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Blair Walsh and Vikings open talks over contract extension

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After a season that was a disappointment by even his own standards, kicker Blair Walsh knows he is going to have to bounce back strong if he wants to stay a Viking.

After making the Pro Bowl in 2012 after hitting 35-of-38 field goals, Walsh made only 74.3% of his kicks in 2014, which included missing three kicks inside of 40 yards.

He told the Star Tribune that he knows he needs to be better if he wants to remain a Viking.

"The 39-yarder I missed in the Jets game and the 38-yarder I missed in Chicago, that's unacceptable to me and I have to be better there," he said. "But there's no wholesale changes that need to be made this offseason."

Walsh is entering the final year of his rookie contract and his struggles last season haven't stopped the Vikings from opening up talks about a contract extension.

"I would love to stay a Viking. This is the team that drafted me and put faith in me to be an NFL kicker," Walsh told the Star Tribune. "But at the same time, I've had a Pro Bowl year here, I've had success and there's been a lot of long attempts that we've made, so the numbers are going to have to be right for both of us. But when it comes down to it, I hope I can stay with the Vikings.

Walsh's struggles coincided with the team's move outdoors to TCF Bank Stadium after playing his first two seasons in the Metrodome. However, Pro Football Talk notes that only four of Walsh's nine misses came during Vikings home games.

While he believes there was more to his struggles than just the weather, he acknowledges that kicking at TCF can be tricky.

"Most outdoor stadiums are full or symmetrical and bring a consistent wind that you can judge and understand throughout the game," said Walsh to FOX Sports North. "But part of the factor with TCF Bank is the open end brings stuff where you're not really sure where (the wind) is going at any point in the game."

It will be a big year for Walsh, not only is it a contract year, but the NFL has decided to push back extra points to the 15-yard line, making it equal to a 33-yard field goal.

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