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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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

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Rookie Shamar Stephen gaining first team reps at defensive tackle

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated August 14th at 1:35pm 271245901

Vikings rookie defensive tackle Shamar Stephen displayed his versatility during Thursday’s practice receiving first team reps at nose tackle in Linval Joseph’s absence. He was mainly used as three-technique at Connecticut, but the seventh round pick has received work at both positions since he was drafted.

And he’s quickly getting noticed, particularly after Stephen’s performance against the Raiders on Friday.

“He did some good things,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “We played him at the three technique, we played him at the nose and for a guy who really hadn’t got a lot of reps at the three (technique) we thought he did a good job of what we were asking call-wise, technically, fundamentally, he held up pretty good in there.”

Stephen received 33 snaps with 21 against the run, per Pro Football Focus. He tied for a team-high five tackles and prompted praise from Edwards and head coach Mike Zimmer this week.

“It definitely feels good, but it also shows that I still need to work and get after it,” Stephen said.

Stephen said he felt like he’s improved in his pass rushing ability but still needs to improve in that area. It’s been an emphasis with the defensive linemen this week heading into Saturday’s game against the Cardinals.


St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 52 3rd Qtr 6:53
Miami 63
LA Clippers 90 3rd Qtr 7:01
Boston 57
Dallas 23 1st Qtr 2:24
Indiana 25
Memphis 21 2nd Qtr
San Antonio 28
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 1 3rd Prd 4:12
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 3rd Prd :42
NY Islanders 5
Florida 3 3rd Prd 2:45
Ottawa 1
Anaheim 0 1st Prd 5:56
New Jersey 0
Chicago 6:30 PM
San Jose 6:30 PM
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 0 1st Half 35:00
Real Salt Lake 0
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 7:30 PM
(2) Notre Dame


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