EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –Less than 24 hours later, the memory of missing a 27-yard field goal that could have won the game for the Vikings isn't any less painful for kicker Blair Walsh. It still stings, and it will for a while. There's one thing that can't be shaken, however, and that's his confidence.
"I'll be more confident going into next year," Walsh said. "I know that sounds crazy, but this will drive me to work even harder, and I had those struggles early on in the year, but I finished the year with a good streak and a really high note, and then for it to kind of end that way in the playoffs, that was tough. But, you know, I'm confident in my abilities, and I know I can continue to be elite at this level."
Walsh demonstrated a blend of both humility and confidence while clearing out his locker Monday morning. The kicker took 100 percent responsibility for the missed field goal following Sunday's game, and that ownership remained the next morning. Walsh spoke with just as much conviction about both his history with the team and sureness moving forward.
"I know the magnitude of yesterday's situation, and I'm not blind to what it meant and what it meant to this team," Walsh said.
Amid negative reactions to the play, several current and former players and countless Vikings fans have reached out to Walsh to show their support and thank him for the season he had. Walsh said the kind words he's received since Sunday night meant a lot to him.
After giving credit to his teammates for showing him so much support and compassion in the hours following the loss, Walsh said he believes they respect him because he's been able to do a lot for the team.
"Yesterday was – it was not what I wanted. And it was a key moment where I have to make that kick," Walsh said. "I've made my fair share of big kicks here in my career, and I'll continue to do that. That doesn't overshadow what I did yesterday, and I need to do better. I think everybody knows that. But I think that's part of the reason why they're able to be so supportive and kind towards me."
Walsh made game-winning field goals this season at Chicago and against St. Louis and led the NFL with 34 field goals made in the 2015 regular season. He made three field goals against Seattle before pulling the last attempt to the left of the uprights.