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Wayne Larrivee's Packers-Vikings pregame primer III: Minnesota's special teams

Wayne Larrivee's blog
Posted: 11:59 PM, Sep 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-18 00:59:50-04
Wayne's pregame primer III: Special teams
Wayne's pregame primer III: Special teams
Wayne's pregame primer III: Special teams
Kicking game: The Blair Walsh project
 
Five years ago the Vikings drafted Blair Walsh, a kicker out of Georgia, in the sixth round of the draft.  He quickly became one of the top place kickers in the game.
 
But in the Wild Card playoffs last year, he pulled a game winning 27-yard field goal wide, left and that seems to have changed everything.  It was a devastating moment for both the franchise and Walsh.
  
In the opener at Tennessee last week, Walsh missed his first two field goal attempts from 37 and 56 yards, both wide left. He also missed a point-after-touchdown, but then boomed field goals of 50, 33, 45 and 30 yards in the second half.
 
He has an outstanding leg and has been a potent force from long distance.  Walsh in his career is now 25 of 34 from fifty-plus yards.
 
He is a talented kicker who appeared to come through that Seattle failure with a strong second half last week.
 
Cordarelle Patterson
 
Last week, the Titans kicked to Patterson just once, and he burned them for 61 yards, setting up a second half Minnesota score.
 
The Packers know all too well of Patterson’s abilities. He set an NFL record with a 109-yard return for a touchdown in the Metrodome in 2013.
 
Against Green Bay in his career, he has 18 returns for a 36.7 average with returns of 109, 51, 57, 42, 52 and 70 yards!
  
The Packers are without Chris Banjo, one of their top special teams overage men, Jeff Janis with a broken hand is playing one handed and Jayrone Elliott, another special teams standout missed last week due to injury.
 
Patterson is big, powerful and fast. He is a long strider who runs and 4.34 forty and has nifty moves for a man of his size in open space. He can make anyone miss!
 
The Packers would do well to just kick the ball out of the end zone and limit Patterson’s touches. It will be interesting to see how special teams coach Ron Zook plays this aspect of the game.