Devin Hester will be roaming the Twin Cities on Sunday. The Vikings simply hope he doesn't find his way to the end zone.
Vikings fans remember Hester from his dynamic days with the Chicago Bears. But the former NFC North foe is now making plays for the Atlanta Falcons. He scored on an end-around and on a punt return in Atlanta's 56-point outburst against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. The punt return was his NFL record-setting 20th return touchdown, breaking the mark previously held by the great Deion Sanders.
Hester's big day last week earned him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week – the 14th time he's won the award. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was also named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
"Great challenge ahead of us this weekend with the best returner that's ever played this game," Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said of facing Hester, via Vikings.com. "Unfortunately he hasn't skipped a beat. Watching him on tape he still has the great vision, that great explosion, the great speed.
"We have a great challenge, our work cut out for us."
Of Hester's 20 career return scores, four of them have come against the Vikings. Here's a look at his nine career touchdowns against Minnesota – the most he has against any team, according to Pro Football Reference.
- Dec. 3, 2006: 45-yard punt return
- Oct. 14, 2007: 89-yard punt return
- Oct. 14, 2007: 81-yard reception
- Nov. 30, 2008: 65-yard reception
- Nov. 14, 2010: 19-yard reception
- Dec. 20, 2010: 14-yard reception
- Dec. 20, 2010: 64-yard punt return
- Oct. 16, 2011: 48-yard reception
- Oct. 16, 2011: 98-yard kickoff return
The simple math tells us that the average distance of a Hester touchdown against the Vikings is 58 yards. Scary. Very scary.
And for an oh by the way moment, Hester already has broken the seal at TCF Bank Stadium.
For your own enjoyment, check out all 20 of Hester's career return touchdowns.