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.
Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson limped off at the start of Thursday’s practice with an ankle injury. He was listed as a limited participant.
It occurred during the individual drills portion of practice, in which Robinson hobbled over the trainer’s table before walking inside. Robinson has played well this season, despite a nagging hamstring injury dating back to the start of training camp.
Center John Sullivan (concussion) returned to practice but was limited. Guard Vladimir Ducasse (knee) was a full participant, participating in 1-on-1s against the defensive line but worked with the second team. Joe Berger and Mike Harris remained as the first team center and right guard.
Linebacker Gerald Hodges (hamstring) returned to practice after missing Sunday’s game against the Bills but was limited. Safety Antone Exum Jr. (ankle) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin) were the only Vikings held out of practice. Rudolph continued to work on his conditioning for a second consecutive practice.
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (ankle) and cornerback Jabari Price (hamstring) were limited. Defensive end Corey Wootton (low back) was upgraded as a full participant for the first time this week.
Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin haven’t created the best headlines this season, but former Vikings coach and current Buccaneers defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier praised his former star players as “great competitors and guys I have a lot of respect for.”
“Tremendous talents, Pro Bowl players, both of them,” Frazier said Thursday during his weekly press conference in Tampa. “Enjoyed my time with them. Loved both of them. I haven’t talked to Percy in a while. I’ve talked to Adrian through some of the things he’s going through. And I wish both of them nothing but the best.
“They were great for me. They helped me tremendously during my time with them. They know from the bottom of my heart, I wish nothing but the best for them in their future endeavors, whatever they may be.”
Peterson remains on the commissioner’s special exempt list while he addresses a child-abuse charge in Texas. Harvin was traded from Seattle to the Jets a week ago when his temperamental personality created similar problems to what contributed to the Vikings trading him to Seattle before last season.
Frazier, whose Bucs face the Vikings on Sunday in Tampa, was asked if both players were “coachable.”
“Oh, yeah, very much so,” he said. “Adrian, I don’t know if there’s a superstar that warrants the accolades more than he does. From my standpoint as a coach, he was what you want to see in a superstar player. Practiced hard, was gracious to his teammates. It was never about him.
“Percy? Tremendous player, tremendous playmaker. We didn’t always see eye to eye on some things, but at the end of the day, we both wanted the same thing for our team, and that was to win.”
Many football fans remember that Marvin Harrison was the one who caught the first touchdown pass of Peyton Manning’s career. It’s less likely, but they might also remember that Rick Parros caught John Elway’s first one and that Sterling Sharpe was the recipient of Brett Favre’s first.
Someday, will fans remember — or have a reason to remember — that Cordarrelle Patterson was the Vikings wide receiver who caught the first touchdown pass of Teddy Bridgewater’s NFL career?
Today, Patterson didn’t seem to care whether he will be the answer to that trivia question someday.
“It might be in 20 years of whatever,” Patterson said. “We really don’t know.”
With the Vikings sitting at 2-5, Patterson has more important things to worry about this week. But he did acknowledge that it was a special moment for Bridgewater. Patterson wanted to keep the ball after this four-yard touchdown reception in the loss to the Bills, but he gave it up to the rookie.
“I gave Teddy the ball. I wish I could have kept it, but I gave it to him,” he said. “That’s the right thing to do, to give that young guy his ball and hats off to Teddy. I hope we get many more this week.”
Patterson didn’t say why he wanted the ball so badly. Sure, it was his first touchdown catch of the season. But he had four of them last season and has now scored 11 total touchdowns in the NFL.
He hoped a compromise could reached, but then he had a King Solomonesque moment of clarity.
“I wish we could split it half way, but that won’t work out so good,” Patterson said.
That Norv Turner has quite a memory. In his 23rd season coaching in the NFL, the Vikings offensive coordinator has evaluated and coached a wide range of players – from Hall of Famers to draft busts.
Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is his latest project, one that has experienced growing pains through three career starts.
“He’s, a lot like our offense, a work in progress,” Turner said. “There’s going to be things we like, there’s going to be things where he’s growing, and things where you shake your head a little bit.”
Turner specifically pointed out Bridgewater’s second interception, an “out” route intended for wide receiver Adam Thielen that cornerback Leodis McKelvin snatched on the first play of the drive. Bridgewater was late on the throw, and reminded Turner of a mistake a Hall of Fame quarterback made early in his career.
“When I was with Troy Aikman his first year, he threw the same exact interception against Cris Dishman,” Turner said. “We were playing the Oilers.”
While Turner might’ve compared a Hall of Fame quarterback to Bridgewater, his point was that even those that with a distinctive gold jacket in their closets struggled in some form at the start of their careers. Bridgewater, who has thrown five interceptions in the last two game, has been no different.
“Again, I think you learn from those mistakes,” Turner said. “We’d like not to throw that ball late, and if you’re late, you need to put it further out in front. That’s not what happened.”
Turner still has been impressed with how Bridgewater has handled pressure. He’s been sacked 14 times in the last two games with issues stemming from the offensive line, to the receivers’ inability to get open to even Bridgewater holding the ball too long.
“He’s had a lot of pressure, and I think he’s been unbelievable,” Turner said. “I get nervous in terms of the hits outside the pocket. Those are the ones where you get thrown to the ground and banged around pretty good. He’s got good sense in the pocket. He’s getting better at getting the ball out, and he threw the ball away a couple of times on Sunday when there was nowhere to throw it; whereas against Detroit on those plays, he took sacks.”
Every weekday, Vikings reporters walk you through what’s happening with the team.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Many thought the Bucs “won” free agency with some of their acquisitions, but they enter Sunday’s game 1-5.
— Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t been effective on deep balls so far.
— A motion to remove Judge Kelly Case from running back Adrian Peterson’s case was declined.
— Minneapolis won’t sue Washington’s NFL team for its “Redskins” nickname.
TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY
— Greg Jennings (@GregJennings) October 22, 2014
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
— Bucs head coach Lovie Smith was disappointed in defensive end Da’Quan Bowers’ two game suspension for performance enhancement drugs.
— The Bucs don’t have a quarterback controversy, at least that’s what Smith thinks.
— DE Michael Johnson has been bothered with a lingering high ankle sprain.
— Would the Bucs draft Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston?
TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE
It’s a typical Thursday schedule where all three coordinators will talk after the morning walkthrough around 11 a.m. Practice is scheduled to begin at 12:50 p.m.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
The Vikings have allowed the second most sacks this season with 27, behind just the Jaguars. Of those 27 sacks, 14 have occurred in the last two weeks against the Bills and Lions – two of the best defensive lines in the NFL.
|Kansas City - J. Guthrie||7:07 PM|
|San Francisco - T. Hudson|
|Detroit||10/26/14 8:30 AM|
|Buffalo||10/26/14 12:00 PM|
|St. Louis||10/26/14 12:00 PM|
|Houston||10/26/14 12:00 PM|
|Minnesota||10/26/14 12:00 PM|
|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|
|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|
|Washington||10/27/14 7:30 PM|
|New York||6:30 PM|
|San Antonio||7:00 PM|
|Tampa Bay||7:00 PM|
|(18) East Carolina||31|
|So Florida||6:00 PM|
|(6) Oregon||9:00 PM|
|North Texas||10/25/14 11:00 AM|
|UAB||10/25/14 11:00 AM|
|Rutgers||10/25/14 11:00 AM|
|Maryland||10/25/14 11:00 AM|
|Texas||10/25/14 11:00 AM|
|(11) Kansas State|
|Minnesota||10/25/14 11:00 AM|
|Memphis||10/25/14 11:00 AM|
|North Carolina||10/25/14 11:30 AM|
|San Jose St||10/25/14 12:00 PM|
|Northern Ill||10/25/14 12:00 PM|
|(25) UCLA||10/25/14 1:00 PM|
|Akron||10/25/14 1:00 PM|
|Massachusetts||10/25/14 1:00 PM|
|Ohio U||10/25/14 1:00 PM|
|Ga Southern||10/25/14 1:00 PM|
|Kent State||10/25/14 1:30 PM|
|Oregon State||10/25/14 2:30 PM|
|Fla Atlantic||10/25/14 2:30 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||10/25/14 2:30 PM|
|(1) Miss State||10/25/14 2:30 PM|
|Georgia Tech||10/25/14 2:30 PM|
|(22) West Virginia||10/25/14 2:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||10/25/14 2:30 PM|
|Michigan||10/25/14 2:30 PM|
|(8) Michigan State|
|Boston College||10/25/14 2:30 PM|
|Central Mich||10/25/14 2:30 PM|
|Vanderbilt||10/25/14 3:00 PM|
|Old Dominion||10/25/14 3:00 PM|
|UNLV||10/25/14 3:00 PM|
|Temple||10/25/14 4:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona||10/25/14 5:00 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||10/25/14 6:00 PM|
|Wyoming||10/25/14 6:00 PM|
|Syracuse||10/25/14 6:00 PM|
|Texas State||10/25/14 6:00 PM|
|(3) Ole Miss||10/25/14 6:15 PM|
|(4) Alabama||10/25/14 6:30 PM|
|So Carolina||10/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(13) Ohio State||10/25/14 7:00 PM|
|(20) USC||10/25/14 9:00 PM|
|(14) Arizona State||10/25/14 9:45 PM|
|Nevada||10/25/14 10:59 PM|
|(2) Florida State||10/30/14 6:30 PM|
|Troy||10/30/14 6:30 PM|
|Hamilton||10/25/14 3:00 PM|
|Brt Columbia||10/25/14 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|