CHICAGO — The Vikings first and final scores were via special teams Sunday at Soldier Field.
Marcus Sherels started the scoring with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter, and Blair Walsh booted a 36-yard field goal as time expired in the Vikings 23-20 victory over the Bears. It was Minnesota's first win in Chicago since 2007.
"All week we were talking about we were due for a big one to help the team," Sherels said. "We got the punt we wanted and the guys did a great job of blocking for me and I was able to get to the end zone."
Sherels fielded the punt cleanly and zipped to his right as the Bears coverage team bee-lined for the middle of the field. He turned the corner near the Bears sideline and zoomed freely the rest of the way. Danielle Hunter provided an escort for Sherels by deterring Bears punter Patrick O'Donnell the final several yards.
"I'd be lying if I told you I could see all of that," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. "But we talked about how their team likes to come after you, so we talked about needing to get a good return, and that's about as big as you could get, especially at that time."
The return put the Vikings up 7-3 and placed Sherels solely atop the Vikings record books with three punt returns for touchdowns in his five-year career.
Walsh, meanwhile, drilled field goals of 43 in the second quarter and 48 early in the fourth quarter before the fourth game-winner of his career, second against the Bears and first in an outdoor stadium. He has now made 13 straight field goals.
"It feels good but I am far from the hero. This is a team win," Walsh said. "Another assist set up by Adrian Peterson for me. I've got to thank that guy. [Holder] Jeff (Locke) and [long snapper] Kevin (McDermott) have been money all year with their snaps and holds and protections. They make my job real easy on a day like today."
Sherels started the final drive with positive juice by returning a 53-yard punt 12 yards to the Minnesota 34 with 1:00 left on the clock.
Teddy Bridgewater followed with completions of 4 yards to Stefon Diggs and a 35-yarder to Charles Johnson to the Chicago 27-yard line. Peterson followed with a gain of 9 to give him 103 yards on 20 carries, and the Vikings milked the clock until four seconds remain.
Snap, set, kick, win.