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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Jerome Felton supports Peterson, discusses childhood discipline

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 15th at 3:06pm 275161401

Vikings fullback Jerome Felton was among the many players in the locker room that came out in support of running back Adrian Peterson’s reinstatement on Monday, but he was also asked about Peterson’s choice of discipline.

Peterson has been charged with one count of injury to a child, allegedly using a switch to whip his child as a form of punishment.

“I’m from the South, so I probably got it a little worse than that,” Felton said. “I guess people have different opinions, and you’ll have to judge for yourself. But yes, I’ve probably had it a couple times. I’m from the South so maybe it’s a little more common down there than up here.”

The Madisonville, Tenn. native was then asked what impact it had on his life.

“I feel like I’m a better person for it,” Felton said. “I had direction under my family. My mother cared about me a lot, and I know people that didn’t have parents that cared and didn’t discipline them that turned out a lot different than I did. It’s a personal judgment; some people will like it, some people won’t, but that’s on them.”

Felton said he found out about Peterson’s return on Twitter, but he hasn’t spent much time on the social media site. Felton posted this tweet this morning.

“I haven’t been on Twitter that much lately, because I know with social media how it is these days,” Felton said. “It gets pretty rough out there.

“It’s a lot different world than what it was 10 years ago or for when I even got in the league seven years ago. It’s contributed a lot, but at the same time, we need to focus on us.”

Week 2 snap counts: Vikings get McKinnon some reps while sparing Asiata late

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated September 15th at 1:43pm 275160481

You knew the Vikings lost by 23 points, but did you know strong safety Robert Blanton — the same Robert Blanton that few of us thought would win the starting job — is the only guy to play every defensive snap through two games? Whether it really matters is another matter. But here is our snap-count breakdown for Sunday’s 30-7 loss to the Patriots. There were 66 offensive snaps and 65 defensive snaps. Here goes:

RUNNING BACKS: In case you missed it, Adrian Peterson didn’t play. Matt Asiata played 68 percent of the snaps (45), while Jerick McKinnon played 32 percent (21) and Joe Banyard 2 percent (1). McKinnon’s reps were significantly higher than last week’s three reps, for obvious reasons. But he had only three reps through three quarters, so there’s still something that’s holding him back from being more of a presence when the outcome is still in question. The Vikings spent a third-round pick on him. They need to carve out some sort of change-of-pace role for him. Jerome Felton played only five snaps (eight percent). That was down from last week when he played 29 percent (17).

QUARTERBACK: By now, we all know who played 100 percent of the snaps and who would like to have back four of them (Matt Cassel). It made no sense to put Teddy Bridgewater into a lopsided game against a team that knew the Vikings had to pass. It also makes sense to give Cassel a longer leash than one game. So starting him on Sunday is the right call. But he did put himself one step closer to the Bridgewater era.

OFFENSIVE LINE: All five starters — Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt — played all 66 snaps. The Vikings did not use Joe Berger as an extra tackle, as they did at St. Louis. They did that to handle the Rams’ pass rush on the road. As experienced as this line is together, the 2.8-yard average per carry was a disappointment with or without Peterson.

RECEIVERS, TIGHT ENDS: Cordarrelle Patterson led this group with 91 percent of the snaps (60), proving once again that Norv Turner is no Bill Musgrave, just in case you were still wondering. Patterson, however, didn’t get a carry, but a fake to him did help clear the way for Asiata’s 25-yard touchdown catch. Among receivers, Greg Jennings was next with 85 percent of the snaps (56), followed by Jarius Wright’s 56 percent (37) and Adam Thielen’s 24 percent (16). Wright’s workload increased from 36 percent in Week 1. He’s a sneaky deep threat, but not when he’s double covered, as Cassel found out the hard way early on Sunday. Among tight ends, Kyle Rudolph played 88 percent (58), while Rhett Ellison played 35 percent (23) and MarQuies  Gray played 12 percent (8).

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Blanton played 100 percent of the snaps (65) and 76 percent of the special teams snaps to tie linebacker Anthony Barr with a team-high 76 snaps. Free safety Harrison Smith missed only one snap (98 percent), while cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn both missed only two snaps (97 percent). Cornerback Josh Robinson followed with 38 percent of the snaps (25), while safety Andrew Sendejo played just one snap. Rhodes’ snap count is the one that stands out, considering he went into the game listed as questionable with a groin injury. The Patriots picked on him effectively, drawing three penalties in the third quarter, two of which were accepted.

LINEBACKERS: Barr continued to show the kind of versatility that’s rare for a rookie. He and veteran Chad Greenway both played 100 percent of the snaps. Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley, a starter, played 58 percent of the snaps (38), while Gerald Hodges played only nine percent (six) and Audie Cole played two percent (1).

DEFENSIVE LINE: A week ago, the Vikings had six defensive linemen play between 73 percent and 43 percent of the snaps. Of course, they also won by 28. Sunday, the Vikings had four defensive linemen play between 89 percent and 57 percent. End Brian Robison played 89 percent (58), while end Everson Griffen followed with 86 percent (56), nose tackle Linval Joseph 82 percent (53) and tackle Sharrif Floyd 57 percent (37). Like Rhodes’ snaps, Floyd’s 37 reps were encouraging because he also went into the game listed as questionable because of a shoulder injury. Rookie Shamar Stephen played 34 percent (22) in what is an underrated role that’s being carved out for him. End Corey Wootton and tackle/end Tom Johnson both played 25 percent (16 apiece).

SPECIAL TEAMS: Marcus Sherels and Shaun Prater both played 43 percent of the special teams snaps (12). Prater was inactive the previous week.

Adrian Peterson releases a statement

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 15th at 3:07pm 275158681
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has released the following statement to the Star Tribune:

My attorney has asked me not to discuss the facts of my pending case. I hope you can respect that request and help me honor it. I very much want the public to hear from me but I understand that it is not appropriate to talk about the facts in detail at this time. Nevertheless, I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child.
 
I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates. I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son.
 
I voluntarily appeared before the grand jury several weeks ago to answer any and all questions they had. Before my grand jury appearance, I was interviewed by two different police agencies without an attorney. In each of these interviews I have said the same thing, and that is that I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court. 
 
I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen.  I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.
 
I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward. But deep in my heart I have always believed I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets without the discipline instilled in me by my parents and other relatives. I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man.  I love my son and I will continue to become a better parent and learn from any mistakes I ever make.
 
I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury. No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that’s what I tried to do that day.
 
I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct. Regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person.

Vikings say Peterson will practice this week and is expected to play Sunday

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 15th at 11:09am 275136951

The Vikings released a statement this morning saying that running back Adrian Peterson, who was deactivated for yesterday’s game after he was child abuse charges in his home state of Texas over the weekend, will participate fully in practice this week and is expected to play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Vikings owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf released the following statement a few minutes ago:

Today’s decision was made after significant thought, discussion and consideration. As evidenced by our decision to deactivate Adrian from yesterday’s game, this is clearly a very important issue. On Friday, we felt it was in the best interests of the organization to step back, evaluate the situation, and not rush to judgment given the seriousness of this matter. At that time, we made the decision that we felt was best for the Vikings and all parties involved.

To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child. At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action. This is a difficult path to navigate, and our focus is on doing the right thing. Currently we believe we are at a juncture where the most appropriate next step is to allow the judicial process to move forward.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support Adrian’s fulfillment of his legal responsibilities throughout this process.

Head coach Mike Zimmer, who dodged questions about Peterson after yesterday’s blowout loss to the New England Patriots, is scheduled to speak with reporters again at 2 p.m. this afternoon.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Vikings blown out in home opener, Peterson, Cassel and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 15th at 7:03am 275105041

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

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— Without RB Adrian Peterson, the Vikings lost their home opener by 23 points.

— Head coach Mike Zimmer tried to avoid questions about Peterson’s status.

— The Vikings had to patch together their backfield with Peterson deactivated.

— Zimmer said QB Matt Cassel will remain the starter this upcoming week.

— Is the time coming for the Vikings to go with rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater?

— You can’t blame the defense for yesterday’s blowout loss to the Patriots.

— Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer has been reinstated by the Vikings.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— The Patriots bounced back with a resounding win over the Vikings.

— The Patriots defense was good against the Vikings but bigger tests await.

— The Patriots controlled the line of scrimmage against the Vikings.

— Patriots head coach Bill Belichick got his 200th career win on Sunday.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

The Vikings locker room is open from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Zimmer will hold his usual Monday press conference at 2 p.m., but will he have any unusual announcements regarding No. 28?

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Yesterday’s game was Cassel’s first career start on a college football field, according to ESPN Stats and Info. He did not start a game during his four-year college career at Southern California.

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