Access Vikings

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.


270204211

Three things to watch during Vikings-Cardinals

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated August 16th at 4:27pm 271519211

There was plenty to like from the Vikings’ top units in their 10-6 preseason win over the Oakland Raiders eight days ago. The Vikings scored on their first two drives and the defense produced a pair of three-and-outs on the Raiders’ first two drives. Not too shabby.

There were some negatives, though, when it came to both the first-stringers and the backups who played more than three quarters of the game. And some important questions remain unanswered.

The hope is that the Vikings will provide a little more clarity tonight against the Arizona Cardinals, especially when it comes to the all-important quarterback position.

Here are three things I will be watching for at TCF Bank Stadium tonight:

1. HOW WILL CHRIS CROCKER DO IN HIS DEBUT? Head coach Mike Zimmer said the other day that he wants to get a good look at four safeties tonight: Chris Crocker, Kurt Coleman, Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo. The only one of those four who played against the Raiders was Coleman, and he picked off a pass and played pretty well. Sanford and Sendejo missed the game due to injuries but are expected to play tonight. And Crocker was new to the team, so he did not play. Since last Friday, though, Crocker has seen a lot of time with the first team next to Harrison Smith. I’m curious to see how the 34-year-old plays tonight. Will he make a claim for the position?

2. WILL THE OFFENSIVE LINE PROTECT BETTER? The starting offensive line fared well when it came to run blocking. They got good push at the goal-line on Matt Asiata’s 1-yard touchdown run and gave rookie Jerick McKinnon some room to run before exiting the game. The top group did, however, allow a pair of sacks to the Raiders. And the team as a whole allowed six sacks throughout the game. Afterwards, Zimmer said that two of his biggest critiques were the pass protection and the pass rush, and he feels the Cardinals will be a good test for his offensive line. That group must pass protect better this season to give whoever the Vikings’ quarterback is a fair chance.

3. CAN MATT CASSEL SEIZE THE STARTING SPOT? If the veteran quarterback doesn’t already have the starting gig locked up, it’s pretty darn close. Cassel led an efficient TD drive against the Raiders and followed it up with a mostly mistake-free week of practice. Meanwhile, his competitor, rookie Teddy Bridgewater, had an up-and-down performance in that preseason opener then threw five picks in a span of two practices in Mankato. There is nothing to worry about what it comes to Bridgewater. We’re seeing a young quarterback learn what he can and can’t do at the NFL level. But another sharp performance by Cassel and Teddy seems likely start the season on the bench.

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Team Irvin 1/25/15 7:15 PM
Team Carter
New York 71 FINAL
Charlotte 76
Detroit 72 4th Qtr 4:20
Milwaukee 99
Philadelphia 47 3rd Qtr 6:40
Memphis 68
Brooklyn 21 2nd Qtr
Utah 25
Washington 9:00 PM
Portland
Wake Forest 57 FINAL
Clemson 59
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
Drexel 53
Tulsa 66 FINAL
East Carolina 64
Oklahoma State 53 FINAL
Kansas State 63
Rutgers 51 FINAL
Penn State 79
Iowa 63 FINAL
Purdue 67
Kentucky 58 FINAL
South Carolina 43
DePaul 76 FINAL
Xavier 89
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Holy Cross 76
Bucknell 92 FINAL
Boston Univ 77
Allen (SC) 46 FINAL
Furman 82
South Dakota 50 FINAL
IUPUI 65
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Tennessee 61
Citadel 75 FINAL
Va Military 85
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Northern Ky 81
Loyola-Chicago 61 FINAL
Indiana State 72
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Air Force 68
Kent State 63 FINAL
Ball State 52
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George Washington 74
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Harvard 61
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ULM 53
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Florida A&M 50
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NC A&T 52
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SC State 63
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Vanderbilt 75
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Savannah State 68
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UC Santa Barbara 68
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Central Conn St 53
Cornell 57 FINAL
Columbia 47
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Dayton 63
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Elon 94
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Fresno State 66
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George Mason 73
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Michigan 64
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UT Martin 70
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UMKC 75
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Bradley 50
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UNLV 45
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UNC-Wilmington 45
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North Texas 52
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Oral Roberts 50
Louisiana Tech 41 2nd Half 7:45
Rice 34
Grand Canyon 55 2nd Half 8:07
TX-Pan American 59
Memphis 49 2nd Half 8:36
Tulane 41
Murray State 50 2nd Half 7:55
SIU Edwardsville 45
Lamar 58 2nd Half 7:02
Houston Baptist 66
Auburn 23 2nd Half
Alabama 25
Texas Southern 30 2nd Half
Ark-Pine Bluff 30
Southern Utah 11 1st Half 8:51
Montana 9
Utah Valley U 15 1st Half 7:22
New Mexico St 27
Sacramento St 21 1st Half 7:43
Weber State 24
Portland State 24 1st Half 7:44
Idaho State 26
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Tenn Tech 2
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Cal Poly
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Charlotte 54
Kansas State 46 FINAL
(3) Baylor 68
Louisiana 63 FINAL
Georgia State 56
Sacred Heart 67 FINAL
Bryant 71
Wagner 61 FINAL
Central Conn St 77
Robert Morris 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
Presbyterian 51 FINAL
Winthrop 54
Akron 74 FINAL
Central Michigan 72
Davidson 47 FINAL
Duquesne 83
Dayton 75 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 56
George Washington 67 FINAL
La Salle 48
USC Upstate 44 FINAL
Stetson 67
Long Island 79 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 75
MD-Eastern Shore 65 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 75
Coppin State 58 FINAL
NC Central 59
Wofford 47 FINAL
East Tenn St 69
UNC Greensboro 49 FINAL
Western Carolina 70
Campbell 40 FINAL
Liberty 64
Charleston Southern 71 FINAL
Longwood 79
McNeese State 54 FINAL
Northwestern St 75
Coastal Carolina 61 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
High Point 58 FINAL
Radford 61
UAB 46 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
Penn 59 FINAL
NJIT 29
Austin Peay 66 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 63
West Virginia 59 FINAL
Kansas 65
Miami-Ohio 53 FINAL
Bowling Green 66
Northern Ill 43 FINAL
Buffalo 47
Eastern Michigan 75 FINAL
Toledo 61
Western Mich 78 FINAL
Kent State 55
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Siena 59
Boston U 56 FINAL
Bucknell 72
Colgate 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 45
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Saint Josephs 66
Cleveland State 65 FINAL
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Jacksonville 59
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North Florida 62
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TCU 71 FINAL
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Pepperdine 54
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IUPU-Ft Wayne 75
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Chattanooga 67
Nebraska Omaha 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 74
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(24) Western Ky 63 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 64
Houston 49 FINAL
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Morehead St 64 FINAL
Jacksonville St 72
Prairie View 78 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Appalachian St 58 FINAL
Texas State 67
Arkansas State 82 FINAL
Troy 76
American Univ 60 FINAL
Army 68
Georgia Southern 66 FINAL
ULM 72
Illinois-Chicago 63 FINAL
Milwaukee 64
Youngstown St 82 FINAL
Oakland 85
Eastern Washington 82 FINAL
North Dakota 96
Texas Tech 64 FINAL
Oklahoma 70
San Diego 50 FINAL
BYU 54
Air Force 54 FINAL
Boise State 81
Portland 53 FINAL
St Marys-CA 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Wyoming 54 FINAL
New Mexico 60
UNLV 72 FINAL
Utah State 85
Hampton 55 FINAL
Savannah State 61
Marshall 76 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 71
Norfolk State 75 FINAL
SC State 79
Boston College 70 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
Chicago State 58 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 83
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Alabama State 54
Jackson State 64 FINAL
Grambling 55
TX-Arlington 38 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 66
Fordham 50 FINAL
Saint Louis 54
Idaho 52 FINAL
Northern Colorado 70
Delaware State 16 2nd Half
NC A&T 37
Cornell 44 FINAL
Columbia 42
Ohio U 60 FINAL
Ball State 53
Gonzaga 73 FINAL
Pacific 63
San Francisco 74 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 65
St Francis-PA 64 FINAL
Mount St Marys 74
Colorado State 49 FINAL
San Diego State 36
Hawaii 85 FINAL
Cal-Irvine 50
Lamar 80 FINAL
Houston Baptist 64
TX A&M-CC 58 FINAL
New Orleans 46
Weber State 65 FINAL
Sacramento St 108
FIU 63 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 77
North Texas 55 FINAL
Southern Miss 67
Southern U 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
(6) Notre Dame 74 FINAL
Clemson 36
Murray State 52 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 78
SE Missouri St 55 FINAL
UT Martin 96
New Mexico St 68 FINAL
Utah Valley U 58
No Dakota State 66 FINAL
Western Ill 88
Harvard 75 FINAL
Dartmouth 69
Texas Southern 74 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 45
Belmont 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 62
Eastern Kentucky 97 FINAL
Tenn Tech 93
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IUPUI 68
Fresno State 62 FINAL
Nevada 44
CS-Northridge 67 FINAL
Long Beach St 52
Rice 71 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 88
UMKC 46 FINAL
Seattle 60
Saint Peters 51 FINAL
Marist 77
Kennesaw St 47 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 61
Cal Poly 58 2nd Half 4:16
UC-Riverside 69
Montana State 36 2nd Half
Northern Ariz 36
UC Santa Barbara 10 1st Half 7:25
Cal State Fullerton 14
Montana 25 1st Half 6:29
Southern Utah 8
Idaho State 9:00 PM
Portland State
TX-Pan American 9:00 PM
Grand Canyon

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