EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — We now know who will kick for the Vikings on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals: Kai Forbath.
But his replacing Blair Walsh is just part of the team trying to come out of turmoil.
They understand it, even his best friends on the team Blair Walsh was not part of the solution.
“Blair is one of my best friends and he will be for the rest of my life,” long snapper Kevin McDermott said. “But this is a business and it’s not always a business that is kind.”
Welcome, Kai Forbath. He’s been around this league long enough to know what he’s signed up for and what he needs to know. He got a call last week, showed up to try out and then had to wait.
“They didn’t really give us any sort of idea who they would go with. Just kind of happy I got the call though,” Forbath said at Vikings’ practice Wednesday.
He is just here to step in, step up and help create a confidence that is lacking right now. And he is aided by a long snapper and holder that also hall from UCLA.
“This isn’t my first time coming in and replacing someone. It’s nice also having Jeff (Locke) and Kevin (McDermott) here. I’ve worked with them a lot in the past,” Forbath said. “So I’m feeling pretty confident going into it.”
Forbath kicked for New Orleans in 10 games last season after being let go by Washington after one game largely because the Redskins wanted to improve their kickoffs. Forbath made 87 percent of his field goal attempts (60 for 69) in three-plus seasons for Washington, the second-best rate in team history, but he had only 18 touchbacks in 2014, which was the second fewest in the league.
Between the Redskins and Saints in 2015, Forbath went 10 for 15 on field goals and 35 of 36 on extra points.
This isn’t just about Blair Walsh. When Mike Zimmer cuts someone or they leave the team, it also sends a message to everyone else. You’re accountable, and no one has permanent housing at Winter Park.
Yes, when a losing streak hits four in this league, everyone walks on egg shells. Because it’s simple math in the NFL: Produce, or go home.
“I’m sad for the guy but at the end of the day understand this is a business and you have one job to do and you’ve got to do it,” Alex Boone said. “That’s the bottom line when it comes to a kicker. Sometimes they’re scrutinized when they shouldn’t be and there’s pressure situations but at the end of the day, you’ve got to make those kicks.”
The Vikings also have signed rookie offensive tackle Rashod Hill off Jacksonville’s practice squad, after losing Jake Long for the season to an Achilles tendon injury.