Vikings kicker Blair Walsh’s last-second missed field goal in Sunday’s NFC Wild Card 10-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks ended Minnesota’s Super Bowl hopes, and added another chapter to the tortured history of the franchise.

The loss was as devastating as they come, and Walsh undoubtedly bore the brunt of that. Missing a big kick is usually a recipe for disaster, especially in the age of social media.

While some chose to pile on the 26-year-old, first-grade teacher Judie Offerdahl thought Walsh could use some words of encouragement, and saw an opportunity to teach her students a lesson in empathy.

“I knew that Mr. Walsh probably felt horrible about it,” Offerdahl told Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Vineeta Sawkar. “I also knew it would be a good teachable moment for the kids.”

Offerdahl (who, interestingly, is a Seahawks fan) had her class write letters of encouragement to the kicker, and the end result should restore some faith in humanity. Sometimes, the perspective of six- and seven-year-olds is really the only one we need. The plan is to send the letters to Walsh, and the Vikings intend to make sure the kicker receives those messages.

“Dear Blair Walsh,” said one of the letters, each of which was read aloud in class. “I know that it can be hard to get through things that are sad. but you have to try and try again. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. One time I made a mistake when I was doing a cartwheel. I felt embarrassed. You can still help the Vikings win the Super Bowl next year.”

The Star-Tribune website has a video accompanying the story, which is worth checking out here.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Ben Sieck

Ben is a recent graduate of Butler University where he served as Managing Editor and Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Butler Collegian. He currently resides in Indianapolis.