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.


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Suspended Vikings receiver Simpson in more trouble with law

Posted by: Christopher Miller Updated September 18th at 11:55am 275615551

Jerome Simpson, already under a three-game NFL suspension for a DUI arrest last year, is in more trouble.

The Vikings receiver was cited July 7 on charges of marijuana possession, open bottle and violating a limited drivers license, according to Hennepin County Court records.

He has a Nov. 3 court appearance set.

ESPN was first to report the news.

The team has not issued a comment. Calls to Simpson’s attorney were not immediately returned.

Simpson is serving a three-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, stemming from a drunken-driving arrest last season.

Simpson was arrested Nov. 9 but avoided jail time in January after pleading guilty to careless driving and third-degree drunken driving. Simpson was placed on a one-year probation and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service.

This is Simpson’s second suspension from the NFL. He previously was suspended for three games when he first signed with the Vikings in 2012 related to a drug arrest in September 2011 while he was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Vikings re-signed Simpson to a one-year deal this past offseason, knowing he faced an NFL suspension in his second legal case.

His suspension was set to end following Sunday's game at New Orleans.

Vikings 4 Downs: Cassel, running backs, Simpson, PSA to conspiracy theorists

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 18th at 10:11am 275601451

If Cassel has another dud performance like he did last week, that support won’t last long. Inconsistency has been an issue throughout Cassel’s career where he’ll single-handedly lose a game for a team. We saw that last season against the Panthers and Bengals. In eight starts with the Vikings, Cassel has three games with multiple interceptions. He has 19 career games where he’s thrown multiple interceptions.

Can he bounce back? Yes he can, especially against this Saints defense that’s allowed the second most points per game (31.5) and third most yards per game (446) through two games. All this performance did was remind fans that Cassel likely won’t start the entire season, and we’ve inched closer to the start of the Teddy Bridgewater era.

At this point, they have to be. If the Vikings sign a running back, it’ll take weeks to learn the offense and actually become effective in a game. The most intriguing names are LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk, but the Vikings already have a shifty back in rookie Jerick McKinnon.

Again, Matt Asiata did improve this offseason. That won’t translate to the point where Asiata can carry Adrian Peterson’s load. It’ll take all three, including Joe Banyard, to replace Peterson. Even then, and even if the Vikings decide to sign another running back, it still won’t fill Peterson’s massive shoes.

A team never wants to go into a game with a roster spot open, so I’d expect the Vikings to fill that spot by Saturday. It’ll likely be a promotion from the practice squad, which fullback Zach Line is probably the favorite among the 10 players on the practice squad. He was waived so the Vikings could promote Banyard to the active roster as a result of Peterson’s deactivation. Line is back on the team after he signed to the practice squad. If they thought Line was worthy of a 53-man roster spot after preseason, then they’d probably feel the same way two weeks into the season.

As for when Jerome Simpson returns in Week 4, wide receiver Rodney Smith is likely the odd man out next week. He’ll probably sign with the practice squad, however. There will be an open spot if the Vikings promote Line, or someone else on the practice squad, this week. It’s just hard to see the Vikings keep six wide receivers on their roster given they hardly spread four wide receivers under offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

Enough with the conspiracy theories. There’s no conspiracy here, just accept it was a mere coincidence those two reports occurred in the same offseason. Will Peterson remain with the Vikings? I don’t know. If he’s released, will he go to the Cowboys? I don’t know. But I do know the conspiracy theory tweets are the dumbest thing to come out of this entire Peterson situation. Enough already.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Peterson's Vikings future, Greenway's broken hand and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 18th at 8:31am 275582241

Every weekday, our Vikings reporters walk you through what’s happening with the team that day.

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— Will RB Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?

— Has Peterson hastened his departure with his legal issues?

— The Vikings say they put Peterson on the exempt list to “get things right.”

— The Vikings must deal with a big distraction as they prepare for the Saints.

— OLB Chad Greenway missed practice with a broken hand.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— The Saints are preparing for a less explosive Vikings offense without Peterson.

— Some Saints defenders are disappointed they won’t get to play Peterson.

— QB Drew Brees says that not all NFL players are “brutes.”

— Saints RB Mark Ingram had surgery on his broken hand.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

The coordinators — including Mike Priefer, who is back with the team — will speak with reporters at 11 a.m. The locker room will be open then, too. The Vikings will begin practice at 12:50 p.m.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Since 2007, Peterson’s first season in the NFL, the Vikings have rushed for 16,104 yards, more than any other team. The team’s 4.8 yards-per-carry average also ranks first in the league.

Vikings injury report: Greenway, Floyd, Loadholt out

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 17th at 3:42pm 275504501

Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway walked off Wednesday’s practice wearing a splint around his broken left hand. He did not participate in practice, nor speak too much specifically about the severity of the injury that occurred during Sunday’s 30-7 loss against the Patriots.

“It just started to really bother me swelling up and something happened,” Greenway said.

Along with Greenway, who was listed with a hand and rib injury, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) and offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle) did not participate in practice. Linebacker Brandon Watts (knee) returned for his first practice since preseason, though he was limited. Tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (groin) and wide receiver Rodney Smith (hamstring) were all also limited.

For the Saints, safety Marcus Ball (hamstring), center Jonathan Goodwin (elbow), running back Mark Ingram (hand) and fullback Erik Lorig (ankle) did not participate in practice. Linebacker Curtis Lofton (shoulder) was limited.

Captain Munnerlyn thinks Adrian Peterson treatment unfair

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 17th at 12:54pm 275476521

Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn expressed his disapproval with the team’s decision to place running back Adrian Peterson on the commissioner’s exempt list at 12:47 a.m. on Wednesday. Munnerlyn, who grew up in Mobile, Ala., didn’t see anything wrong with Peterson using a switch to discipline his 4-year-old son.

“Growing up my mom, she disciplined me the same way,” Munnerlyn said. “And I’d say it got me to this point now. I’m in the NFL, and I know how to behave. I really didn’t see the big deal. People are blowing it out of proportion with all this, and all that. At the end of the day, we came here to win a football game. I think for Adrian, the best thing for him to do is play football to let out some frustration and be himself.”

Peterson, who grew up in Palestine, Texas, was charged one count of injury to a child in Montgomery County (Texas) last weekend as a result of the punishment. Munnerlyn’s comments echoed those of fullback Jerome Felton, who was raised in Madisonville, Tenn., about how they felt Peterson’s actions was an acceptable form of discipline growing up in the South.

“If Adrian wasn’t in the limelight, I don’t think this would be coming up at all because you raise your kids how you raise your kids,” Munnerlyn said. “They’re your kids.”

When asked if he looked at the alleged photos after Peterson “whooped” the child with a switch, Munnerlyn said, “No I really didn’t look into it. Growing up, that was nothing. My mom, she always welted me up and things like that. In my culture, that’s how I was raised; and my mom, that’s how she raised her kids.”

Peterson was issued an arrest warrant on Friday, which prompted the team to deactivate him for the Vikings’ 30-7 loss to the Patriots at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday. He was booked and released on bail Saturday morning in Montgomery County. The Vikings decided to reinstate Peterson on Monday but reversed course after backlash from the public and their sponsors over the last two days.

“He hasn’t been convicted of nothing,” Munnerlyn said. “All these allegations of this, and that, the pictures out, but he hasn’t been convicted of nothing. In crimes, you’re innocent until you’re convicted guilty. I don’t think he’s guilty of nothing yet. I really think he should be able to play football. I really don’t get it. At the end of the day, I know they came up with the decision, but I’m just going to stick to playing football and doing what I know.”

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