MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is a scene Minnesota Vikings fans will not soon forget: Kicker Blair Walsh missing a 27-yard field goal attempt to send the team into the next round of the playoffs.
But even the most cynical fans have praised Walsh for how he has handled himself.READ MORE: St. Paul School Board Chair Jeanelle Foster Recovering From COVID
Support from an unlikely source has certainly helped. First graders at Northpoint Elementary School in Blaine sent Walsh empathy cards earlier this week.
And today, he paid them back by paying them a visit.
“I’m here to tell you thank you from the bottom of my heart, seriously,” Walsh said. “That cheered my up a lot. And the fact that you guys would do that for me, somebody you never met, somebody you don’t know, that’s huge.”
Walsh spent most of his morning at the school. He thanked students for the cards, well wishes and recited some of his favorites.
“‘The Best Kicker in the Universe’ was really funny. I saw a couple where it said, ‘It’s good!’ as the ball is going through, that was really cute,” he said. “For them to show that kindness and to show that, you know, empathy towards me, it’s remarkable.”
READ MORE: What Is Proper Fall Clean-Up Etiquette? And What Methods Are Best For Your Lawn?
Walsh took questions from the 6- and 7-year-olds, and then visited each of their classrooms and signed autographs.
“I think it’s pretty cool how a famous athlete is in our school,” first-grader Luca said.
But as first graders will do, they were less interested in Blair Walsh the kicker, and more curious about Blair Walsh the person.
“He has a poodle and he has a brother and a sister,” first grader Avery said.
One student even apologized to Walsh that fans were swearing at him.
But Walsh is confident he left his young fans with a valuable life lesson.
“It’s a great teaching point. You know, it’s not always going to be smooth in life and you have to have persistence. And you have to be able to just overcome anything that’s put in your path and I think that’s really what this is,” Walsh said.
Walsh said he is going to keep all the cards he received from the kids. He also told us he wished the season began tomorrow.MORE NEWS: Online Learning Apps Helping Kids Catch Up From Pandemic-Compromised School Year
He said he’s never been more motivated, the team is motivated, and he thinks the future is bright for the Vikings.