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  1. #1
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    With the 175th pick Vikings select Blair Walsh, Kicker

    Vikings selected Georgia K Blair Walsh with the No. 175 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
    Ryan Longwell has three years left on his contract, but he converted just 78.6 percent of his field goals in 2011 and is 37. He also no longer handles kickoffs and barely has any range from 50-plus yards out. Still, it's a confusing pick as the Vikings have tons of holes and Walsh missed 14 of the 35 field goals he attempted as a senior last season.

    A kicker could have waited till the 7th, but he is the top rated kicker.
    Last edited by Patrick Swayze; 04-28-2012 at 04:43 PM.
    Take your pants off


  2. #2
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    I like this guy too. His sophomore and junior seasons were great and he had a down year his senior year. So I think we are getting a guy with a very good leg and has the potential to be our future kicker.

    Adopt-A-Viking: Harrison Smith
    Tackles: 23, INTs: 2, Sacks: 0

  3. #3
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    http://www.startribune.com/sports/blogs/149765645.html

    Longwell’s major limitation is his inability to produce touchbacks on kickoffs. In 2011, he ranked 28th in the NFL with just 19 kickoffs, and he ranked 34th by forcing touchbacks on just 24.7 percent of his kicks (in part because of this, the Vikings ranked 31st in the NFL in average opponent starting position, according to Football Outsiders' drive stats. Vikings opponents started the average drive at the 31-yard line, while the 49ers defense/special teams led the NFL by forcing opponents to start each drive, on average, at their own 24-yard line).

    That might not seem very important, but according to people who are a lot smarter than me, it is. According to an article on a website called Advanced NFL Stats, touchbacks are a lot more valuable than you might imagine. The article is from 2009 and is therefore somewhat outdated, but the findings remain valid today. You can see all the nerdy details here if you’d like, but the highlights of the research done by Brian Burke at Advanced NFL Stats are these:

    Using a concept called Expected Points, Burke concludes that a touchback is worth the rough equivalent of half a sack (to drastically oversimplify things, this means that forcing a team to start out at their own 20-yard line twice in a game has roughly the same negative effect on the expected points that team’s offense will score as does sacking the quarterback once).

    The average field position for non-touchback kickoffs is the 32-yard line. Therefore, each touchback saves 12 yards of field position, which results in the opposing offense having to attain one more first down than they would have otherwise in order to get into scoring position. According to Burke, “the average first down conversion rate in the NFL is 67%, so a touchback turns a TD drive into a FG drive or a FG drive into a punt 33% of the time.”

    For the sake of argument, let’s assume Walsh makes the team as a kickoff specialist, or just beats Longwell out for all of the place-kicking duties, and is able to boot 33 touchbacks in 2012, which was the league average for the top 32 kickers in 2011. According to Advanced NFL Stats’ Expected Points, Walsh’s addition, purely in terms of field position and allowing fewer points, would be the equivalent of the Vikings having added a defensive player who produces 6.5 sacks this season. And when you consider that the top 10 kickers in 2011 all booted at least 40 touchbacks, Walsh’s impact could be even greater if his leg proves significantly stronger than Longwell’s.

    It’s a fancy way of saying what should be obvious – starting field position does matter in the NFL, and the ability of a kicker to produce touchbacks and prevent long kickoff returns is a factor in winning and losing games.

  4. #4
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    Interesting article in the Star Tribune about kicking stats.

    To me, this was the most mysterious pick in the draft, for several reasons:

    A. I don't really know how to scout kickers
    B. How was a 21/35 kicker rated so highly?
    C. Did we draft Walsh to be a kick-off specialist or full-time kicker?
    D. What does this mean for Longwell and his contract?

    If anyone wants to take a stab at these questions, please, help me out. I would guess we brought Walsh in to start but I have a feeling we end up keeping 2 kickers on our roster this season.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisman69 View Post
    Interesting article in the Star Tribune about kicking stats.

    To me, this was the most mysterious pick in the draft, for several reasons:

    A. I don't really know how to scout kickers
    B. How was a 21/35 kicker rated so highly?
    Because he was 20/23 and 20/22 in his previous two seasons and has a strong leg.
    C. Did we draft Walsh to be a kick-off specialist or full-time kicker?
    I think that Walsh was drafted to be more that just a specialist, but its not a leap to expect that might be how he starts out. They had the same idea with Rhys Lloyd back in 2010, start as a specialist before ultimately succeeding Longwell.
    D. What does this mean for Longwell and his contract?
    Obviously he's competition for Longwell, but I think Walsh would have to do amazing in camp and the pre-season and Longwell would have to really suck before we turn the page on him. I expect Longwell to still be our kicker inside the 30. Something else to consider too, they could carry both guys until Week 4 because Jerome Simpson's suspension will give the team an extra roster spot.

    If anyone wants to take a stab at these questions, please, help me out. I would guess we brought Walsh in to start but I have a feeling we end up keeping 2 kickers on our roster this season.

    Vikings Roster thread
    http://forums.prosportsdaily.com/sho...d.php?t=718220

    WE TRUST V4LB!!! HE IS THE GREATEST GUY IN OUR FOURM.
    WITHOUT HIM OUR FOURM WOULDNT BE EXCITING.
    HE GETS ALL THE WOMEN!!!!
    HE IS NEVER WRONG!!!
    WE TRIED TO VOTE FOR HIM FOR PRESIDENT BUT HE IS SO GREAT THAT HE WOULDNT RUN FOR OFFICE

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisman69 View Post
    Interesting article in the Star Tribune about kicking stats.

    To me, this was the most mysterious pick in the draft, for several reasons:

    A. I don't really know how to scout kickers
    B. How was a 21/35 kicker rated so highly?
    C. Did we draft Walsh to be a kick-off specialist or full-time kicker?
    D. What does this mean for Longwell and his contract?

    If anyone wants to take a stab at these questions, please, help me out. I would guess we brought Walsh in to start but I have a feeling we end up keeping 2 kickers on our roster this season.
    A. You probably scout them much like any other position. Check his kicking mechanics. His kicking power. His production in college, more importantly why did he miss those kicks? His mental toughness and ability to handle pressure.
    B. Once again, why did he miss those kicks? He must have graded out highly in kicking mechanics, leg power, or mental toughness. He was more accurate is sophomore and junior seasons (20/22, 20/23 before going 21/35).
    C. I think we drafted Walsh to be both. He has got to beat Longwell out of a job for both though. I think he'll easily beat him out of the kickoff specialist and in time we can determine if he is the guy we want replacing him for everything.
    D. I don't think there is any hiding that this is Ryan's last contract unless he proves he can and still wants to play. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. At his age, I don't think Longwell is intimidated or nervous about losing his job.

    I'll consider this pick a major failure if he isn't the kickoff specialist next season.

  7. #7
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    This guy was lights out his first two years. He has a leg that booms and he can kick 50+ with ease. His problem last year was he was mentally unstable. His longtime girlfriend broke up with him, and to hurt him even worse he was shuffled back and forth as the starting kicker. Before his Senior year he was without a doubt the #1 kicker in the nation. I personally love this pick, and wouldn't mind cutting Longwell. What's a few missed field goals gonna mean to us next year? Get the 3mil paycheck out of the system and get this guy experience.

    Here's a question: Would you rather have the ball going through the endzone 80% of the time, or having Longwell's kicks that get returned to the 30 with a chance for a TD?

  8. #8
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    For the sake of argument, let’s assume Walsh makes the team as a kickoff specialist, or just beats Longwell out for all of the place-kicking duties, and is able to boot 33 touchbacks in 2012, which was the league average for the top 32 kickers in 2011. According to Advanced NFL Stats’ Expected Points, Walsh’s addition, purely in terms of field position and allowing fewer points, would be the equivalent of the Vikings having added a defensive player who produces 6.5 sacks this season. And when you consider that the top 10 kickers in 2011 all booted at least 40 touchbacks, Walsh’s impact could be even greater if his leg proves significantly stronger than Longwell’s.
    That's pretty amazing


    “I can’t wait to stand on the podium with Zygi and Mark and Jonathan, and we’re standing on the podium, and we look up and the confetti is falling down on top of us, and we’re all hand in hand, and Commissioner Goodell comes over and hands the Super Bowl trophy to Mr. Wilf and tells him he’s world champion, that is my goal and that is my drive.”
    - Mike Zimmer

  9. #9
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    Damn...thats some good info here guys. Who would've thought a kicker in the 6th round could potentially offer this much impact.

    Adopt-A-Viking: Harrison Smith
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  10. #10
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    This changes my feelings on this selection. If he makes the team and starts booting touchbacks it will prove to be a smart 6th round pick by Speilman.

    Again great info!
    Last edited by BigB4570; 05-02-2012 at 03:20 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TearsOfPurple View Post
    This guy was lights out his first two years. He has a leg that booms and he can kick 50+ with ease. His problem last year was he was mentally unstable. His longtime girlfriend broke up with him, and to hurt him even worse he was shuffled back and forth as the starting kicker. Before his Senior year he was without a doubt the #1 kicker in the nation. I personally love this pick, and wouldn't mind cutting Longwell. What's a few missed field goals gonna mean to us next year? Get the 3mil paycheck out of the system and get this guy experience.

    Here's a question: Would you rather have the ball going through the endzone 80% of the time, or having Longwell's kicks that get returned to the 30 with a chance for a TD?
    I didn't think this deep into it but I agree, what is a kick here or there going to do for us? Let Longwell walk and hop on some contending team...you don't need to learn a system to make FG's so he'll probably make an instant impact somewhere. Just hopefully somewhere in the AFC.

    I'm sure Longwell wouldn't mind another shot at a superbowl.

  12. #12
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    Blair Walsh #3

  13. #13
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    Kicking competition

    The Vikings surprised many by taking Georgia kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round.

    After all, veteran Ryan Longwell signed a four-year, $12 million deal to remain in Minnesota before last season, getting a $3.5 million signing bonus.

    Frazier said he does not know if the Vikings will keep two kickers - the possibility would be to start off Walsh as a kickoff specialist - and added that's "not in the game plan right now."

    Asked about evaluating Walsh, Frazier said: "We are obviously going to take a close look at him. Obviously, when you draft a kicker you are drafting for a reason."
    What do you think will happen? Longwell stays or goes...

  14. #14
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    I think he goes. Mark my words, we'll be loving Walsh a few years down the line.

  15. #15
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    I think that Longwell will stay, at least until Jerome Simpson comes off of suspension. Week 1-3 we will be able to carry one extra player until Simpson is back in Week 4 to re-take his roster spot. Longwell is still a very, VERY good kicker and Walsh is going to have to perform very well to beat him.

    Vikings Roster thread
    http://forums.prosportsdaily.com/sho...d.php?t=718220

    WE TRUST V4LB!!! HE IS THE GREATEST GUY IN OUR FOURM.
    WITHOUT HIM OUR FOURM WOULDNT BE EXCITING.
    HE GETS ALL THE WOMEN!!!!
    HE IS NEVER WRONG!!!
    WE TRIED TO VOTE FOR HIM FOR PRESIDENT BUT HE IS SO GREAT THAT HE WOULDNT RUN FOR OFFICE

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