicker Blair Walsh
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Ryan Longwell will have some competition in training camp.
The Minnesota Vikings used their sixth-round draft pick (No. 175 overall) on Georgia kicker Blair Walsh, who converted 76 of 103 field-goal attempts (73.8%) over four seasons with the Bulldogs.
"It didn't surprise me," Walsh said of being drafted by the Vikings. "(Vikings special teams coordinator Mike) Priefer had come in and worked me out and I played under his dad at the East-West game and I knew he was very interested. He's a great coach and I'm happy to be playing underneath him."
Walsh led the nation with 35 field-goal attempts as a senior but made only 21, with a long of 56 yards. Ten of those 14 misses were from 40 yards or beyond.
"My senior year didn't go the way I wanted it to," Walsh said. "I ended up missing early on in the season and I started to press a little bit. I'm my own worst critic and I just wanted to be there for the team and help the team out. I sort of got it back on track around the middle to end of the season. I learned from it and I think I'm a better man and better kicker for it."
There's no doubting Walsh's leg strength -- he made 10 of 17 attempts from 50 yards and beyond. He also missed only one of his 185 career extra-point attempts, making a school-record 119 in a row before his first miss.
Walsh said the Vikings did not tell him whether they might bring him in as a kickoff specialist.
The NFL's most accurate kicker over the 2009 and '10 seasons, Longwell got a $3.5 million signing bonus on his four-year, $12 million deal last summer. But he struggled in his 15th season, posting his lowest field-goal conversion rate (78.6%) since 2005.
"I know a lot about Ryan Longwell," Walsh said. "He's been a main staple of the Minnesota Vikings for a long time and I think he's a great kicker and I think he's even a better guy from what I've heard. I look forward to the opportunity of meeting him and competing with him."
• 40-yard: 4.96 secodns.
• Arm length: 29 3/8 inches.
• Hand size: 8 3/8 inches.
• Wingspan: 70 1/8 inches.