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Vikings sign PK Walsh to extension

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MANKATO, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings signed kicker Blair Walsh to a contract extension. Terms of the deal were not immediately known.

Walsh’s accuracy has waned since his incredible rookie Pro Bowl season, from 92.1 percent field-goal conversions in 2012 to 86.7 the following season and just 74.3 in 2014. The accuracy issues have primarily come from long range, as Walsh made just 5 of 9 attempts from 50-plus last season for an offense that often stalled inside opponents’ territory.

“I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings moving forward,” Walsh said in a statement. “I’m proud to be able to stay with the team that drafted me coming out of college and I look forward to what is in store for the future of this organization.”

Walsh burst onto the scene as a rookie sixth-round pick out of Georgia, making his first 12 attempts from 50-plus yards in 2012. He has made 17 field goals from 50-plus yards over the past three seasons, tying Phil Dawson (Browns/49ers) for the most in the NFL over that span.

“Blair has been a vital part of our special teams success since we drafted him and we felt it was very important to secure his future with our organization,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. “His consistency on kickoffs and on long range field goals can help change the game for our team and we’re excited for his future here in Minnesota. This extension stays true to our philosophy of drafting young talent, developing them in our system and rewarding their success.”

–Unusually high expectations for a team coming off a 7-9 season joined the Vikings as they reported to Minnesota State Mankato on Saturday.

Some of the players are trying to downplay the national media targeting the Vikings as a trendy surprise playoff pick. Young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is one of the players trying to pump the brakes. At least a little bit.

“You can’t predict the future,” he said, “but we do have high expectations around here that we’re not afraid of. We know we have a long way to go. You’re talking about a team that finished 7-9 last year.”

Meanwhile, other players are upping the ante on expectations.

“If we don’t get at least 10 wins,” said left guard Brandon Fusco, “I’d be really disappointed.”

He then added this: “Playoffs are definitely a must.”


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