It was, like it or not, (yet) another Vikings classic. And the commentary was swift and pitiless. Says Jim Souhan in the Star Tribune, “Walsh planted his foot strangely close to the ball and yanked the kick to the left, like a bad golfer trying to overcompensate for a slice. Teammates bowed their heads. Zimmer bent over, hands on knees. Thousands of fans who had sat in the cold for four hours recoiled. The Vikings’ failures are stunning yet predictable. … By missing, Walsh joins the 12th man in the huddle, the Favre interception, Gary Anderson’s miss, Darrin Nelson’s drop and four Super Bowl losses in the franchise’s virtual museum of malaise.”
His Strib colleague Chip Scroggins writes: “His reliability in those situations made his miss all the more stunning. No kicker is automatic, especially in those weather conditions and under playoff pressure. But Walsh lining up for a 27-yard field goal felt like a sure thing. According to ESPN Stats and Info, NFL kickers were 189-for-191 on field goals of 27 yards or shorter this season before Walsh’s miss.”
In the Pioneer Press, Tom Powers writes, “In a kick that will go down in infamy — right up there with Gary Anderson’s misfire in the 1998 NFC championship game — Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field-goal attempt with the game on the line. Twenty-seven yards. That’s roughly the distance from which lucky ticket holders get to try their luck in an effort to win a $100 gift certificate during pregame promotions. A lot of fans make that kick, too. Not Walsh. Not for the apparently forever-cursed Vikings.”
Powers’ colleague Chris Tomasson: “The Vikings suffered one of the most devastating defeats in their 55-year history Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium, losing a wild-card playoff game 10-9 to Seattle when Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining. ‘The whole thing is on me, and I accept that,’ Walsh said. ‘It is shameful. I have to do better.’ … When it was time for Walsh to make the biggest kick of his four-year professional career, though, he pulled it wide left. ‘I was initially in a state of shock,’ running back Adrian Peterson said. ‘I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was fake. It’s kind of hard to swallow and really hard to explain.'”
For ESPN, Kevin Seifert says, “There will be a time for historical perspective. Lord knows this franchise can squeeze one more self-inflicted loss into its well-worn lore. On this night, however, I’m finding it difficult to look past the scene in the Minnesota Vikings’ locker room minutes after their 10-9 wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Place-kicker Blair Walsh, who missed a 27-yard field goal attempt that would have won the game, was sobbing. He sat in his locker, still wearing the long underwear and shirt that helped keep him warm on a frigid day at TCF Bank Stadium. This was no silent cry. His face was contorted in anguish. His shoulders shuddered. He gasped for air each time a player, coach or support staffer walked over to console him.”
Want to listen to it all over again, from both the Seattle perspective and ours? Try this from Deadspin.
Then there’s USA Today, which goes with the headline, “Was Blair Walsh’s missed field goal the worst choke in playoff history?” Says Chris Chase, “Heck no! It wasn’t even the worst choke in Minnesota Vikings playoff history. Here’s our order for the worst of this generation: 1. In 1998, the Vikings of Randall Cunningham and Randy Moss went 15-1 and had kicker Gary Anderson go 94-for-94 on field goals and extra points. So when Minnesota had a 38-yard field goal with a little over two minutes left, one that would have put the team up by 10 points, it was all but certain Anderson would hit it and the Vikings would go back to the Super Bowl for the first time in two decades. But Anderson missed and Minnesota was left to think about an errant kick for 17 years, right until Walsh’s miss.”
On other fronts, Tom Meersman of the Strib looks at what the new, bigger Panama Canal might do for Minnesota. “Minnesota soybean farmer Joel Schreurs was in Panama last month, taking separate tours of the past and the future. … Schreurs was in Panama with soybean leaders from several states because the canal is critical for U.S. soybean exports. … Minnesota sits at the far end of the line when it comes to shipping corn, soybeans and other agricultural exports overseas. Yet the value of ag exports from the state has increased from $2.3 billion in 2000 to $7.3 billion in 2014.”
Speaking of commodities, Mike Hughlett of the Strib has this on Cargill. “Cargill will change its hiring policy — allowing employees to be potentially rehired 30 days after termination, not 180 days — in response to a walkout by Somali workers in Colorado. After a dispute over Muslim prayer time, about 150 employees at Cargill’s sprawling Fort Morgan, Colo., plant didn’t show up for work for three days — grounds for termination. They were fired. Some of those workers claimed they weren’t allowed to take prayer breaks, while Cargill claimed that it was still following its policy allowing the breaks.”
Uh, he’s got a problem. Also in the Strib, this from Alejandra Matos about Superintendent candidate Sergio Paez. “Minneapolis school board members appear to be giving up on Sergio Paez as their next superintendent. In interviews with the Star Tribune over the weekend, six sources who are close to the debate but asked not be named, said that Paez appears to be lacking majority support going into a vote on Tuesday. As support for Paez wanes, some sources indicated that the board could shift its focus instead to interim superintendent Michael Goar.”
Just what we need right now: another two year campaign. MPR’s Tim Nelson reports, “The 2017 St. Paul mayoral race is starting to take shape. Former city council member Melvin Carter III, 37, has filed paperwork to form a campaign committee and start raising money for the non-partisan race to run Minnesota’s second largest city. Three-term DFL incumbent Mayor Chris Coleman hasn’t yet announced his intentions regarding a fourth term, but Carter believes the seat may be open next year.”
Speaking of mayors: On WCCO, Mayor Hodges looks back at 2015 offers a preview of 2016: “In an interview on WCCO Sunday Morning, Hodges addressed a number of topics, including the Jamar Clark shooting, the Working Families Agenda, bringing body cameras to the city’s police department and a wager she had with the mayor of Seattle over the Vikings-Seahawks playoff match.”
Finally, I’m sure that missed field goal had something to do with this. Kristi Belcamino of the PiPress says, “Police arrested a Minnesota Vikings tailgater who broke into the police department at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on Sunday not long after the game ended, authorities say. A patrol officer discovered the man had jimmied a locked door and was inside the department shortly after 4 p.m. when she returned to the station to do some paperwork, said Officer Brooke Blakey, spokesperson for the State Fair Police. … Blakey said the 30-year-old appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. He had been walking back from tailgating when he entered the station, which looks like a house, Blakey said, adding that when officers arrived he appeared to think he was in his own home.” Boy, it sounds like he was really … sad.