Blair Walsh, who played five seasons in Minnesota before signing with the Seahawks, says his gestures toward the Vikings sideline during the game were in response to their taunts
After he made his first of two 52-yard field goals at CenturyLink Field on Friday night, Seattle kicker Blair Walsh turned toward the Minnesota sidelines and appeared to stare down and pointed at Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer.
At least, that’s what was captured by the TV cameras in the Seahawks’ 20-13 preseason win.
Blair Walsh hit a 52-yard field goal
and then pointed to his former team's sideline . pic.twitter.com/5seo3p0wzC
— SB Nation (@SBNation) August 19, 2017
But no, said Walsh, who was cut by the Vikings last fall after five seasons in Minnesota, that’s not what happened at all.
“It wasn’t directly at (Zimmer),” Walsh said. “And it was in jest because they were taunting me. I hoped their taunts were in jest, but I didn’t know their intent and I didn’t appreciate getting really yelled at by guys who I’d been friends with for five years. So my response was simply to look at them like I wasn’t having it.”
What did his former Vikings teammates say to him?
“Nothing I’m going to repeat here,” Walsh said.
Vikings long snapper Kevin McDermott, a good friend of Walsh’s, said he talked to Walsh before the game during warmups McDermott said he didn’t see Walsh make any gestures toward the sideline after his kicks, but made no mention of any taunting.
The Seahawks’ kicker seemed disturbed by the fact that his stare down with the Vikings had become one of the big stories of the evening.
“That’s not the story of tonight. Tonight’s story is that we played a good game, a very complementary game on offense, defense and special teams, and had great plays on all three, and we won,” Walsh said. “I hate that the little sideline thing, you get a story from it. But, I don’t know, I felt a little bit off by the taunting and I didn’t like it. I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t frustrated. I just wanted to let them know that I’m here.”
Minnesota released Walsh after nine games in 2016, but his struggles with the Vikings dated back to the 2015 season, when he missed a 27-yard field goal in the Vikings’ wild card playoff game against Seattle in January 2016. The miss gave Seattle a 10-9 win and knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs.
It also appeared to shake up the kicker. He missed four of 19 extra point conversions and four of 16 field goals to start the 2016 season, and was subsequently cut by Minnesota.
The Seahawks signed him this February to a one year deal after releasing Steven Hauschka.
All this week, Walsh maintained that he’s moved on from that missed kick in the playoffs and that he wasn’t going to let it define him. He denied any suggestion Friday night after the game that this was any sort of redemption game for him.
“It’s preseason. You want to just go out there and show what you got to do,” Walsh said.
Walsh made his first extra point of the evening after Kasen Williams’ touchdown on the opening drive, but his first field goal attempt – a 53-yarder in the first quarter – bounced off the crossbar.
“It was obviously accurate, I just didn’t put the extra little oomph on it that I needed to,” Walsh said. “But obviously, we learned from it and had great execution all night.”
Walsh rallied to make two 52-yarders in the third quarter. He glared at the Vikings’ sidelines after the first, and after the second, pointed to his head and stared at the Minnesota sideline again. This time, he was joined by Richard Sherman, who hopped off the bench on the sideline to also taunt the Vikings.
Walsh said he appreciated the support from his teammates but reiterated, “my response was in jest,” Walsh said. “I could see guys smiling. I hope nobody took it seriously.”
Walsh finished the evening 2-for-3 on field goals, and made both his extra point attempts. He was 2-for-2 on field goals and 6-for-6 on extra points last week against the Chargers.