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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Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Harris pumped to start, Smith back at practice and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 28th at 7:05am 284135891

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

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— OT Mike Harris is excited for the opportunity to start again.

— Banged-up S Harrison Smith returned to practice yesterday.

— Could the no-huddle help QB Teddy Bridgewater get going early?

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— The Panthers might be on to Plan C at the right tackle spot.

— CB Bené Benwikere will be back in the Panthers secondary.

— TE Greg Olsen’s resilient son helps put football in perspective.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

The Vikings will battle the elements and any tryptophan left in their systems with a 10:50 a.m. practice that is expected to be held outside. Head coach Mike Zimmer will talk after the practice.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Despite being in the same division as the Lions and same conference as the Cowboys, the Vikings haven’t played a Thanksgiving game since 2000. Twenty-five teams have played on Thanksgiving since they last did. Oh, and case you are wondering, the Vikings are 5-1 all-time on Turkey Day.

Smith (limited) one of four players upgraded on today's injury report

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 27th at 4:10pm 284089801

It was a healthier day for four Vikings who were upgraded from Wednesday’s injury report to today’s injury report.

Free safety Harrison Smith (shoulder/ankle) went from not practicing to being limited, while running back Matt Asiata (concussion), left tackle Matt Kalil (knee) and linebacker Anthony Barr (knee) went from limited to full participation.

Here’s today’s injury report:

Did not participate: TE Chase Ford (hamstring/foot), WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee), RB Jerick McKinnon (low back) and DT Sharrif Floyd (knee).

Limited participation: Smith (shoulder/ankle),

Full participation: Kalil, Asiata, Barr, TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin), WR Jarius Wright (hamstring), WR Greg Jennings (rib) and RT Mike Harris (ankle).

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Crazy league, Kalil defends Kalil, Smith sits out and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 27th at 9:21am 284072591

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

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— Despite similar records, the Vikings and Panthers are in very different spots.

— Panthers C Ryan Kalil defended his little brother, Vikings LT Matt Kalil.

— RT Phil Loadholt is disappointed that his season is over due to his injury.

— S Harrison Smith is one of five Vikings who missed yesterday’s practice.

— QB Teddy Bridgewater wants to take advantage of easy completions.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— It has been a frustrating season for Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams.

— Panthers QB Cam Newton is handling adversity better this season.

— Carolina CB Josh Norman has become one of the team’s best defenders.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

The Vikings are practicing on Thanksgiving, but there is no media access. Enjoy your turkey and football, folks. I know I will.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t like to match up cornerbacks on specific wide receivers. Instead, he keeps his outside cornerbacks on their designated sides to simplify things for his players and help disguise his coverages. But Zimmer said he might consider using CB Xavier Rhodes on imposing Panthers rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin. Considering the way the Bears took advantage of a size advantage against CB Josh Robinson two weeks ago, that uncharacteristic change would make sense.

Smith, Patterson, McKinnon, Floyd and Ford all miss practice

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 26th at 3:46pm 284011361

Here’s today’s injury report …

Did not participate: TE Chase Ford (hamstring/foot), FS Harrison Smith (shoulder/ankle), WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee), RB Jerick McKinnon (low back) and DT Sharrif Floyd (knee).

Limited participation: RB Matt Asiata (concussion), LT Matt Kalil (knee) and LB Anthony Barr (knee).

Full participation: TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin), WR Jarius Wright (hamstring), WR Greg Jennings (rib) and RT Mike Harrison (ankle).

Carolina's Ryan Kalil defends his 'little' brother; has advice for how to handle hecklers

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 26th at 4:23pm 284003151

The Kalil family obviously isn’t quite as appalled as some that Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil flipped the hat off a heckling fan after Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Packers.

On Monday, Matt Kalil himself said it “wasn’t a big deal.” Today, Kalil’s older brother, Ryan, the starting center for the Carolina Panthers, joked about the incident that became a popular video on TMZ.

“I was a little disappointed,” said Ryan, whose Panthers play the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday. “I would have actually liked him to go with the, ‘You spilled something on your shirt’ and then throw the finger up into [the fan's] chin. I think that would have been a funnier move.”

Ryan said he was on the phone with his father, Frank, at about the same time news broke that Matt had confronted a fan outside TCF Bank Stadium. Frank, a former center, was drafted by the Bills in 1982 before playing in the USFL.

“I asked my dad if he heard what happened,” Ryan said. “He said, ‘Yeah, I heard the whole thing. It was an ugly deal.’ He said the guy called Matt over and said he was big fan. Asked for his autograph. [Matt] went over there and then the fan continued to start saying some pretty ugly stuff to him. So I think my brother just kind of reacted.

“It’s probably my fault for picking on him when he was little. Flipping his hat off, I think, was the go-to move for me.”

On a more serious note, Ryan said Matt’s struggles and Sunday’s incident are learning experiences.

“Everybody goes through it,” he said. “You try to remind yourself that that’s part of it and you got to fight through it. That’s part of the profession. That part isn’t going to go away and the quicker you can realize that, the more you can be mentally tough and drown all that out the better off you’ll be.

“When you’re not winning, that’s the hardest thing. Everything is worse when you’re not winning. I know that frustration personally. Nobody is immune to hecklers. We get them daily here, too. We get them on social media and there are times when I’ve had to bite my tongue. It’s hard. It’s not easy to deal with. Yeah, I think it’s a lot of different frustrations. And I think it’s also an individual who doesn’t represent the Vikings’ fan base who was being pretty ugly.”

Matt’s play on the field, meanwhile, has been a bigger issue. He has given up 11 sacks, according to Pro Football Focus, and was penalized three times in Sunday’s loss.

Ryan said he watches every one of Matt’s game tapes and talks to him after every game. He said this is “absolutely” the most frustrated he has ever seen his brother.

“I think he’s his hardest critic,” Ryan said. “I think it really weighs on him when he doesn’t play well. I think for the most part, he has played well. I know he’s been struggling with his knee,” which underwent arthroscopic surgery during the offseason.

“Confidence is everything in this league,” Ryan continued. “The hardest thing is to sort of drown out the criticism. Some of the criticism is fair and a lot of it’s not. But that’s part of the game and that goes for everybody. It’s frustrating hearing bad things written about Matt because I know what a good guy he is and how hard he works and cares. That’s frustrating, him being my brother.”

Ryan thinks Matt will learn from the experience this season.

“He’s going to continue to grow and he’ll bounce back from that, but I think for the most part, he’s played fine,” he said. “He does a lot of good things. I think late in the game, being down and in a lot of passing situations, it’s hard. It’s not ever one thing that happens. Not making excuses for him.

“At the end of the day, you got to block. But I think the biggest thing I’ll say about Matt is he works hard. I know he’s very talented. I know the knee thing bothers him. I think he’ll be fine though. I think he’ll be good player for a long time.”

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53

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question of the day

Poll: Which NFL game do you most want to sneak away to watch on Thanksgiving?

Weekly Question

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