Devin Hester was personally offended Sunday when the Vikings returned the opening kickoff 105 yards to upstage him in front of his adoring home fans.
"It pissed me off to have someone take one out (of the end zone) and take one to the house. Oh, it pissed me off," Hester said after the Bears edged the Vikings 31-30.
After Cordarrelle Patterson tied a Vikings record with a 105-yard kickoff return, Hester returned Blair Walsh's ensuing kickoff 76 yards.
"Before the kickoff, I just said, 'I don't care how deep this guy kicks it, I am bringing it out,'" Hester said. "And that's the mentality I told my (special teams teammates) about. If you get punched in the mouth like that, we're not going to just fold down and back down. If you kick it 9 (yards) deep, we're coming out. So don't expect me to take a knee."
Hester broke his own franchise record for single-game kickoff return yards with 249. His previous mark was 225, set Dec. 11, 2006, at St. Louis.
"All I can say is that Hester is amazing," said Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, whose 16-yard touchdown catch decided the game with 10 seconds remaining. "Anytime he touches the ball, I say, 'OK, what's going to happen?' He put us in great field position the whole day. They did a great job blocking. Sometimes when he gets the ball, I am a spectator. I am cheering, I'm jumping. It's just fun to watch him back there.
"We always joke with him that, 'You've got to make your money this week. You're just returning kicks.' He earned his check today."
Hester said he is pleased he has relinquished his duties as a wide receiver this season to concentrate solely on returning kicks and punts.
"My legs are a lot fresher," he said. "Even during the week, I'm saving my legs. Not a lot of running in practice. That is a key factor."
Hester's 76-yard kickoff return set up the Bears offense to quickly retaliate with a five-play, 32-yard scoring drive, capped by a 1-yard pass from Jay Cutler to Bennett.
"That was huge," Cutler said of Hester's long return. "He was there all day long. He was averaging 50 yards a kickoff return. It's hard to win the game with four turnovers. ... You can't do it without great special teams play and great defense."
Patterson's day wasn't too shabby, either. The rookie from Tennessee averaged 49.7 yards on three returns. His 105-yarder tied the club mark set by Percy Harvin last year.
"I was coming into the game and thinking about (Hester)," Patterson said. "Every time he touched the ball, it motivated me."
Hester also had an 80-yard kickoff return in the second quarter. He averaged 49.8 yards on five returns.
"(Hester) was a big factor in the game, not only when he had his hands on the ball, but he was also a factor in the game when they didn't want to kick to him (on punts) because we had field position. I thought that was awesome," coach Marc Trestman said.
"We knew we were due to have a good game on the returns," Hester said. "On special teams we felt like we came out and played — besides the first play. ... (Trestman) said before we ever broke the locker room that we might get punched the first play of the game, but it's how good we can bounce back. That's what we did."