The Vikings won’t mention their names publicly out of professional courtesy. But they know exactly who these people are what happened to them and how it’s a good idea for reigning All-Pro kicker Blair Walsh to do everything he can to avoid the same slippery slope.

It’s no secret who some of these folks are. They’re Nick Folk Rian Lindell Mason Crosby Richie Cunningham and other kickers like them who were good to great as NFL rookies and then bad to worse to in some cases out the door not long after that.

“Blair is always going to have to continually work on things just like a golfer” Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer said. “I think he’s a little bit stronger than where he was a year ago. But I don’t want him to have that sophomore slump.”

Wait a minute. Isn’t mentioning the kickers who have had sophomore slumps making Walsh think more than he should about sophomore slumps? Kind of like the golfer who is thinking about hitting the ball in the woods because he’s told himself not to think about hitting the ball in the woods?

“Actually” said Walsh “the sophomore slump is a good thing to acknowledge and understand. But yeah you don’t want to dwell on it.”

Walsh had perhaps the finest rookie season by an NFL kicker ever. He made 35 of 38 field-goal attempts. His NFL-record 10 field goals of 50 yards or longer came without a miss from that distance. His 141 points ranked second by a rookie in NFL history. And he also crushed the team record for touchbacks with 53.

So how in the world does a guy come up with an encore for that? And do it with a rookie holder [Jeff Locke] and seven outdoor games as opposed to only four a year ago?

A new tool that Walsh has this year is the journal be began keeping soon after the Vikings drafted him. It was Priefer’s idea. Priefer got it from former 20-year Lions veteran kicker Jason Hanson who got it from Chuck Priefer Mike’s father and a former special teams coach who worked in Detroit during Hanson’s first five seasons. Small world eh?

Hanson used more video for his journal files. Walsh has filed video reference points from his last two games a year ago but relies more with paper pen and a binder.