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Vikings believe kicker tryouts 'ticked off' Blair Walsh

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The Minnesota Vikings won't make a kicker swap yet, but working out some options this week seems to have concocted the intended desire.

We posited Monday that the workouts could be a motivational tool to try and snap Blair Walsh out of his mental funk. According to special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, that's what happened.

"I knew how he would react because I've known him now for five-plus years," Priefer said Thursday, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "It kind of lit a fire under him. (Walsh) got ticked off in a good way, I think, because he's a competitive young man. ... If he didn't react that way, I would be really worried and then we probably would be looking for another guy. ... If he's going to feel sorry for himself, then he's not the guy we want."

In Sunday's home loss to the Lions, Walsh missed his third extra point of the season, had a field-goal attempt blocked and flubbed the final kickoff -- putting the ball into the end zone instead of kicking it short to melt away precious seconds off the clock.

With Walsh's struggles, shouldn't the fire have already been burning?

"I think he did, but (it's different) when it hits you in the face like, 'Wow, that's reality,'" Priefer said. "It's always in the back of anybody's mind. It's in the back of my mind. I've got a chip on my shoulder as a coach because I know I've got to outwork everybody else that's out there. I want to keep my job. I want to support my family. He wants to keep his job. That fire in your belly is always there, but when there's six guys that come in who want to take your job, I think it's a different story. It grows exponentially at that point."

Finding a kicker from the scrap heap that would be an improvement over Walsh in November was always going to be a tricky task. The Vikings hope the reality that he could be replaced stokes a flame in Walsh that rids him of the yips before it costs the Vikings more games.

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