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Ryan Quigley Caps Regular Season with 0 Touchbacks

MINNEAPOLIS — Ryan Quigley lined up in the backfield 63 times this season before receiving the snap, planting his left foot and letting the ball fly off his right foot.

None of his 63 kicks ever rolled into or out of the end zone.

Quigley capped his first regular season in Purple by setting a franchise record and tying an NFL mark on Sunday as he did not record a touchback on any of his punts this season.

"I got a few bounces, that's what it's all about," Quigley said. "There's probably a few of those that could have gone in but didn't. It's always a positive thing when you're not doing that.

"That's always the goal, but it's always interesting how it plays out for every offense because every team is different. Sometimes you get a lot of field punts, sometimes you get a lot of plus-50 situations, so you never know what you're going to get," Quigley added. "For the most part, we're usually around (midfield), so to get no touchbacks for a full season, I think that's great for our team and big for our unit. There's a little luck, too. It's like golf, sometimes you get the spin."

It wasn't just Quigley's kicks that got the job done, however, as Minnesota's coverage unit was in fine form all season.

Quigley credited gunners Marcus Sherels and Jayron Kearse for their speed and skill to get down the field and limit any potential big plays by opposing returners.

"I've never played with any guy like (Sherels)," Quigley said. "He's so talented, and so is Kearse on the other side, and it makes my job a lot easier.

"You know if you punt the ball well, then we're going to cover it," Quigley added.

Minnesota's special teams unit had a new wrinkle Sunday as long snapper Jeff Overbaugh made his NFL debut. Vikings long snapper Kevin McDermott was placed on Injured Reserve Saturday with a shoulder injury.

"It's definitely a tremendous deal," said Overbaugh, who noted he had 10 previous tryouts before latching on with the Vikings. "I'm happy to be here and thankful to be with this group."

Overbaugh's performance impressed his new teammates.

"Jeff's first-ever NFL game and he did an outstanding job," Quigley said. "I can't ask for anything more from him."

Added McDermott: "I think Jeff, for his first game, did a fantastic job. I'm glad to be able to help him out any way I could."

The only blemish by the punt coverage unit in Sunday's game, and perhaps the season, came in the second quarter when Chicago's Bryce Callahan pulled off a trick play and scored on a 59-yard punt return.

Callahan didn't appear on the field at first before eventually taking a knee just in the field of play near the Chicago sideline.

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Chicago Bears in the last game of 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Bears punt return unit went to Quigley's left and appeared to field the punt, but the ball actually went to the punter's right, where there were no defenders nearby.

Callahan scooped up the kick and went untouched for the score. 

"I think they did a good job of setting it up," said Vikings safety Anthony Harris. "Once we see the returner start to bluff that he's catching left, we got to do a good of taking a peek and getting sight of the ball.

"Just trying to be more aware," Harris added. "They did a good job of executing, and as a team we have to be better."

Added Kearse: "Guys were going down there playing fast. If we would have slowed it down and paid attention more … it was just the perfect call for the punt we had."

Quigley, who said it was the "worst-case scenario" for punt team, offered up his view of the play.

"He kind of snuck out there," Quigley said. "It was a heck of an acting job."

Quigley placed the blame on his shoulders as he said kicked the ball to the wrong side of the field.

"You get in these games and you can't make mistakes like that," Quigley said. "They had a good scheme … but if you get a good punt with better hang time there, I think we cover that.

"The ball wasn't where it was supposed to be, wasn't good contact … the guy made an incredible catch. When I hit it and saw it, I was hoping the ball would get on the ground," Quigley added. "They made an incredible play, but that's on me."

Quigley finished the season with a net average of 39.2 yards per punt, which was tied for the third-best in franchise history.

"Quigs has done an awesome job for us," Harris said. "He's had some great punts for us to go down there and cover and has done a great job of dropping some punts inside the 20."

Added Kearse: "We know what he's good at … not having a touchback all year. He's been big for us and some of the success we had this year on defense was because of pinning guys back and then they have to drive a long field."

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