Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Priefer had plan in place in case Walsh had been too sick to kick

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC, Chris Kluwe Updated: October 18, 2012 - 2:48 PM

Special teams coach Mike Priefer had a plan in place just in case rookie kicker Blair Walsh, who came down with food poisoning on Saturday night, wouldn't have been healthy enough to kick on Sunday.

Punter Chris Kluwe, the holder on place-kicks, would have handled all the kicking duties. And quarterback Christian Ponder would have been the holder.

"Kluwe has kicked field goals before," Priefer said. "And Christian has held before for us in practice. It wouldn't have been pretty, or as pretty as you would like. But it's been done before."

Priefer was confident that wasn't going to be the case last weekend.

"I knew he would be OK," Priefer said. "I talked to [head athletic trainer] Eric Sugarman. And he texted me early Sunday morning. And I went and checked on [Walsh]. I was down watching tape but I went and checked on him. They have a little sick room, I guess.

"He didn't look very good, but I knew that he's a pretty tough kid. Mentally and physically, he's a tough kid. Once I saw his pre-game, I knew he would be fine because he had a great pre-game."

He also had a great game, going 4-for-4 on field goal attempts and 7-for-7 on kickoff touchbacks. The seven touchbacks set a team record. Walsh had tied the previous record of five twice in his first five NFL games.

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