Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh is in the worst slump of his still-young career.
After struggling throughout the preseason, Walsh has already missed two of his eight field goal attempts this season (one from 38 yards out, another from 44). The fourth-year pro also missed an extra-point attempt in Week 2.
But the struggling kicker got a much-needed vote of confidence from Vikings general manager Rick Spielman this week.
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"I think there is no question that he is our kicker," Spielman said of Walsh, per Marino Eccher of the Pioneer Press.
Walsh made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2012, after he went 10-for-10 from 50-plus yards out (long of 56). Although his performance since hasn't been as spectacular, the Vikings certainly had that first season in mind when they signed him to a four-year, $14 million contract extension this summer.
Spielman was asked whether he believes Walsh's problem is mental or physical.
"I have my thoughts," he said, via the Pioneer Press, "but I'd rather have Blair and the coaches share that."
If Walsh's issue is, in fact, a mental one, perhaps Spielman's words of encouragement will help improve his play.