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.


Questionable Munnerlyn penalty kills Vikings momentum

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 21st at 6:44pm 275945241

The biggest moment in the  Vikings’ 20-9 loss to the Saints at the Superdome on Sunday was a controversial penalty that killed the second half momentum the Vikings built.

Down 13-9 with 14 seconds left in the third quarter, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and safety Robert Blanton sacked Saints quarterback Drew Brees on 3rd and 13. Munnerlyn lifted Brees up off the ground and threw him down viciously, prompting Brees to jump up and shove Blanton in frustration.

Munnerlyn was called for unnecessary roughness, extending the drive that ended on an 18-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Marques Colston seven plays later.

“I tried to get an answer from the referees, but they really wouldn’t talk to me,” Munnerlyn said. “I know coach will turn the play in and he’ll let me know what they say. I feel like I let my teammates down because it changed the game. At the end of the day, they called the penalty. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with the penalty, but they called it.”

Head coach Mike Zimmer said he spoke to referee Walt Anderson after the play, and he felt Munnerlyn threw Brees down with force. Anderson also said he blew the whistle once Munnerlyn and Blanton wrapped up Brees.

They Vikings had held the Saints scoreless since the first quarter and reeled off three field goals to draw within four points before Colston scored.

“I thought we had good momentum going on,” Zimmer said. “We were frustrating them a little bit offensively. I think we would’ve had good field position. Who knows, but they were a lot better than we were today.”

Craig: Quick reaction to Vikings 20-9 loss to the Saints

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated September 21st at 5:32pm 275942101

I’ll give you three reasons to be encouraged and three reasons to be discouraged. Take your pick. Here goes:

Three reasons to be encouraged:

1, There couldn’t have been a more difficult situation for Teddy Bridgewater to make his NFL debut. But the kid did some really good things, and that’s saying something when he’s thrown into a game cold when a veteran, Matt Cassel, breaks his foot. The game not only was on the road, but it was in New Orleans against a Rob Ryan defense in the Saints’ home opener. Bridgewater showed some strong awareness in the red zone, pulling the ball down and taking a loss to avoid the turnover and then running for a first down on a delayed draw to set up a field goal and make the game a one-possession contest. Bridgewater posted an 83.3 passer rating, didn’t turn the ball over and ran six times for a 4.5-yard average. Overall, he looked pretty good for his NFL debut.

2, The Vikings’ defense finally showed it can stop the run again. After five quarters of being pushed around by the Patriots last week and the Saints in the first quarter today, the run defense stiffened and the Vikings were able to put Drew Brees in some long third-down situations, which made the pass rush effective again. The reason the Vikings stayed in this game after being down 13-0 in the first quarter is because the run defense got its act together.

3, The special teams were a strength again with coordinator Mike Priefer back from his suspension. Cordarrelle Patterson averaged 30 yards on four kickoff returns, punter Jeff Locke averaged 45.3 yards with an even greater net average of 46.0. He had a long of 57 and three punts downed inside the 20. The Saints didn’t have kickoff return and they had minus-3 yards on punt returns.

Three reasons to be discouraged:

1, Injuries this severe in Week 3 tear down seasons. Cassel’s broken foot, coupled with Adrian Peterson’s indefinite leave, means it’s officially a rebuilding year. And rebuilding years have a lot of growing pains, particularly when there’s a rookie QB involved. And the likelihood that Bridgewater stays healthy behind this offensive line at its current level of play is slim. Christian Ponder will play a game before the season is over. Throw in a possible serious groin injury to tight end Kyle Rudolph and a shoulder injury to right guard Brandon Fusco and, well, this season appears to be collapsing quickly.

2, The offensive line was a disappointment for the second straight week. The rushing average last week was 2.8. This week, it was 2.7. There just aren’t enough quality holes being made. And there are too many defenders coming free on pass rushes.

3, The way the defense started was a major concern. Brees completed his first nine passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. He was pressured only one time, and on that play, all he had to do was take a slide step to his left. The Saints had 54 yards on just nine rushes in the first quarter. That enabled Brees to feel comfortable. By the time the Vikings corrected that situation, the Saints had the points they would need.

Coming home will help this team. But it better hope Josh Robinson’s hamstring injury isn’t serious because the opponent is a Falcons team that can stretch the field with multiple elite receivers.

Matt Cassel (toe) out, Teddy Bridgewater makes debut

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 21st at 3:06pm 275935951

Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel has been ruled out with a toe injury he suffered in the second quarter. Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater replaced Cassel with 12:15 left in the first half.

The injury occurred on a five-yard scramble with 14:47 left in the first half where Cassel was slow to get up. He was later carted into the locker room. Cassel finished the game 5 of 10 for 53 yards.

Bridgewater went 3 of 5 for 46 yards in the first half, leading the Vikings to a field goal on his first drive. Most of his yards in the first half came on a 41-yard dump off to running back Matt Asiata to put the Vikings in field goal range. Bridgewater also had five rushes for 23 yards.

Halftime report: Saints 13, Vikings 6

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 21st at 3:32pm 275935241

The Saints lead the Vikings 13-6 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at halftime. Quarterback Matt Cassel has been ruled out with a toe injury he suffered in the second quarter.

The Good: Somehow it’s a close game. After the Saints jumped out to a 13-0 start, it appeared the game would get ugly in a hurry. But the Vikings held the Saints offense scoreless in the second quarter and hit two field goals to draw within a possession.

It was also the NFL debut of rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who replaced Cassel in the second quarter. The toe injury occurred on a five yard scramble with 14:47 left in the first half. Bridgewater led the Vikings to a field goal on his opening drive due to a 41-yard dump off to running back Matt Asiata.

Cassel finished 5 of 10 for 53 yards. Bridgewater is 3 of 5 for 46 yards.

The Bad: Saints quarterback Drew Brees had about as perfect of a first half as you’ll see from a quarterback. He’s picked apart the Vikings secondary, going 12 of 14 for 123 yards and a touchdown. He executed an 11-play, 80-yard drive to start the game that lasted 5:24. The Vikings allowed seven first downs on the drive as the Saints gained positive yardage on every play. The Vikings contained the offense in the second quarter, but they started in a huge deficit because of Brees.

The Ugly: The Vikings defensive line has improved as the game progressed, but the offensive line has been terrible in pass protection. Regardless of who has been at quarterback, Bridgewater and Cassel haven’t benefited from a clean pocket with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan dialing up different blitzes. On Bridgewater’s first drive, the Vikings settled for a field goal mainly due to Bridgewater tripping over left tackle Matt Kalil on 1st and goal. While it might be the only sack the Vikings have allowed so far, the Saints have been getting a lot of hurries and hits on the Vikings quarterbacks.

Greenway active versus Saints despite broken hand

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 21st at 1:03pm 275929741

Vikings outside linebacker Chad Greenway is active for today’s game against the New Orleans Saints despite a broken left hand and a rib injury that prevented him from practicing Wednesday and Thursday. That means Greenway will keep his consecutive games played streak alive.

Wide receiver Charles Johnson, who was signed to the 53-man roster yesterday, will not suit up.

Also inactive are quarterback Christian Ponder, cornerback Shaun Prater, outside linebacker Brandon Watts, guard David Yankey, wide receiver Rodney Smith and defensive end Scott Crichton.

Running back Mark Ingram and linebacker David Hawthorne are among the notable inactives for the Saints. Also inactive are safety Marcus Ball, fullback Erik Lorig, cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste, wide receiver Nick Toon and defensive tackle John Jenkins.


Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Phoenix 99 FINAL
New York 90
Portland 114 FINAL
New Orleans 88
Utah 86 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Atlanta 104 FINAL
Houston 97
San Antonio 93 FINAL
Dallas 99
Indiana 73 FINAL
Denver 76
Milwaukee 102 FINAL
LA Clippers 106
Arizona 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 5 FINAL
Buffalo 1
Philadelphia 7 FINAL
Toronto 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Montreal 4
Washington 4 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Florida 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Chicago 2 FINAL(SO)
Columbus 3
Nashville 6 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 5
Calgary 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
St. Louis 2 FINAL(OT)
San Jose 3
VA Commonwealth 68 FINAL
Cincinnati 47
Charlotte 78 FINAL
Georgetown 81
Michigan 51
Louisville 76 FINAL
Western Ky 67
Mount St Marys 45 FINAL
American Univ 46
Abilene Christian 33 FINAL
Boise State 77
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Duquesne 79
South Alabama 65 FINAL
Ohio State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 82
Massachusetts 65 FINAL
Providence 85
Syracuse 77 FINAL
Villanova 82
Citadel 61 FINAL
Virginia Tech 64
Belmont 73 FINAL
Fairfield 61
St Bonaventure 69 FINAL
Binghamton 51
Montreat 64 FINAL
Campbell 90
Delaware 74 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 76
South Florida 62 FINAL
Florida State 75
Vanderbilt 60 FINAL
Georgia Tech 65
SC State 71 FINAL
Houston 63
Missouri 59 FINAL
Illinois 62
Truett-McConnell 55 FINAL
Jacksonville 84
Toledo 83 FINAL
McNeese State 69
Elon 71 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 64
Drexel 68 FINAL
Penn State 73
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Rutgers 68
Albany 64 FINAL
Yale 60
PSU-Beaver 74 FINAL
Longwood 106
Eastern Ill 60 FINAL
Indiana State 56
Indiana 82 FINAL
Butler 73
Marshall 58 FINAL
Arkansas State 67
Lafayette 69 FINAL
Kansas 96
Oral Roberts 63 FINAL
Memphis 78
Western Mich 61 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Delaware State 70 FINAL
Oregon 83
Fla Atlantic 56 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
Arkansas Tech 57 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 94
Howard Payne 50 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 89
Kennesaw St 53
St Josephs (IN) 54 FINAL
Chicago State 76
Eastern Mich 77 FINAL
Missouri State 65
Kentucky 83
UC Davis 81 FINAL
Air Force 75
Houston Baptist 67 FINAL
UC Riverside 78
Davidson 80 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 68
USC Upstate 53 FINAL
Miss State 51
NC Central 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 60
Illinois State 77 FINAL
Murray State 89
Louisiana 85 FINAL
Northwestern St 89
Oakland 77 FINAL
Pittsburgh 81
Detroit 55 FINAL
Rhode Island 69
Presbyterian 60 FINAL
UT Martin 77
Monmouth 74 FINAL
Wagner 66
Southern U 39 FINAL
Wyoming 57
Iowa State 83 FINAL
Drake 54
Wake Forest 50 FINAL
Florida 63
High Point 80 FINAL
James Madison 71
Texas Southern 71 FINAL
Michigan State 64
New Hampshire 60 FINAL
Sacred Heart 73
Northeastern 78 FINAL
Santa Clara 72
Huston-Tillotson 56 FINAL
Texas State 90
Purdue 63 FINAL
Notre Dame 94
Prairie View 44 FINAL
Sam Houston St 61
Xavier 88 FINAL
Auburn 89
Bluffton 53 FINAL
Akron 92
Central Conn St 76
Hofstra 77 FINAL
Columbia 82
Boston Univ 62 FINAL
Dayton 78
Iona 81 FINAL
George Mason 86
Valparaiso 75 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 72
Texas A&M 64 FINAL
Kansas State 71
Morgan State 69 FINAL
Manhattan 73
Saint Josephs 75 FINAL
Marist 58
East Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 66
Richmond 65 FINAL
Pepperdine 63
La Salle 67 FINAL
Towson 53
Incarnate Word 110 FINAL
UMKC 104
CS-Bakersfield 59 FINAL
Idaho State 50
Iowa 44 FINAL
Northern Iowa 56
Milwaukee 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 61
Long Beach State 68 FINAL
Texas 78
TX-San Antonio 57 FINAL
TCU 88
SE Missouri St 67 FINAL
Arkansas 84
Lehigh 84 FINAL
Arizona State 81
New Mexico 69 FINAL
New Mexico St 67
Oklahoma 67 FINAL
Washington 69
Utah Valley U 61 FINAL
Weber State 73
Jacksonville St 60 FINAL
Northern Colorado 69
St Edwards 55 FINAL
Grand Canyon 81
NC State 69 FINAL
West Virginia 83
CS-Northridge 68
Cal Poly 50 FINAL
Gonzaga 63
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Pacific 71
Montana State 60 FINAL
Portland 87
Ball State 57 FINAL
San Diego St 70
South Dakota St 68 FINAL
Utah State 65
Stanford 77 FINAL
BYU 79
Utah 59 FINAL
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Livingstone 77 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Dartmouth 70
Georgia Tech 65 FINAL
St Francis-NY 59
Auburn 49 FINAL
St Johns 56
East Tenn St 56 FINAL
Jacksonville St 57
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Detroit 57
Cal-Irvine 42 FINAL
Wright State 80
Gardner-Webb 47 FINAL
Kennesaw St 50
(7) Stanford 40 FINAL
(11) Tennessee 59
Alabama A&M 47 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Central Michigan 45 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 80
Nebraska Omaha 50 FINAL
Creighton 67
Western Carolina 83
Houston 65 FINAL
Nicholls 47
St Thomas Aquinas 45 FINAL
Army 70
St Bonaventure 72 FINAL
Niagara 60
Texas State 57 FINAL
Stetson 75
George Mason 65 FINAL
ULM 53
Grambling 38 FINAL
Kansas State 61
Missouri 79 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Robert Morris 59 FINAL
Cornell 70
Air Force 44 FINAL
Abilene Christian 80
Hampton 53 FINAL
James Madison 85
American Univ 64 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 52
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 68
Tenn Tech 49 FINAL
NC A&T 54
Presbyterian 45 FINAL
NC Central 33
Penn 58 FINAL
Drexel 67
Lipscomb 38 FINAL
Xavier 62
Vermont 40 FINAL
Green Bay 60
Charleston Southern 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 80
Ohio Christian 62 FINAL
Akron 97
Jacksonville 62 FINAL
Murray State 80
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Iona 58
Indiana 88 FINAL
Oakland 61
Indiana State 64 FINAL
SMU 55
Denver 51 FINAL
Purdue 65
TX-San Antonio 48 FINAL
Texas Tech 64
Middle Tennessee 79
Campbell 66 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 55
Florida A&M 67 FINAL
SE Louisiana 69
Northwestern St 61 FINAL
Jackson State 62
Lehigh 61 FINAL
Arizona State 81
Valparaiso 65 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 77
Liberty 60 FINAL
Minnesota 74
Wofford 60 FINAL
North Florida 68
Montana State 61 FINAL
Washington St 82
Marshall 56 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 69
Morgan State 40 FINAL
Chattanooga 55
Northeastern 65 FINAL
Harvard 67
Furman 51 FINAL
(15) Georgia 58
(18) Michigan State 65 FINAL
(9) Baylor 84
Ohio U 52 FINAL
Massachusetts 59
Prairie View 48 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 86
Toledo 64 FINAL
Southern Ill 48
High Point 57 FINAL
(12) Nebraska 83
Winthrop 20 FINAL
Wichita State 66
William Jewell 59 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 52 FINAL
Utah 67
Southern Utah 51 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
Hawaii 85 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 76
San Jose St 62 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Northridge 65 FINAL
San Diego State 54
Norfolk State 36 FINAL
East Carolina 65
Saint Peters 49 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 59
Arizona 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 72
Northwestern 92 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 44
Oral Roberts 52 FINAL
Wisconsin 70
Florida Atlantic 44 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
La Salle 76 FINAL
Georgia State 68
(16) Oregon State 73 FINAL
Nevada 50
Sacred Heart 72 FINAL
Villanova 49
Delaware 59 FINAL
Cincinnati 67
Troy 75 FINAL
Tennessee St 71
Saint Louis 68 FINAL
Utah Valley U 66
Washington 74 FINAL
UC-Riverside 71
Pacific 43 FINAL
Long Beach St 53
Old Dominion 69 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 63
Austin Peay 62 FINAL
Montana 83
Lewis-Clark State 48 FINAL
Idaho 74
(21) Miss State 73 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 36


question of the day

Poll: Who should be the entertainer of the year for 2014?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters