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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."
In case you missed it on ESPN.com:
Priefer will rejoin the Vikings on Monday.
We took a look at the sequence that turned the game for the Vikings, and illustrated Matt Cassel's struggles in asserting himself as the starting quarterback.
Vikings players reacted to Adrian Peterson's absence.
Penalties and a failure to stop the run hurt the Vikings' defense on a day where it was already put in a bad spot.
Vikings GM Rick Spielman told our Sal Paolantonio that "all options are on the table" with Peterson's future.
We examined whether Sunday's game could be a preview of a future without Peterson.
Best of the rest:
Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins, who was covering the University of Minnesota's game at TCU on Saturday, stayed in Texas to talk with residents in Adrian Peterson's hometown of Palestine about the running back's off-field troubles.
When the St. Paul Pioneer Press' John Shipley went in search of fans who were still wearing Peterson's jersey, one told him, "It was either that or (Christian) Ponder -- take your pick."
Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com wants to see how Mike Zimmer will handle adversity.