What's buzzing:

Shutdown Corner

Vikings rookie Blair Walsh sets NFL record by kicking nine FGs of 50 yards or more in a season

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

View photo

.

The Blair Walsh Project does it again. (AP)

When it comes to rookie kickers, most of the talk has been about Greg "Legatron" Zuerlein of the St. Louis Rams, but there's a better first-year booter who deserves more praise. With 8:20 left in the second quarter of the Vikings' game against the Houston Texas on Sunday, Blair Walsh kicked a 56-yard field goal that put him on the right side of an impressive NFL record.

The Georgia alum became the first kicker in league history to make nine field goals of 50 yards or more in a single season. The boot put the Vikings up, 10-3, and Minnesota surprised the Texans with a 23-6 loss at Houston's Reliant Stadium. The result pushed the Vikings to 9-6, while the Texans dropped to 12-3.

[Also: Trevor Pryce: Rex Ryan might be too nice for his own good]

The record of eight such kicks was first held by Morten Andersen of the 1995 Atlanta Falcons, and then was tied by Jason Hanson of the 2008 Detroit Lions. Hanson, of course, remains the only kicker to nail that many long field goals for a team that didn't win a game all season.

More impressively for Walsh? He hasn't missed a single attempt from that distance -- he's 9-of-9 as of that second-quarter kick. Also, his 56-yarder tied the franchise record for field-goal distance, matching Paul Edinger's 56-yarder in 2005.

There's no question that Adrian Peterson is the Vikings' (and perhaps the NFL's) most valuable player, but has anyone else done more to keep the Vikings in the playoff race than Walsh? Through the third quarter of Sunday's game, Walsh was an amazing 32 of 35 in field-goal attempts, and 9 of 11 outdoors -- that last stat was for those who would devalue Walsh's accomplishments based on the fact that the Vikings play in a dome.

"I knew he'd have the leg strength," Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer said of his main man on Thursday. Accuracy is another issue. Obviously, we worked hard on it since the spring. After I saw the combine workout and then I went down to Georgia  to work him out, I knew he had the leg strength to do that kind of damage as a field-goal kicker. You never know about accuracy until you go out there and do it."

[Also: Dez Bryant’s breakout continues with another huge day]

Priefer was asked if there was any distance at which he would be uncomfortable letting Walsh air it out.

"It depends on the time of the game," the coach said. "I think anything inside of 60 [yards] -- 58, maybe, and in, on a normal deal. But again, it's time of the game. How our offense is playing. How the defense is playing. If we miss a 58-yarder, they get the ball at their own 48, and that's a tough deal. It depends on the whole situation."

[Also: Darryl Johnston’s sweater wins the holidays]

What if it's at the end of a half, or the end of a game?

"Sixty-five yards, probably. Let him launch it. It would be fun to watch. I would be holding my breath. I normally do, anyway."

Let's make sure to recognize this rookie kicker as well -- after all, with "The Blair Walsh Project," he's got a pretty nifty nickname of his own.

Related NFL video from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Trevor Pryce: Rex Ryan might be too nice for his own good
Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk: 'I'm going to win the Heisman'
2012 season in the rear view: Matt Kenseth
Y! News blog: Tales from a mall Santa

View Comments (41)
  • Solid Nadal dismisses Almagro to reach third round

    Solid Nadal dismisses Almagro to reach third round

    By Julien Pretot PARIS (Reuters) - If Rafa Nadal was looking for an opponent to help him find his Roland Garros rhythm, Nicolas Almagro was the perfect candidate. The nine-times French Open champion reached the third round on Thursday with a 6-4 … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Serena escapes as women's seeds continue to fall

    By Martyn Herman PARIS (Reuters) - The pre-tournament shortlist of favourites for the French Open women's crown continues to shrink and for a while it looked as though the name of top seed Serena Williams would also vanish on Thursday. Shortly … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Tennis-Solid Nadal dismisses Almagro to reach third round

    (Adds details, quotes) By Julien Pretot PARIS, May 28 (Reuters) - If Rafa Nadal was looking for an opponent to help him find his Roland Garros rhythm, Nicolas Almagro was the perfect candidate. The nine-times French Open champion reached the … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • World's policeman wins rare applause for FIFA crackdown

    By Noah Barkin BERLIN (Reuters) - The United States has infuriated some of its closest allies in recent years by fining their banks and spying on their citizens. Following news on Wednesday that the U.S. Justice Department, supported by FBI … More »

    Reuters - 12 minutes ago
  • Cycling-Road-Giro d'Italia team classification after stage 18

    May 28 (Infostrada Sports) - Team Classification Giro d'Italia after Stage 18 on Thursday 1. Astana(Kazakhstan) 216:50:51" 2. BMC Racing(United States) +20:13" 3. Movistar(Spain) +32:24" 4. Team Sky(Britain) +50:24" 5. Cannondale(United States) … More »

    Reuters - 17 minutes ago