Vikings Release Kicker Blair Walsh, Sign Kai Forbath

Walsh will have to overcome a bad miss in the playoffs last year. (Photo credit: Cumulus Media)

Sam Ekstrom contributed to this report.

The Vikings announced Tuesday that they have released kicker Blair Walsh. Walsh went 2/3 of on extra points last week and has missed three other extra points this season, going 15/19. His 78.9 percent rate was the worst extra point percentage in the league, with second-worst Steven Hauschka well ahead of him at 84.5 percent.

He was also one of the worst in the league at kicks from 30-39 yards (83 percent) and 40-49 yards (67 percent). Interestingly, he has a few kickers below him in overall field goal percentage, with Wil Lutz, Dan Carpenter, Sebastian Janikowski, Chris Boswell and Roberto Aguayo below him. Lutz and Janikowski, however, have largely missed from 50 yards or more.

After excluding kicks from 50 yards out, Walsh has the third-worst field goal percentage in the NFL, along with the worst extra-point percentage. The Georgia grad missed nine total kicks in 76 regular season attempts last season. He was on pace to miss 14 kicks in fewer attempts this year.

Walsh departs after being awarded an extension prior to the 2015 season. Long snapper Kevin McDermott addressed the media Wednesday at Winter Park. “Blair is one of my best friends,” McDermott said, “and he will be for the rest of my life, but this is a business, and it’s not always a business that is kind. I’ve had it happen to me. I spent my rookie year in San Francisco and then was let go in final cuts my second year, so it’s vicious sometimes and it’s really hard to see people go through it, but he’s going to get an opportunity somewhere else, and I believe he’s going to be successful in the future.”

Photo Credit: Kyle Hansen

The Vikings made official Wednesday morning the signing of former Washington and New Orleans kicker Kai Forbath. That reunites punter Jeff Locke and long snapper Kevin McDermott with their former UCLA teammate. Though the three never played together in a game during college, they’ve worked out during the offseason on the UCLA campus.

“I never snapped to [Forbath] in a game in college because I was a walk-on tight end tackling dummy at the time,” McDermott said. “He’s played in the league successfully for a number of years. He’s accurate, he has a good leg, so we believe in his talents and we’re excited to have him here.”

In 2015, Kai Forbath kicked at a 66.7 percent rate before getting cut and missed kicks from 20-29, 30-39 and 40-49, but only missed on extra point.

The Vikings are hoping Forbath at least hits his 2012-2014 form, where he was 94 percent from 20-29, 90 percent from 30-39, 88 percent from 40-49 and 50 percent from 50+. Overall in that span, he was 88.1 percent, which would rank in the top half of kickers this year. McDermott believes the transition will be fairly seamless. “I think it’s nice to have that familiarity,” he said, “especially with a big change like this.”

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Walsh will have to overcome a bad miss in the playoffs last year. (Photo credit: Cumulus Media)

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