Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.
Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.
Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.
On the final practice in Mankato on Thursday, Vikings alumni were on hand to witness the end of another training camp at Minnesota State. Matt Blair, Jake Reed, Matthew Hatchette and Henry Thomas all stopped by to watch practice. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer gathered all the players before practice began to say a few words about the alumni as they received a round of applause from the team. Thomas even got a chance during an individual period to do some coaching of his own. He currently trains high school and college players in Houston and wants to get into coaching.
SETTING THE SCENE: You couldn’t have asked for a better day to wrap up practice. The weather, for the most part, was just right throughout camp. Mother Nature saved the best for the last practice on Thursday with temperatures in the mid-70s. The players weren’t in pads but there was still a good tempo to practice. YOUR DAILY QUARTERBACK SMORGASBOARD: Hey, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater didn’t throw an interception! Well, maybe that was due to an altered practice format. Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater faced scout teams during the majority of the 11-on-11 periods. Cassel took all the first team reps and didn’t face the first team defense until a red zone period near the end of practice. Cassel had another crisp practice as he’s expected to have a big role in Saturday’s preseason contest against the Cardinals. FLASH’S CATCH: With all the attention Bills rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins has received from some of his one-handed catches, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson had a similar, eye-popping reception during a team period. He made an outstanding, one-handed grab from Cassel against cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who was in the vicinity. The media can’t shoot 11-on-11 periods. Unless the Vikings have a clip of the catch, it’ll be hard to find a video of the play. RODNEY’S DAY: Wide receiver Rodney Smith has displayed flashes of his ability in training camp, but he has been very inconsistent. He had one of his better days though being on the receiving end of two deep receptions from Bridgewater. The second was the most impressive as Smith snagged the ball right off of cornerback Robert Steeples’ facemask en route for a touchdown. SMALL, BUT TOUGH: If you’re a defensive player and safety Jamarca Sanford is yelling your name from the sidelines, it’s usually a good thing. That was the case for cornerback Marcus Sherels, who is a very tough player despite his stature. Just as it appeared wide receiver Kamar Jorden made a reception on a slant route in 11-on-11, the 5-10 cornerback stripped it right out of Jorden’s hands before completing the catch. INJURY REPORT: Cornerback Josh Robinson (hamstring) did not participate in practice and is doubtful on Saturday against the Cardinals. Linebacker Dom DeCicco (hip) had surgery on Thursday and was not at practice. Safety Robert Blanton (hamstring), tight end Chase Ford (foot) and nose tackle Linval Joseph (leg) were still held out of practice.
|Philadelphia||12/20/14 3:30 PM|
|San Diego||12/20/14 7:25 PM|
|Minnesota||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Baltimore||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Green Bay||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|New England||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|NY Giants||12/21/14 3:05 PM|
|Buffalo||12/21/14 3:25 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/21/14 3:25 PM|
|Seattle||12/21/14 7:30 PM|
|Denver||12/22/14 7:30 PM|
|St Thomas (TX)||61||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||75|
|Cal State Fullerton||72|
|Nevada||12/20/14 10:00 AM|
|Utah State||12/20/14 1:20 PM|
|(23) Utah||12/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Western Mich||12/20/14 4:45 PM|
|South Alabama||12/20/14 8:15 PM|
|BYU||12/22/14 1:00 PM|
|Marshall||12/23/14 5:00 PM|
|Navy||12/23/14 8:30 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Central Mich||12/24/14 11:00 AM|
|Fresno State||12/24/14 7:00 PM|
|William & Mary||71||FINAL|
|West Virginia St||58||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||67|
|(19) Oklahoma St||55||FINAL|
|San Diego State||48|