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.


Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Sherels stays under radar, Greenway sits out again and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated December 26th at 8:53am 286862101

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


— Veteran CB/PR Marcus Sherels quietly goes about his business.

— OLB Chad Greenway and TE Kyle Rudolph missed practice again.

— Coach Mike Zimmer called QB Teddy Bridgewater “the anti-me.”

— In the event you were too busy on Christmas to read the blog



— Chicago QB Jay Cutler said that “everyone could get axed.”

— Bears rookie QB David Fales will have to wait for his chance.

— Bears RB Matt Forte is pushing himself to stay in top form.


After being dismissed for Christmas activities yesterday afternoon, the Vikings are back at Winter Park this morning. They practice at 10:50 a.m. and Zimmer has a press conference at 12:30 p.m.


Bridgewater hasn’t been asked to throw many deep passes over the past few weeks, but according to Pro Football Focus, only three quarterbacks have been more accurate on passes of 20-plus yards the past four weeks. Bridgewater has completed five of eight such attempts for 168 yards and a touchdown, per PFF. Yes, that’s a small sample size. But it does suggest he is improving there.

Deck the halls with the Vikings injury report

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated December 25th at 5:43pm 286835191

It is time for the Christmas tradition we have all been waiting for: the release of the injury report.

Yes, the Vikings practiced today in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Bears. Tight end Kyle Rudolph was not one of the participants because he says he was too busy helping Santa last night.

Actually, Rudolph sat out due to an ankle injury after missing Wednesday’s practice, too. Four other Vikings also missed a second straight day of practice: wide receiver Jarius Wright (lower back) and outside linebackers Chad Greenway (knee), Anthony Barr (knee) and Brandon Watts (hammy).

There were no changes in the injury report from Wednesday. Those guys all missed practice and are in danger of missing the Bears game. Meanwhile, left guard Charlie Johnson (ankle), wide receiver Greg Jennings (hamstring), right tackle Mike Harris (foot), tight end Chase Ford (foot), and safeties Robert Blanton (ankle) and Antone Exum (knee) were all limited for a second straight day.

That’s all I got for you today. It is time for the other Vensel family Christmas tradition: watching “Christmas Vacation,” the official holiday movie of Access Vikings. Master doesn’t appreciate Clark Griswold and Uncle Eddie, but the votes from Mark and me outnumber him on this one.

Access Vikings (very merry) morning walkthrough: Teddy's sweet throw, Josey joins the Vikings, more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated December 25th at 5:43pm 286825111

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


— With one throw, QB Teddy Bridgewater showed his potential.

— The Vikings signed RB Henry Josey away from the Jaguars.

— OLB Chad Greenway did not suit up for yesterday’s practice.

— DE Brian Robison won this year’s Korey Stringer Award.



— Bears QB Jay Cutler said he’s moving past his benching.

— Veteran Bears OLB Lance Briggs said goodbye to Chicago.

— Bears RB Matt Forte can make some history this weekend.

— Chicago’s gamble on OG Kyle Long is paying off big time.


Due to the holiday, there is no Vikings media access today, which is a good thing because we are too busy opening presents this morning to go out to Winter Park anyway. Merry Christmas, folks.


Harrison Smith is the only NFL player with three or more interceptions and at least three sacks. Yet, after being snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting, he says he is not even the top alternate for the game. That distinction reportedly goes to Colts safety Mike Adams, who also has five interceptions but fewer tackles and no sacks. But then again, Adams is playing for a high-profile playoff team and Smith plays for a 6-9 team that has only played in one primetime game in 2014.

Robison is our 2014 Korey Stringer Award winner

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated December 24th at 3:26pm 286792901

And the winner of the annual Korey Stringer Good Guy Award is…

… defensive end Brian Robison.

Robison is the 2014 winner of the annual award, an honor given to the player who was most cooperative, helpful and professional while interacting with the local media. There were many deserving candidates — a dozen players received votes from us — but Robison finished first in the voting to win the award for the first time.

“I’m very appreciative of this award,” Robison said. “It’s named after a great guy. I’ve heard a lot of stories about him. He seemed like an awesome guy to be around, no matter who you were. He just seemed like a great guy, and I want to be very appreciative of that.

“Secondly, I’ve always known that you guys have a job to do, and it’s hard for you guys to come into the locker room every day, especially after losses, and really interview us and try to get stories out of us, so I’m appreciative of the fact that I’m able to talk to you guys every week and get my face out there to the fans and things like that, because without you guys the fans wouldn’t know the type of person that I am, the sense of humor I have.”

Robison credited the University of Texas for teaching him how to deal with media, and he also learned by watching Vikings teammates over the years.

“Especially Jared [Allen], Kevin [Williams] and even Chad Greenway,” Robison said. “So having those guys around, not only on the team, but right there next to my locker, hearing those guys speak all the time to you guys, it kind of overflows to you and kind of gives you that same ability to be able to tell you guys kind of the same things.”

And in typical Robison fashion, he couldn’t help but poke fun at himself while accepting the award.

“This award will definitely go in the room with the rest of my NFL accolades,” Robison said, pausing. “So it will be in a room by itself.”

Greenway absent as Vikings practice outdoors

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated December 24th at 3:36pm 286783451

It’s a Christmas miracle! The Vikings are practicing outside for the first time since around Veteran’s Day. With this steamy weather over the past few days making sure the field is thawed out and with the season finale at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, Mike Zimmer has them outside.

Outside linebackers Chad Greenway and Brandon Watts were not spotted at practice. Both were injured in the loss to the Dolphins. Watts has another hamstring injury and Greenway, who was excused from the team on Monday and Tuesday to go back to South Dakota to be with his family after the death of his father, was knocked out of the game with a right knee injury.

Also missing practice were tight end Kyle Rudolph (ankle and knee), outside linebacker Anthony Barr (knee) and wide receiver Jarius Wright (undisclosed). Safety Robert Blanton (ankle and knee) was out there with a helmet during the open portion, but it looked as if he might be limited today.

Oh, and the new guy, Henry Josey, did not practice with the team, as he was in route to Minnesota while the team was on the field.

Left guard Charlie Johnson (ankle) returned to practice. He had sat out the previous two games.

Zimmer changed up the schedule this morning, presumably to allow his players to get home to their families and friends on Christmas Eve. They were supposed to practice at 12:50 p.m., but they took to the soggy outdoor field around 11 a.m.

After practice, we will have updates from Zimmer, and we will also reveal which Vikings player won the Korey Stringer Award (aka media good guy). A lot of deserving candidates this season.


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 86 FINAL
LA Clippers 100
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 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 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama


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