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Alexander Shun | @alexpshun
Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com
One day after the release of kicker Blair Walsh, the Minnesota Vikings have found their new kicker. Kai Forbath is a fifth-year kicker out of UCLA and has previously played for the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints. Forbath is a career 84.1 percent field goal kicker and has connected on 97.6 percent of his extra-point attempts. In comparison, Walsh is a career 84.2 percent field goal kicker and connected on 94.5 percent of his extra-point attempts, though struggled this season, hitting only 75 percent of his field goals and 78.9 percent of his extra-points.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer discussed the decision to release Walsh at his press conference on Wednesday.
"It was just something we felt like we needed to do, kind of move forward," Coach Zimmer explained. "We're all accountable for the things we have to get done, and I think we gave him a lot of opportunities. Although, Blair's a great kid and it was hard to do. It's just part of the business."
Coach Zimmer was asked if he thought Walsh's teammates had lost confidence in him and he referred that question to the players saying he couldn't speak for the player's confidence.
When asked about Walsh's release, players expressed nothing but well-wishes for the fifth-year kicker while recognizing the business side of the sport and acknowledging Walsh's struggles to make kicks.
"I'm sad for the guy, but at the end of the day, I understand that this is a business," said Alex Boone. "You have one job to do and you have to do it. That's the bottom line when it comes to a kicker and sometimes they're scrutinized when they shouldn't be and there's pressure situations but at the end of the day, you have to make those kicks."
While Walsh was heavily scrutinized by the media and fans - justified as it may be - his now former teammates love him and have nothing but the utmost respect for him, including long-snapper Kevin McDermott.
McDermott spoke with the media Wednesday saying that he can empathize with Blair and being cut, acknowledging the nasty side of the business.
"Blair is one of my best friends and he will be for the rest of my life. But this is a business. And it's not always a business that is kind," McDermott said. "I spent my rookie year in San Francisco and then was let go in final cuts before my second year. It's vicious sometimes. It's really hard to see people go through it. But he's going to get an opportunity somewhere else and I believe that he's going to be successful in the future. He's just an unbelievable guy and I really have the utmost respect for him."
Injury Roundup - Munnerlyn, Rhodes, Kendricks, Treadwell
With the loss to the Washington Redskins firmly in the rearview and preparations for the Arizona Cardinals underway, the week's first glance at who is healthy and who's still out arrived Wednesday.
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn did not practice as he is still nursing an ankle injury that sidelined him last Sunday. It is still early in the week but should Munnerlyn be unable to go, expect to see rookie cornerback MacKenzie Alexander take his place.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks missed practice as well as he is still recovering from a hip injury suffered on Sunday in Washington. Kendricks collided with fellow linebacker Anthony Barr going for an interception and Kendricks seemingly got the worst of the collision. While Barr was shaken up, he did remain in the game, though Kendricks left the game and did not return.
Defensive tackle Sharif Floyd and cornerback Terence Newman also missed practice Wednesday, and while Floyd not practicing is not really a surprise, Newman's absence is. It is said that Newman has an illness of some sort that isn't expected to sideline him for very long but we'll have to see how the veteran corner progresses throughout the week.
On a positive note, rookie wideout Laquon Treadwell returned to practice Wednesday after missing a practice last week due to a hamstring injury. Treadwell appeared to be just fine and was a full participant.
Lastly, cornerback Xavier Rhodes participated in practice but was limited as he is working his way back from a concussion he suffered late in the game Sunday against Washington. Rhodes being a limited participant this early in the week is a positive sign for both him and the Vikings secondary moving forward.