February 09, 2017

RENTON, Wash. (AP) The Seahawks signed former Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh on Thursday, the strongest sign yet that Seattle may be moving on from Steven Hauschka.

Hauschka will be a free agent when the new league year begins next month and after a season of inconsistency the Seahawks are looking at other options.

Walsh spent five seasons with the Vikings before being released midway through last season, but is mostly known for a crucial miss. Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds of a 2015 NFC wild-card game against Seattle that could have given Minnesota the victory. It overshadowed an otherwise standout 2015 season by Walsh when he led the NFL with 34 field goals made.

The impact of the miss against Seattle seemed to linger into the 2016 season. Walsh was 12 of 16 on field goals and 15 of 19 on extra points before being released.

The signing of Walsh is the clearest sign that Hauschka's run could be ending after six seasons. Hauschka was 33 of 37 on field goals and 29 of 35 on extra points during the 2016 regular season. There were issues with the timing of kicks at various times through the season, but Hauschka also had issues with low kicks getting blocked.

Hauschka was 4 of 4 on field goals and 4 of 5 on extra points in the playoffs.

''Hauschka is a really good kicker that got in a little bit of a rut with the extra points,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said at the end of the season. ''He's come through for us a lot of times and been a big play guy for us, so I outwardly commended him about showing that he's back and he's on it by the way he finished, and I thought that was pretty good.''


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