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Walsh's 51-Yard FG Highlights Vikings Special Teams In Preseason Opener

Perhaps the Vikings and kicker Blair Walsh got a fortunate bounce Friday night, but the points count the same.

Walsh was perfect in his only field goal attempt of the night, a 51-yarder that bounced off the crossbar and through the uprights for a successful three points.

Walsh's lengthy make came as time expired in the first half and gave Minnesota a 10-7 advantage.

"That's not exactly how you plan it," Walsh said of the bounce. "You just do enough right to hit that ball long enough … it wasn't my best hit, but it was good enough to make it from 51.

"There was a really good snap and hold, the execution aligned, and I made it," he added.

Walsh, who also added a pair of successful PAT tries, continued to build off a strong training camp performance in which he was successful on 22 of 24 kicks during 11-on-11 drills.

Add in his disappointing end to the 2015 season, and Walsh said he was simply excited to be back in live action once again.

"It's been an extra-long offseason, no doubt about that," Walsh said. "Almost eight months … a lot of guys were anxious to get out there and show what they can do, so it was fun."

Walsh's performance highlighted a generally strong night for Minnesota's special teams unit.

View images of the Vikings first preseason victory at Paul Brown Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals.

University of Minnesota alum Troy Stoudermire handled kick and punt return duties, tallying 55 yards on a pair of kick returns.

Stoudermire, on offseason free agent pickup, had a 33-yard kick return to open the second half. He fielded the ball at the 6-yard line and veered left before using his speed to cut up field to almost the 40-yard line.

He also added a pair of punt returns for 12 yards, the longest of which went for 10 yards in the second quarter.

Vikings punter Jeff Locke also had a solid night in his preseason debut as he pinned the Bengals inside their own 20-yard line on four separate occasions.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said there were positives to build on for the special teams unit going forward.

"There was a lot of good situational football tonight," Zimmer said. "I thought we punted the ball (well) inside the 20-yard line a few times … Blair hit the 51-yarder right before the half."

Locke's longest punt of the night was a booming 61-yarder that the Bengals returned for a touchdown.

Zimmer said Locke outkicked his coverage team on the play but added his teammates didn't do him any favors in trying to tackle Cincinnati's Alex Erickson.

"We kicked it too far, No. 1," Zimmer said. "We don't want to kick it 65 yards, so it wasn't a good punt. I know everybody thinks it's a great punt, but it wasn't.

"And then we missed a bunch of tackles," he added. "The first guy got close to being hit in the back, then we missed a bunch of tackles."

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