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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Floyd and Kalil both questionable but hoping to play

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 21st at 2:17pm 283515851

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is officially listed on the injury report as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Packers even though Floyd says his injured knee “feels good” today.

Floyd banged knees with a teammate in practice Wednesday. An MRI showed that there was no major damage. But Floyd was unable to practice yesterday or today.

He was in good spirits in the locker room, though, and shared a good laugh with reporters when I asked him about the crutches that had been leaning up against his locker stall the past two days.

Floyd glanced back at them and said unconvincingly, “No, they’re not my crutches.”

“Yeah, right,” said a couple of reporters while the rest of us chuckled.

“Somebody must have left them there,” Floyd said with a grin before joining in the laughter.

Floyd indicated that he would like to play but said that the decision will be up to head coach Mike Zimmer and the team’s medical staff.

“It’s all in Coach’s hands,” he said. “I go as he go.”

As for left tackle Matt Kalil, who missed practice today, Zimmer said that he is dealing with a “minor aggravation.” Zimmer would not say where, but it was listed as a knee injury on the injury report. Kalil, of course, had minor knee surgery in the offseason. He is listed as questionable for Sunday, but on his way out of the locker room he said he expects to play.

Running back Matt Asiata has been ruled out with a concussion.

Wide receivers Greg Jennings (rib) and Jarius Wright (hamstring) are both questionable for Sunday.

Running back Jerick McKinnon (lower back), outside linebacker Anthony Barr (knee), offensive tackle Mike Harris (ankle), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle), defensive Everson Griffen (neck), tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin) are among those officially listed as probable to take on the Packers.

Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was excused from practice today for personal reasons.

Goodell will not hear Peterson's appeal next month

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 21st at 3:43pm 283514061

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will not hear running back Adrian Peterson’s appeal on Dec. 2. Instead, he has appointed Harold Henderson for the appeal, though it might not make a difference.

“Under Article 46 (Commissioner Discipline), appeals of discipline for off-field conduct are heard and decided by the commissioner or his designee,” a league spokesman said of Henderson’s appointment. “Harold Henderson has been designated as the hearing officer for this appeal. Harold has served for many years as a hearing officer for Article 46 discipline.”

And Henderson, who in the past served as NFL Executive Vice President for Labor Relations and Chairman of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee, has often sided with the league.

The latest example of this was earlier this year when he upheld the league’s 10-game ban of Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon after his latest violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

The NFL Players Association reacted to Henderson’s appointment by saying a longtime NFL executive could not be neutral.  The NFL  responded by defending Henderson, saying he has heard 87 appeals under the CBA since 2008 and that language in every CBA since 1993 has stated the appeals of discipline for off-field conduct are heard and decided by the commissioner or his designee.

Ben Tate preparing to contribute as needed Sunday

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated November 21st at 1:55pm 283513901

Vikings running back Ben Tate participated in his second practice in purple on Friday, and head coach Mike Zimmer said he’s catching on quickly to the offense. He’s

“He’s got some explosiveness hitting the hole and obviously he’s a big-bodied guy,” Zimmer said. “He’s done a good job with protection so far. So we’ll see how it goes.”

The Vikings might have to rely on Tate against the Packers with running back Matt Asiata likely out with a concussion. He’ll only have three days to become acclimated with the playbook, and his teammates, if the Vikings do activate him on Sunday.

“I’ve never been in this type of situation before,” Tate said.  “So just try to interact with everybody as much as I can and get to know everybody as much as I can so I can get comfortable and they can get comfortable with me faster.”

Tate isn’t sure how much his comfort with his other teammates will help his play if he serves as rookie running back Jerrick McKinnon’s backup, with Joe Banyard as another option, but he’s mainly concerned with understanding his assignments when the Vikings need him in the backfield.

“I’ve got to all focus on football and let everything else happen,” said Tate, dealing with the hectic off-the-field ramifications of switching teams during the middle of the season. “Whatever I got to do outside of that is secondary. The first thing is making sure I understand my plays and just coming out here ready to go, full speed, and being ready to help in any aspect needed.”

Zimmer encouraged Sunday's special-teams trickery

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 21st at 11:53am 283500891

Last Sunday, the Vikings ran their first fake punt in nearly a decade. It paid off with backup safety Andrew Sendejo, the right wing in the punt formation, running 48 yards before tackling himself at the Bears’ 7-yard line. The well-executed fake set up a Teddy Bridgewater touchdown pass.

Yesterday, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer explained why the play worked — and why it had been so long since the Vikings ran a fake punt.

Priefer, who is in his fourth season with the Vikings, said that head coach Mike Zimmer is more aggressive than this predecessor, Leslie Frazier, when it comes to trickery on special teams.

Back in the spring, as Zimmer was just settling in, he asked Priefer and his assistant, Ryan Ficken, to come up with some clever plays to exploit any weaknesses they would see on special teams.

“We’ve been more creative and Ryan Ficken, my assistant, does a great job because he’s got an offensive mind,” Priefer said. “He has an offensive background so he and I tinker with stuff and talk about things and look at what people are doing on punt return and what they’re doing on field goal block and get ideas every week.”

On the fake against the Bears, wide receiver Adam Thielen, who was lined up as the upback, caught a direct snap and handed it off to Sendejo, who ran right to left from his right wing spot. The trick play was executed to perfection. It was also designed to perfection, as Priefer kept Thielen and Sendejo in their normal spots to handle the ball to ensure the Bears weren’t tipped off.

“I think we’ve probably worked on it the past month,” Priefer said. “Wanted to run it earlier. It was just a great opportunity to run it — good time and area of the field. We have an aggressive head coach who wants to run those things and that’s great for me. It obviously turned out well for us.”

Priefer said the Vikings typically have two or three fakes in the special-teams game plan every week. And if their opponent shows the look they are hoping for, they will sometimes bust one out.

“I don’t think I have to sell [Zimmer]. Like I said, he’s been aggressive since he got here. He asked me back in the offseason about running fakes — field goal fakes, punt fakes, surprise onsides — and it has forced me to be more creative, which is good,” Priefer said. “It’s a good opportunity for me to get our guys excited about a big play like that, and obviously they were very excited to run it and succeed with it.”

No Asiata, Floyd, Kalil at Vikings practice today

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 21st at 12:13pm 283498081

Running back Matt Asiata and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd were not practicing during the open portion of practice today, and their statuses for Sunday against the Packers appears to be in doubt.

Asiata has not been cleared by the league’s concussion protocol and has not practiced at all this week. Fellow running back Jerick McKinnon, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a lower back injury, practiced today for the second straight day. Ben Tate was at practice today, too, of course.

Floyd, meanwhile, has missed two straight practices with a knee injury. He was listed as limited on Wednesday, but we have not seen him since. We have, however, seen crutches next to his locker.

Wide receivers Greg Jennings and Jarius Wright both practiced today. Jennings missed the previous two practices with a rib injury. Wright sat out only Wednesday with a hamstring injury.

There was one more absentee today, and it was a new one: left tackle Matt Kalil. He was at practice Wednesday and Thursday and was not listed on the injury report. But no sign of him this morning.


Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Phoenix 2 1st Qtr 8:15
Philadelphia 6
Orlando 9 1st Qtr 7:02
Charlotte 11
Detroit 6:30 PM
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
Boston 7:00 PM
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
San Antonio 7:00 PM
LA Lakers 7:30 PM
New Orleans 8:00 PM
Chicago 9:30 PM
Utah 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Rangers 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
NY Islanders 0 1st Prd 13:35
Pittsburgh 1
Boston 0 1st Prd 11:07
Columbus 0
New Jersey 8:30 PM
Texas A&M 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 50
Drexel 70
Clemson 70 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Dayton 64 FINAL
Connecticut 75
Akron 51 FINAL
Miami-Florida 79
Seton Hall 68 FINAL
Nevada 60
Valparaiso 59 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 46
UNC Greensboro 79 FINAL
Longwood 81
Syracuse 66 FINAL
Iowa 63
Central Conn St 49 FINAL
Towson 58
Boston College 64 2nd Half 0:11
West Virginia 69
Ill-Chicago 58 FINAL
Yale 70
Alcorn State 56 2nd Half 4:49
Hampton 68
LSU 23 1st Half 7:31
Old Dominion 17
Prairie View 8 1st Half 14:40
Baylor 8
Montana State 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
Maine 9 1st Half 11:33
Central Mich 11
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Wofford 9 1st Half 11:20
Fairfield 4
Troy 16 1st Half 11:44
Georgia 25
IUPU-Ft Wayne 11 1st Half 12:06
Georgia Tech 15
Stony Brook 6 1st Half 14:07
Hofstra 9
Boston Univ 7 1st Half 14:18
Kentucky 12
Loyola-Chicago 2 1st Half 13:02
Michigan State 15
Toledo 17 1st Half 11:25
Oregon 17
Lehigh 11 1st Half 15:00
Rider 9
Charlotte 8 1st Half 13:44
South Carolina 11
UNLV 2 1st Half 16:15
Stanford 14
George Washington 10 1st Half 11:23
Virginia 9
Hiwassee 11 1st Half 11:44
Western Carolina 6
Texas 6:30 PM
Florida Memorial 6:30 PM
Southern Ill 6:30 PM
Kent State
Bethune-Cookman 6:30 PM
New Mexico 6:35 PM
George Mason
Delaware State 7:00 PM
ULM 7:00 PM
Austin Peay 7:00 PM
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Jarvis Christian 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Milwaukee 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Kennesaw St 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
North Dakota 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Iona 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
Louisiana 8:00 PM
Georgia State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Penn State 8:00 PM
Marshall 8:00 PM
Oral Roberts 8:00 PM
Oregon State
UC Riverside 8:00 PM
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Washington St
Illinois State 8:00 PM
Weber State
Florida A&M 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Sam Houston St 8:00 PM
South Dakota
Temple 8:30 PM
Presbyterian 9:00 PM
American Univ
Delaware 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Washington 9:00 PM
Kansas State 9:30 PM
Long Beach State
Pittsburgh 10:59 PM
(12) Kansas State 26 FINAL
West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
(25) Duke 20
Arkansas State 27 FINAL
Texas State 45
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
Air Force 8:30 PM
San Diego St
San Jose St 8:30 PM
Utah State
Char Southern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11/22/14 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Kansas 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(23) Oklahoma
Indiana 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(14) Eastern Ky 11/22/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech 11/22/14 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 11/22/14 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich
New Mexico 11/22/14 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Tulsa 11/22/14 2:00 PM
(15) Arizona 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 11/22/14 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Louisville 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Syracuse 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Boston College 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Tulane 11/22/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 11/22/14 3:00 PM
Western Carolina 11/22/14 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 11/22/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 11/22/14 3:00 PM
Colorado 11/22/14 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 11/22/14 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 11/22/14 6:30 PM
Oklahoma State 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 11/22/14 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 11/22/14 7:00 PM
Boise State 11/22/14 9:15 PM
Oregon State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
Fresno State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
UNLV 11/22/14 10:00 PM
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
(21) Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(19) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(15) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(11) UCLA
(22) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
BYU 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(20) Utah 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Oregon State
Kentucky 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(24) USC
So Carolina 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Florida 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(1) Florida State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(25) Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
TBA 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Delaware 60 FINAL
East Carolina 89
Wiley 65 FINAL
Sam Houston St 48
SE Louisiana 78 FINAL
Troy 80
St Francis-NY 63 FINAL
North Dakota 70
Eastern Kentucky 56 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Chattanooga 53 FINAL
(3) Notre Dame 88
UT Martin 27 2nd Half 15:22
Dayton 54
William & Mary 35 2nd Half 11:59
NC A&T 38
LSU-Alexandria 0 Cancelled
Nicholls 0
Eastern Illinois 34 2nd Half 16:22
Florida State 56
Marquette 42 2nd Half 14:43
Wake Forest 58
Columbia College 18 1st Half 5:10
SC State 36
Rider 26 2nd Half
Towson 25
Jackson State 6:00 PM
High Point 8 1st Half 14:30
NC State 15
Cleveland State 0 1st Half 16:51
Florida Atlantic 10
Alabama A&M 14 1st Half 12:18
Samford 9
Morehead St 6 1st Half 13:48
Indiana 17
Lehigh 8 1st Half 14:20
Alabama 7 1st Half 14:45
Kansas 6
Canisius 2 1st Half 16:38
Bryant 4
San Diego State 10 1st Half 10:00
Furman 8
East Tenn St 13 1st Half 12:22
St Francis-PA 10
Evansville 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Winthrop 7 1st Half 12:13
(4) Tennessee 21
Mount St Marys 7 1st Half 15:09
Campbell 12
Elon 5 1st Half 16:37
Charlotte 6
Hofstra 6 1st Half 14:58
Fordham 10
Columbia 5 1st Half 13:20
Stony Brook 7
USC 6:30 PM
Long Beach St
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
SE Missouri St
Massachusetts 7:00 PM
North Texas
Kent State 7:00 PM
Hampton 7:00 PM
Kansas State
Bradley 7:00 PM
Houston 7:00 PM
North Florida 7:00 PM
Arizona 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
ULM 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Tulsa 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Graceland 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Pepperdine 7:30 PM
(19) Iowa
Temple 7:30 PM
Denver 8:00 PM
(24) Gonzaga 8:00 PM
Montana State
Boise State 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Missouri 8:30 PM
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Montana 9:00 PM
Portland 9:00 PM
Villanova 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Seattle 10:30 PM
Washington St
(14) California 10:59 PM


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