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Around the Horns: Special-teams struggle

Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:

The game film greeting Minnesota Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer in his return from a two-game suspension probably won't make for much of a welcome-back gift. In the Vikings' final game before they reinstated Priefer -- whose suspension for making a homophobic remark was shortened from three games to two after he completed sensitivity training -- their special-teams units had a couple of unseemly moments.

At the end of the first half of a 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots, Vikings kicker Blair Walsh had a 48-yard field goal attempt blocked and returned 58 yards for a touchdown by Chandler Jones. Later, the Patriots' fourth-down trickery -- leaving their offense on the field to go for it before hurrying their punt unit onto the field -- caught the Vikings off guard and led to them covering a punt with nine players.

"It wasn't too good," coach Mike Zimmer said.

Walsh said he didn't change his trajectory on the field goal attempt at all, because the wind was at his back and didn't require him to hit the kick any lower than usual. "With the wind behind you, you just throw the ball up there and let it go in," Walsh said. "That’s what I was doing in pregame. I have to watch the tape, but it was close."

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