Mike Zimmer on cutting Blair Walsh: ‘It’s just part of the business’
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on Wednesday made his first public comments since the team cut loose struggling kicker Blair Walsh. In essence, Zimmer stated decisions like the one made Tuesday to cut ties with the team’s kicker since 2012 simply is part of the NFL’s cutthroat nature.
“It was just something we felt like we needed to do,” Zimmer said during his Wednesday press conference, via the Star Tribune. “Kind of move forward. We’re all accountable for the things we have to get done. I think we gave him a lot of opportunities. Although Blair is a great kid, and it’s hard to do, it’s just part of the business.”
Ever since Walsh missed the potentially game-winning, 27-yard field goal in a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings have tried anything and everything to help restore Walsh’s confidence, but nothing paid off.
Walsh has converted on only 12 of 16 field-goal attempts this season hit on 15 of his 19 extra-point tries, a league-low. Of the Vikings’ nine games, he has only been perfect four times.
The Vikings attempted to stand by the beleaguered kicker throughout the season, but a shaky performance in a loss to the Detroit Lions two weeks ago — during which Walsh missed two kicks and didn’t follow through on what he was ordered to do on a kickoff — prompted the Vikings to try out kickers ahead of last Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins, which turned out to be the team’s fourth loss in a row after starting 5-0.
Walsh essentially saw his career with the Vikings come to an end in that game after he missed yet another extra-point attempt, which would become his last attempt with the team.
The Vikings cut Walsh loose on Tuesday and signed journeyman kicker Kai Forbath whose has converted 84.1 percent of his field-goal attempts during his career, remarkably close to Walsh’s conversion rate of 84.2 percent.
When asked Wednesday if the decision to cut Walsh was in part inspired by his teammates losing confidence in the kicker, Zimmer said that didn’t come into play.
“I can’t really speak for the teammates’ confidence,” Zimmer said. “It just comes down to doing your job.”