There was a time, should you can consider it, that the Vikings loved above-average, drama-free placekicking. Ryan Longwell began that path in 2006. Blair Walsh changed him in 2012, and he was even higher than Longwell as a rookie.

It regarded just like the Vikings had been set for one more decade at the least.

Narrator: They weren’t.

Since 2013, Walsh, Kai Forbath, Daniel Carlson and Dan Bailey — all of whom have kicked as just lately as 2016 — have mixed to make 81.Four % of their field-goal makes an attempt. The NFL common has been between 84 and 85 % every of the previous 5 years, together with this one.

On further factors since 2015, when the rule modified and made them from 33 yards as a substitute of 20, these 4 kickers have missed a whopping 17 further factors — about 9 greater than the typical staff throughout that span.

How will we clarify this lack of consistency and continuity? Listed here are some theories.

The Chris Kluwe issue

Kluwe was the holder on discipline objectives throughout Longwell’s whole tenure right here and for Walsh’s breakout rookie 12 months. He was dumped by the Vikings after 2012, although — proper on the level struggles began to creep in.

However … Walsh was nonetheless fairly good in 2013 with Jeff Locke as his holder, making 26 of 30 field-goal makes an attempt that 12 months. The Vikings even have employed Ryan Quigley (2017) and Matt Wile (2018) as holders/punters since Kluwe left.

The additional level rule

I’ve had a concept for some time that shifting the additional level from 20 to 33 yards has impacted kickers negatively as a result of each kick now’s magnified and carries extra stress. It definitely was a part of the downfall for Walsh and Forbath.

However … field-goal accuracy within the NFL has been principally the identical for the reason that further level change. If kickers are extra stressed, they are not actually displaying it on discipline objectives.

Dangerous personnel selections

Walsh and Carlson had been each Rick Spielman draft picks who had shaky senior years in faculty. Did that historical past point out each had been vulnerable to having lapses? And did the Vikings/Spielman make a foul selection general in shifting on from Forbath?

These are cheap issues to query … however there may be worth in long-term stability on the kicking place and the Vikings have clearly sought that. And after they parted methods with each Walsh and Carlson, they added kickers in Forbath and Bailey who’re among the many most correct in NFL historical past.

Questionable teaching

Particular groups coach Mike Priefer has been a continuing throughout the struggles, and head coach Mike Zimmer arrived in 2014 when the struggles actually gained some steam.

Is there a way or psychological strategy that Priefer is utilizing that does not assist? Probably, however he was additionally right here in 2012 when Walsh was one of many NFL’s finest.

Zimmer has been essential of kickers quite a few instances, however he would hardly be the primary coach to criticize a kicker or be upset in misses — and if a kicker suffered because of this would you actually need that kicker?

A curse

It is trendy to say the Vikings are “cursed,” however most cheap folks do not consider in such a factor.

What I’d subscribe to, although, is the notion of a collective weight accumulating and contributing to each an general notion and actuality of a scenario. (Perhaps that is your definition of a curse. So be it).

That’s to say: Vikings kickers turn into conscious of the struggles of their predecessors. Misses turn into magnified due to that historical past, and even when Vikings kickers are just a bit worse than league common it feels prefer it’s a lot worse. Kickers lose confidence as a result of everybody fears the worst, and shanks turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

However … even when there’s a unconscious consciousness, does that basically matter when muscle reminiscence kicks in?

Conclusion

Perhaps it is a mixture of all or a few of these issues.

Or possibly the most effective rationalization is only a sequence of random occasions, human errors and the whims of an rectangular ball.

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