The kicking game in the NFL involves a lot of pressure. The specialists -- kicker, snapper, punter and holder -- get few chances in a game to ply their craft and they often can have a huge effect on the game. So it might seem ironic that the three Vikings specialists -- rookie K Blair Walsh, P/H Chris Kluwe and LS Cullen Loeffler -- are unchallenged for positions in camp and are seemingly devoid of training camp pressure.

Special teams coach Mike Priefer says that is far from the truth.

“I think they are all challenged,” said Priefer. “They are challenged by themselves, by me and by the other guys out there in the league. They know the good players, and they compare themselves to them. They all know at the end of the day if they don’t perform, we have to go out and find somebody else. This is pro ball, they are not on scholarship. They have a contract, but only when they (perform).”

Priefer might have put a little pressure on rookie kicker Walsh when he suggested to GM Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier that the team cut ties with longtime reliable kicker Ryan Longwell and draft Walsh in the sixth round. To eliminate the competition of Longwell and basically give the job to the rookie before camp began appeared to many as a leap of faith, but Priefer said that’s exactly what he wanted for the whole specialist unit.

“For me to evaluate them -- to see Chris take every punt, for Cullen to make every snap, for Blair to take every kickoff and field goal -- that was by design,” said Priefer. “I knew who I wanted to go into the season with. I knew that if they were consistent and successful, that we’re going to be just fine. The other two have proven themselves and Blair will have to continue to prove himself, but so far so good.”

Loeffler and Kluwe have been together since 2005, and Loeffler said that Walsh has fit into their group very well. He said that Walsh not having to worry about a position battle may have contributed.

“For what we do, there are few opportunities to do it live in practice,” said Loeffler. “It really helps to have the three (positions) narrowed down beforehand so you can build some continuity, especially for a young kicker before the season starts.

“There is a rhythm that is involved -- it’s getting to know what each other’s nuances are. It certainly helps each of us knowing where we are at going into the season, rather than going back and forth between personnel and losing continuity.”

Walsh made both of his field goals (39 and 26 yards) in the opening preseason game against the 49ers and put all three of his kickoffs into the end zone. So after one game, he has validated Priefer’s choice -- but the coach is certainly looking for more.

“Motivation for me and them is to continually improve, continually be more consistent,” said Priefer.” “So far, I like what I have seen.”

But then in the life of all specialists, Blair and his group will get another chance to prove themselves again, when the Vikings take on Buffalo Friday night in the Metrodome.

For more Vikings news, follow Joe Oberle on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLMIN or @joeoberle.