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.


Blair Walsh wins his third NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award

Posted by: Mark Craig under Rookies, Vikings, Bears, NFC, Packers, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Longwell Updated: January 2, 2013 - 12:54 PM
Blair Walsh has now achieved something that neither Adrian Peterson, nor Randy Moss achieved during their rookie seasons with the Vikings:
Win a conference player of the week award three times.
Walsh's second last-second, game-winning field goal of the season -- a 29-yarder to clinch a playoff berth against the Packers on Sunday -- earned him his third NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award this season. Peterson and Moss won the conference offensive player of the week award twice during their rookies seasons.
Walsh also is the first rookie to win this award three times since Bears return man Devin Hester did it in 2006.
Here's the Vikings' release on Walsh's award: 
 
BLAIR WALSH WINS NFC SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
 
Eden Prairie, MN(January 2, 2013)Vikings rookie K Blair Walsh has been named the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week for his Week 17 performance against the Green Bay Packers. Walsh sent the Vikings into the playoffs with a 29-yard FG as time expired. He also connected on FGs of 54 and 37 yards in the 37-34 win. This was Walsh’s second game-winning kick of the 2012 season (Week 1 vs. Jacksonville).
 
Walsh has won this award three times and becomes the first rookie since Devin Hester earned the honor three times in 2006. Until now, no Vikings rookie has ever won the Player of the Week Award three times in one season (A. Peterson x2 – ‘07, R. Moss x2 – ‘98). The Pro Bowl kicker was honored after his Week 1 performance against Jacksonville and his Week 15 showing in St. Louis.
 
The Georgia product was 10-10 on FGs of 50+ yards this season, a NFL record. He led the NFL in FGs with 35 and was 4th in scoring with 141 points. His 92.1 FG percentage is the best in NFL history by a rookie kicker. Walsh was 35-38 on the season and was 3rd in the NFL with 53 touchbacks.
 
Other Vikings kickers to win the award are: Fuad Reveiz (2x), Gary Anderson (4x), Eddie Murray and Ryan Longwell (2x). 

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