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.
Every weekday, our Vikings reporters walk you through what’s happening with the team that day.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Will RB Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?
— Has Peterson hastened his departure with his legal issues?
— The Vikings say they put Peterson on the exempt list to “get things right.”
— The Vikings must deal with a big distraction as they prepare for the Saints.
— OLB Chad Greenway missed practice with a broken hand.
TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY
Adrian situation is awful, but I feel for friends of mine in that locker room who are just trying to do their job and win games. #Vikings
— Steve Hutchinson (@poisonpill76) September 17, 2014
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
— The Saints are preparing for a less explosive Vikings offense without Peterson.
— Some Saints defenders are disappointed they won’t get to play Peterson.
— QB Drew Brees says that not all NFL players are “brutes.”
— Saints RB Mark Ingram had surgery on his broken hand.
TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE
The coordinators — including Mike Priefer, who is back with the team — will speak with reporters at 11 a.m. The locker room will be open then, too. The Vikings will begin practice at 12:50 p.m.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Since 2007, Peterson’s first season in the NFL, the Vikings have rushed for 16,104 yards, more than any other team. The team’s 4.8 yards-per-carry average also ranks first in the league.
Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway walked off Wednesday’s practice wearing a splint around his broken left hand. He did not participate in practice, nor speak too much specifically about the severity of the injury that occurred during Sunday’s 30-7 loss against the Patriots.
“It just started to really bother me swelling up and something happened,” Greenway said.
Along with Greenway, who was listed with a hand and rib injury, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) and offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle) did not participate in practice. Linebacker Brandon Watts (knee) returned for his first practice since preseason, though he was limited. Tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (groin) and wide receiver Rodney Smith (hamstring) were all also limited.
For the Saints, safety Marcus Ball (hamstring), center Jonathan Goodwin (elbow), running back Mark Ingram (hand) and fullback Erik Lorig (ankle) did not participate in practice. Linebacker Curtis Lofton (shoulder) was limited.
Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn expressed his disapproval with the team’s decision to place running back Adrian Peterson on the commissioner’s exempt list at 12:47 a.m. on Wednesday. Munnerlyn, who grew up in Mobile, Ala., didn’t see anything wrong with Peterson using a switch to discipline his 4-year-old son.
“Growing up my mom, she disciplined me the same way,” Munnerlyn said. “And I’d say it got me to this point now. I’m in the NFL, and I know how to behave. I really didn’t see the big deal. People are blowing it out of proportion with all this, and all that. At the end of the day, we came here to win a football game. I think for Adrian, the best thing for him to do is play football to let out some frustration and be himself.”
Peterson, who grew up in Palestine, Texas, was charged one count of injury to a child in Montgomery County (Texas) last weekend as a result of the punishment. Munnerlyn’s comments echoed those of fullback Jerome Felton, who was raised in Madisonville, Tenn., about how they felt Peterson’s actions was an acceptable form of discipline growing up in the South.
“If Adrian wasn’t in the limelight, I don’t think this would be coming up at all because you raise your kids how you raise your kids,” Munnerlyn said. “They’re your kids.”
When asked if he looked at the alleged photos after Peterson “whooped” the child with a switch, Munnerlyn said, “No I really didn’t look into it. Growing up, that was nothing. My mom, she always welted me up and things like that. In my culture, that’s how I was raised; and my mom, that’s how she raised her kids.”
Peterson was issued an arrest warrant on Friday, which prompted the team to deactivate him for the Vikings’ 30-7 loss to the Patriots at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday. He was booked and released on bail Saturday morning in Montgomery County. The Vikings decided to reinstate Peterson on Monday but reversed course after backlash from the public and their sponsors over the last two days.
“He hasn’t been convicted of nothing,” Munnerlyn said. “All these allegations of this, and that, the pictures out, but he hasn’t been convicted of nothing. In crimes, you’re innocent until you’re convicted guilty. I don’t think he’s guilty of nothing yet. I really think he should be able to play football. I really don’t get it. At the end of the day, I know they came up with the decision, but I’m just going to stick to playing football and doing what I know.”
There was more bad news from the Vikings today, and it had nothing to do with Adrian Peterson.
“Chad Greenway’s got a broken hand,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “That’s another little thing.”
Zimmer wouldn’t say which hand the linebacker injured and wasn’t sure when it happened, though he said it might have been early in the game. In the first quarter, after the Vikings stopped the Patriots on third down, Greenway appeared to be in discomfort and had a chat with the athletic trainers.
Zimmer did say, though, he is hopeful about Greenway’s status and anticipates him to play Sunday.
Greenway fractured his right wrist last season, an injury that limited his ability to wrap up on tackles. He was excused from one practice last month after getting the same wrist MRIed — randomly, it was the day Peterson was excused to deal with a “personal matter” down in Texas — but he has not missed a practice since that day. We will find out here shortly whether Greenway is practicing today when the Vikings take the field at Winter Park.
Zimmer also said that right tackle Phil Loadholt has an ankle injury. He said that cornerback Xavier Rhodes (groin) and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) are fine after playing on Sunday.
From a public perception standpoint, it’s been quite the trifecta of declining opinion of the Vikings over the past five days.
Friday, they were called leaders among NFL teams when they de-activated Adrian Peterson after he was indicted on child abuse charges in Houston.
Monday, they were called desperate losers willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of winning when they re-activated Peterson.
Wednesday, they were essentially called greedy cowards for bending to pressure from sponsors when they re-de-activated Peterson with a release time of 12:47 a.m. Peterson officially was put on the commissioner’s exempt list. He will be paid while he’s away from the team and the Vikings will be able to fill his roster spot.
Later this morning, owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, head legal representative Kevin Warren and General Manager Rick Spielman met with a media horde that included nine satellite trucks, 19 cameras and a live stand-up on NFL Network that led into the press conference.
Zygi Wilf read a statement and stepped aside to let the others field questions.
“We made a mistake,” Zygi Wilf said during his reading. “And we needed to get this right.”
That obviously was the pre-press conference talking point because it was mentioned multiple times.
Asked if the decision by Radisson hotels to suspend its sponsorship of the team played a role in today’s reversal, Mark Wilf said, “Absolutely not. We needed to get it right. … Our focus is to get things right.”
Mark Wilf said the team takes child abuse very seriously and made sure to point out that all 53 players on the current roster are active in charitable causes in the community.
Spielman was asked point blank if Peterson will ever play for the Vikings again. While he said the team supported Peterson, he did not answer the question.
“Our focus today,” Spielman said, “is to get this right.”
Spielman said Peterson’s future with the team won’t be decided until after the legal process runs its course, even if the trial doesn’t begin until 2015, which is now the case but could change.
Spielman did say the team considered releasing Peterson, but decided the exempt list was the best option.
Mark Wilf tried to sum up the day by recalling someone who once told him, “It’s never too late to get this right.”
That, however, would be up for debate after the week the Vikings have had so far.
|Texas - N. Martinez||2:35 PM|
|Oakland - S. Gray|
|Boston - B. Workman||6:05 PM|
|Pittsburgh - G. Cole|
|Toronto - R. Dickey||6:05 PM|
|NY Yankees - S. Greene|
|Washington - G. Gonzalez||6:10 PM|
|Miami - B. Hand|
|Los Angeles - Z. Greinke||7:05 PM|
|Chicago Cubs - T. Wada|
|Cleveland - D. Salazar||7:10 PM|
|Houston - S. Feldman|
|Milwaukee - K. Lohse||7:15 PM|
|St. Louis - S. Miller|
|Arizona - V. Nuno||7:40 PM|
|Colorado - Y. Flande|
|Philadelphia - K. Kendrick||8:10 PM|
|San Diego - R. Erlin|
|Seattle - F. Hernandez||9:05 PM|
|LA Angels - J. Weaver|
|Tampa Bay||7:25 PM|
|San Diego||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Dallas||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Washington||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Houston||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Minnesota||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Baltimore||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Green Bay||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|San Francisco||9/21/14 3:05 PM|
|Denver||9/21/14 3:25 PM|
|Kansas City||9/21/14 3:25 PM|
|Pittsburgh||9/21/14 7:30 PM|
|Chicago||9/22/14 7:30 PM|
|(5) Auburn||6:30 PM|
|(20) Kansas State|
|Connecticut||9/19/14 7:00 PM|
|Old Dominion||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|Troy||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|Georgia Tech||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|Eastern Mich||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|(11) Michigan State|
|Iowa||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|Bowling Green||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|Maryland||9/20/14 11:30 AM|
|Tulane||9/20/14 11:30 AM|
|Hawaii||9/20/14 1:00 PM|
|Marshall||9/20/14 1:00 PM|
|North Carolina||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Army||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Virginia||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|(6) Texas A&M||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Rutgers||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Central Mich||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Utah||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Florida||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Louisville||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Fla Atlantic||9/20/14 3:00 PM|
|Indiana||9/20/14 3:00 PM|
|San Jose St||9/20/14 3:00 PM|
|Texas State||9/20/14 3:00 PM|
|Massachusetts||9/20/14 3:00 PM|
|Georgia State||9/20/14 5:00 PM|
|Appalachian St||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Miss State||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Northern Ill||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Utah State||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Miami-Ohio||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Ball State||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|(14) So Carolina||9/20/14 6:30 PM|
|(4) Oklahoma||9/20/14 6:30 PM|
|Ga Southern||9/20/14 6:30 PM|
|UNLV||9/20/14 7:00 PM|
|(22) Clemson||9/20/14 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|Miami-Florida||9/20/14 7:00 PM|
|New Mexico||9/20/14 7:00 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|California||9/20/14 9:00 PM|
|Louisiana||9/20/14 9:30 PM|
|(2) Oregon||9/20/14 9:30 PM|
|San Diego St||9/20/14 9:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||9/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(25) Oklahoma State|
|Appalachian St||9/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(12) UCLA||9/25/14 9:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Toronto||9/19/14 9:00 PM|
|Edmonton||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Calgary||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Ottawa||9/21/14 3:00 PM|
|Montreal||9/26/14 6:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||9/26/14 9:00 PM|
|Hamilton||9/27/14 5:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||9/27/14 8:30 PM|