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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Vikings waive two, sign nine to practice squad

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated August 31st at 2:41pm 273387071

The Vikings waived linebacker Larry Dean and offensive tackle Austin Wentworth and signed nine players to their practice squad on Sunday.

The moves involving Dean and Wentworth will make room for tight end MarQueis Gray and offensive tackle Michael Harris, who were both claimed on waivers by the Vikings.

The Vikings still have one spot open on the practice squad, which could be used on Wentworth if he clears waivers. Here’s how the practice squad looks at the moment:

RB Joe Banyard

WR Kain Colter

DT Isame Faciane

TE Chase Ford

WR Donte Foster

CB Kendall James

C Zac Kerin

OT Mike Remmers

DE Justin Trattou

Vikings claim former Gopher MarQueis Gray

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated August 31st at 1:53pm 273385191

Former Gopher MarQueis Gray was among the two waiver claims the Vikings won on Sunday.

Gray, who played quarterback for the Gophers and now serves as a tight end, was released by the Browns and announced his return to the Twin Cities on Twitter.

Along with Gray, the Vikings claimed offensive tackle Michael Harris, who was released by the Chargers, according to an NFL source. Both players have previously worked with offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who held the same position last season with the Browns and served as the Chargers’ head coach in 2012.

The Vikings must make two corresponding transactions to make room for Gray and Harris on the 53-man roster.

Ponder survives Vikings roster cuts, Crocker doesn't

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated August 30th at 7:08pm 273332411

While there were no major surprises among today’s roster cuts, the release of veteran safety Chris Crocker qualifies as a minor one. Crocker and fellow safety Kurt Coleman were both let go as the Vikings trimmed their roster from 75 players to 53 before today’s roster deadline.

Also cut were defensive tackles Fred Evans, Chase Baker and Isame Faciane; tight ends Chase Ford and Allen Reisner; running backs Joe Banyard and Dominique Williams; wide receivers Kain Colter and Donte Foster; offensive linemen Mike Remmers, Jeff Baca and Zac Kerin; defensive end Justin Trattou; linebackers Mike Zimmer and Justin Jackson; and corners Julian Posey and Kendall James.

James, a 2014 sixth-round pick, was the only member of the team’s draft class to be cut.

Among the notables who did make the team were wide receivers Adam Thielen and Rodney Smith; fullbacks Jerome Felton and Zach Line; offensive tackle Austin Wentworth; linebackers Gerald Hodges, Brandon Watts, Michael Mauti and Larry Dean; and, yes, quarterback Christian Ponder.

Rookie offensive tackle Antonio Richardson will join safety Jamarca Sanford on injured reserve.

Note that wide-out Jerome Simpson will not count against the 53-man roster while suspended.

Vikings placing safety Sanford on injured reserve

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated August 30th at 3:31pm 273307421

The Vikings will place safety Jamarca Sanford on injured reserve, according to a league source.

Sanford, a starter for the Vikings in 2012 and 2013, injured his quad in last Thursday’s preseason win over the Kansas City Chiefs and could not play two nights ago against the Tennessee Titans.

Sanford also missed most of the spring workouts because of a different injury, a pulled muscle.

Those injuries, which denied him an opportunity to impress new head coach Mike Zimmer, along with his $2.5 million salary-cap figure put Sanford’s roster spot in jeopardy heading into cut-down day.

According to Yahoo Sports, the Vikings are putting Sanford on short-term injured reserve, which is not to be confused with injured reserved with a designation to return. On short-term IR, the player is released once he is healthy. It is used for banged-up players who would have been cut otherwise.

The Vikings have until 3 p.m. CDT today to trim their roster from 75 players to 53 players.

WR Jerome Simpson's suspension upheld

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated August 29th at 12:42pm 273191381

Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson’s three-game suspension for violating the NFL substance abuse policy was upheld by the NFL.

Simpson missed practice on Aug. 18 to meet with the league in New York to appeal the suspension stemming from a drunken-driving arrest last season. The wide receiver avoided jail time in January after pleading guilty to careless driving and third-degree drunken driving following a Nov. 9 arrest. Simpson, 28, was placed on a one-year probation and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service in public schools.

It’s the second suspension for Simpson, who is entering his sixth season, and it occurs just a day before the Vikings must trim their roster down to 53 players from 75. It’s unknown how Simpson’s suspension will impact whether they plan to keep five or six receivers.

The 28-year-old previously served a three-game suspension when he first signed with the Vikings in 2012 for a drug arrest in September 2011 when he played for the Bengals.

Despite knowing of a possible suspension, the Vikings opted to re-sign Simpson to a one-year deal in the offseason. He was used as the team’s third wide receiver in the preseason and had two catches for 25 yards in the four exhibition games.

The NFL released this statement: "Jerome Simpson of the Minnesota Vikings has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the 2014 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

"Simpson will be eligible to return to the Vikings’ active roster on Monday, September 22 following the team’s September 21 game against the New Orleans Saints."

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