Blair Walsh Released by Vikings, Kai Forbath Signed as Replacement

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 1: Blair Walsh #3 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the third quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams on September 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Rams 27-25. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

In the midst of his worst NFL season, kicker Blair Walsh was released by the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the move, and the Vikes later made it official

The Vikings announced on Wednesday that they signed Kai Forbath as Walsh's replacement. Walsh would clear waivers, and is now a free agent, per Chris Tomasson of St. Paul Pioneer Press. 

The 2012 sixth-round draft pick out of Georgia has connected on just 75 percent of his field-goal attempts this season and 78.9 percent of his extra points, which prompted his release.

Walsh missed one of his three extra-point attempts in a 26-20 loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 10, one week after missing an extra point and a field goal.

The 33-yard extra point has proved difficult for Walsh over the past two seasons, as he has missed eight of them since the start of the 2015 campaign.

Walsh converted an NFL-high 34 field goals last season and connected on 87.2 percent of them, but a downward spiral seemed to start in a playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, as he missed a 27-yard field goal attempt that would have sent Minnesota to the next round.

The Florida native was unable to recover and now finds himself on the free-agent market.

Walsh was named to the All-Pro First Team and the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2012; however, inconsistency has marred his game ever since.

Schefter reported last week the Vikings were working out free-agent kickers. Per ESPN.com's Ben Goessling, Forbath and Randy Bullock were among those players.

The Vikes are a team with little margin for error, as they thrive in low-scoring, defense-oriented games due to a lack of an explosive offense.

They have dropped four games in a row since starting 5-0, and while Walsh's struggles aren't solely responsible, improving the kicking game should be beneficial to Minnesota in close games moving forward.

         

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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