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.


Robinson listed as questionable, but is optimistic

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated October 24th at 2:29pm 280338122

Cornerback Josh Robinson, a valuable reserve, is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers after leaving yesterday’s practice with an ankle injury then sitting out today’s practice.

The injury happened during individual drills at the start of yesterday’s practice. Robinson wasn’t going full speed when he rolled his ankle, which he hopes will help with the recovery process. He said his ankle injury was doing better today and was optimistic about his chances of playing.

“It got rolled up a little bit yesterday in individuals but thank God it’s not too bad,” Robinson said.

Still, that he basically missed the last two practices means he is legitimately questionable to play.

Guard Vlad Ducasse (knee) and safety Antone Exum (ankle) are also listed as questionable. Linebacker Gerald Hodges (hammy) is doubtful despite limited practices the past two days.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph (sports hernia surgery) has been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

The rest of the Vikings on the injury report, including center John Sullivan, are all probable.

Quarterback Josh McCown, wide receiver Vincent Jackson, left tackle Anthony Collins and safety Dashon Goldson were among those officially listed as questionable for the Buccaneers.

Could a change be coming at right guard?

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated October 24th at 2:03pm 280335522

The Vikings could be considering a switch at right guard but certainly aren’t being up front about it.

Joe Berger, who filled in for injured center John Sullivan in last week’s loss to the Bills, confirmed what we have seen in practice this week: that Berger has gotten some reps with the first team. And it’s not just because Vlad Ducasse is dealing with a knee injury. He practiced yesterday and today.

But asked what his role might be Sunday against the Buccaneers, the veteran lineman played coy.

“I may or may not know that,” said Berger, who has been a member of the Vikings since signing as a free agent back in 2011. “If you guys don’t know that, I’m going to let the coach tell you guys that.”

Head coach Mike Zimmer wasn’t giving anything up either. Asked if we could see Berger start at some point, Zimmer, responded, “I don’t know. We’ll see. Vlad practiced today, so we’ll see.” That wasn’t exactly an endorsement for Ducasse, who has started at right guard since Week 4.

Pressed for praise, Zimmer obliged with Berger, the backup at all three interior spots.

“He’s a smart guy,” Zimmer said after practice. “He’s been doing everything that he’s supposed to do. He’s been able to play multiple positions and he [brings] good chemistry in the room.”

Berger also feels he has good chemistry with his fellow linemen and that it would be advantageous.

“I would hope so,” he said. “I have been with these guys, with Sully and Charlie [Johnson] and Phil [Loadholt]. I haven’t played with them a whole lot, but I’ve been in the room with them for four years. I would like to think that with that time we would understand each other a little bit.”

As Berger said that, Sullivan, who was sitting at the next locker over, emphatically nodded his head.

Robinson misses practice, Sunday status is in doubt

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated October 24th at 11:49am 280319222

Cornerback Josh Robinson was not spotted out at practice during the portion of today’s practice open to media, and one would think his status for Sunday’s game in Tampa Bay in serious doubt.

Robinson left yesterday’s practice early after injuring his ankle during individual drills and was not able to go today. We will talk to head coach Mike Zimmer in a little bit, any absence on a Friday is not a good sign for Sunday. If Robinson is indeed out, rookie Jabari Price would likely replace him.

Center John Sullivan and right guard Vlad Ducasse were both practicing again. But while we were watching the practice, it was Joe Berger who was lining up next to Sullivan with the first-team unit.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph was the only other Vikings player who did not practice today. He was out there again doing conditioning work, but he won’t play this weekend against the Buccaneers.

Behind Enemy Lines: free agent duds, Glennon at QB and more with beat writer Greg Auman

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated October 24th at 10:19am 280308452

With a new week brings another edition of “Behind Enemy Lines.” For the Vikings’ Week 8 road trip against the Bucs, we spoke to beat writer Greg Auman, who covers the team for the Tampa Bay Times. Here are five questions we asked Auman about Sunday’s game.

1. The Bucs spent so much money in free agency but have just one win. What hasn’t gone right?

GA: Those free agents are a good start to what hasn’t gone right. Michael Johnson hasn’t gotten pressure at defensive end, Anthony Collins hasn’t been the reliable answer they needed him to be at left tackle. Evan Dietrich-Smith and Logan Mankins haven’t been able to get the offensive line together on the same page to be an effective run-blocking unit. [Cornerback] Alterraun Verner’s gotten beaten for three touchdowns, and [quarterback] Josh McCown, of course, struggled badly before a thumb injury turned things over to Mike Glennon. To find a success story in the free agents, you have to go to a league-minimum guy like Louis Murphy, who actually got cut here before coming back and scoring two touchdowns.

Beyond that, the defense hasn’t gotten consistent pressure on opposing QBs, who have been able to find the holes in Tampa Bay’s coverage. No consistent running game, and terrible starts on offense — just 4.5 points per game in the first half.

2. Who can the Vikings expect at quarterback?

GA: It’ll be Mike Glennon. He’s played much better than Josh McCown did in the first three games — let team to wild last-minute win at Pittsburgh and played well against Saints. McCown is just getting back to throwing a football this week — he might be able to move ahead of Mike Kafka as the backup, but I’d think it’s still Glennon at quarterback this week for sure.

3. Where has the rookie version of Doug Martin gone?

GA: The current version won’t be confused with 2012 Doug Martin, who had such success both running and catching the ball. He’s back physically from the shoulder injury that cost him 10 games last year, but he just hasn’t had any kind of burst or moves to shed that initial tackler. The line will tell you he’s been great and they haven’t opened holes for him, but Martin has to show something this week, because promising third-round rookie Charles Sims is eligible to play next week after missing the season thus far with an ankle injury. Perhaps that urgency sparks Martin, but his average per carry is among the league’s worst.

4. What has been the biggest issue with the worst defense in the NFL?

GA: Two things: a Lovie Smith defense is built around takeaways and pressure from the front four, and the Bucs haven’t had either. Part of that is injuries – [defensive tackle] Gerald McCoy’s playing with a broken hand, [defensive end] Adrian Clayborn was lost for the year and Michael Johnson’s been limited by a sprained ankle. But the secondary hasn’t been opportunistic at all — four INTs, two by LB Danny Lansanah — and more than anything, they’ve struggled to understand the intricate Tampa 2 defense that Lovie Smith brought back here. Players still look lost, six games into the season, and until they master those fundamentals, opponents will be able to find seams and exploit them.

5. What do the Bucs need to do to win?

GA: This week, it’s fairly simple: Get sacks against an offensive line that’s given up 27, and get turnovers from a young QB who has thrown five interceptions early in a promising career. They must get their offense going earlier than they have — it does no good to average 15.5 points a game in the second half if half those games are already out of hand at halftime. So if they can score early, get a lead and show something defensively, it’s a good opportunity for their first home win of the season. Lose here, they have five of their next seven on the road.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Griffen paying off, Robinson limping off, Sullivan cleared, more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated October 24th at 7:12am 280292922

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


— So far DE Everson Griffen has rewarded the Vikings for that big contract.

— CB Josh Robinson limped off the field yesterday with an ankle injury.

— C John Sullivan and G Vlad Ducasse both practiced yesterday.

— Offensive coordinator Norv Turner talked about QB Teddy Bridgewater’s growing pains.

— Former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier praised both Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin.



— Will the Buccaneers even activate QB Josh McCown against the Vikings?

— Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson says he does not want to be traded.

— Tampa Bay DT Gerald McCoy thinks the Buccaneers defense is soft.

— Things could get messy when the Buccaneers play the Vikings.


The Vikings practice at 10:50 a.m. Head coach Mike Zimmer’s press conference is at 12:30 p.m.


It’s easy to look at the 24-yard completion that OLB Chad Greenway was beaten for on fourth down Sunday and say that he struggled in coverage. But Greenway actually fared well in his return from a three-week layoff. On 45 snaps in coverage, Greenway was targeted just three times, allowing two catches for 29 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. Of course, one of those completions was the beginning of the end for the Vikings, but judge his whole body of work.


Kansas City - J. Vargas 7:07 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Buffalo 0 2nd Prd 4:56
San Jose 0
Boston 6:00 PM
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:00 PM
Chicago 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Florida 8:00 PM
Washington 9:00 PM
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 31 4th Qtr 2:55
Colorado 28
Akron 21 4th Qtr 3:50
Ball State 32
Massachusetts 35 4th Qtr 2:22
Toledo 35
Ohio U 14 4th Qtr 1:45
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 4th Qtr 4:00
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 4th Qtr 7:11
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 7 3rd Qtr
Stanford 28
Fla Atlantic 16 3rd Qtr
(23) Marshall 14
Louisiana Tech 3 3rd Qtr
Southern Miss 7
(1) Miss State 17 3rd Qtr
Kentucky 10
Georgia Tech 28 3rd Qtr
Pittsburgh 14
(22) West Virginia 14 3rd Qtr
Oklahoma State 10
Michigan 3 3rd Qtr
(8) Michigan State 14
Texas Tech 20 2nd Qtr 0:34
(10) TCU 34
Boston College 17 3rd Qtr 10:00
Wake Forest 0
Central Mich 14 3rd Qtr 14:49
Buffalo 7
Vanderbilt 0 2nd Qtr 1:07
Missouri 10
Old Dominion 23 2nd Qtr 8:19
Western Ky 35
UNLV 7 2nd Qtr 4:45
Utah State 17
Temple 0 1st Qtr 8:31
UCF 10
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Nevada 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 0 2nd Half 35:00
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 6:30 PM
New England
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 7 1:17
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM


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