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: Harris pumped to start, Smith back at practice and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 28th at 7:05am 284135891

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


— OT Mike Harris is excited for the opportunity to start again.

— Banged-up S Harrison Smith returned to practice yesterday.

— Could the no-huddle help QB Teddy Bridgewater get going early?



— The Panthers might be on to Plan C at the right tackle spot.

— CB Bené Benwikere will be back in the Panthers secondary.

— TE Greg Olsen’s resilient son helps put football in perspective.


The Vikings will battle the elements and any tryptophan left in their systems with a 10:50 a.m. practice that is expected to be held outside. Head coach Mike Zimmer will talk after the practice.


Despite being in the same division as the Lions and same conference as the Cowboys, the Vikings haven’t played a Thanksgiving game since 2000. Twenty-five teams have played on Thanksgiving since they last did. Oh, and case you are wondering, the Vikings are 5-1 all-time on Turkey Day.

Smith (limited) one of four players upgraded on today's injury report

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 27th at 4:10pm 284089801

It was a healthier day for four Vikings who were upgraded from Wednesday’s injury report to today’s injury report.

Free safety Harrison Smith (shoulder/ankle) went from not practicing to being limited, while running back Matt Asiata (concussion), left tackle Matt Kalil (knee) and linebacker Anthony Barr (knee) went from limited to full participation.

Here’s today’s injury report:

Did not participate: TE Chase Ford (hamstring/foot), WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee), RB Jerick McKinnon (low back) and DT Sharrif Floyd (knee).

Limited participation: Smith (shoulder/ankle),

Full participation: Kalil, Asiata, Barr, TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin), WR Jarius Wright (hamstring), WR Greg Jennings (rib) and RT Mike Harris (ankle).

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Crazy league, Kalil defends Kalil, Smith sits out and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 27th at 9:21am 284072591

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


— Despite similar records, the Vikings and Panthers are in very different spots.

— Panthers C Ryan Kalil defended his little brother, Vikings LT Matt Kalil.

— RT Phil Loadholt is disappointed that his season is over due to his injury.

— S Harrison Smith is one of five Vikings who missed yesterday’s practice.

— QB Teddy Bridgewater wants to take advantage of easy completions.



— It has been a frustrating season for Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams.

— Panthers QB Cam Newton is handling adversity better this season.

— Carolina CB Josh Norman has become one of the team’s best defenders.


The Vikings are practicing on Thanksgiving, but there is no media access. Enjoy your turkey and football, folks. I know I will.


Coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t like to match up cornerbacks on specific wide receivers. Instead, he keeps his outside cornerbacks on their designated sides to simplify things for his players and help disguise his coverages. But Zimmer said he might consider using CB Xavier Rhodes on imposing Panthers rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin. Considering the way the Bears took advantage of a size advantage against CB Josh Robinson two weeks ago, that uncharacteristic change would make sense.

Smith, Patterson, McKinnon, Floyd and Ford all miss practice

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 26th at 3:46pm 284011361

Here’s today’s injury report …

Did not participate: TE Chase Ford (hamstring/foot), FS Harrison Smith (shoulder/ankle), WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee), RB Jerick McKinnon (low back) and DT Sharrif Floyd (knee).

Limited participation: RB Matt Asiata (concussion), LT Matt Kalil (knee) and LB Anthony Barr (knee).

Full participation: TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin), WR Jarius Wright (hamstring), WR Greg Jennings (rib) and RT Mike Harrison (ankle).

Carolina's Ryan Kalil defends his 'little' brother; has advice for how to handle hecklers

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 26th at 4:23pm 284003151

The Kalil family obviously isn’t quite as appalled as some that Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil flipped the hat off a heckling fan after Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Packers.

On Monday, Matt Kalil himself said it “wasn’t a big deal.” Today, Kalil’s older brother, Ryan, the starting center for the Carolina Panthers, joked about the incident that became a popular video on TMZ.

“I was a little disappointed,” said Ryan, whose Panthers play the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday. “I would have actually liked him to go with the, ‘You spilled something on your shirt’ and then throw the finger up into [the fan's] chin. I think that would have been a funnier move.”

Ryan said he was on the phone with his father, Frank, at about the same time news broke that Matt had confronted a fan outside TCF Bank Stadium. Frank, a former center, was drafted by the Bills in 1982 before playing in the USFL.

“I asked my dad if he heard what happened,” Ryan said. “He said, ‘Yeah, I heard the whole thing. It was an ugly deal.’ He said the guy called Matt over and said he was big fan. Asked for his autograph. [Matt] went over there and then the fan continued to start saying some pretty ugly stuff to him. So I think my brother just kind of reacted.

“It’s probably my fault for picking on him when he was little. Flipping his hat off, I think, was the go-to move for me.”

On a more serious note, Ryan said Matt’s struggles and Sunday’s incident are learning experiences.

“Everybody goes through it,” he said. “You try to remind yourself that that’s part of it and you got to fight through it. That’s part of the profession. That part isn’t going to go away and the quicker you can realize that, the more you can be mentally tough and drown all that out the better off you’ll be.

“When you’re not winning, that’s the hardest thing. Everything is worse when you’re not winning. I know that frustration personally. Nobody is immune to hecklers. We get them daily here, too. We get them on social media and there are times when I’ve had to bite my tongue. It’s hard. It’s not easy to deal with. Yeah, I think it’s a lot of different frustrations. And I think it’s also an individual who doesn’t represent the Vikings’ fan base who was being pretty ugly.”

Matt’s play on the field, meanwhile, has been a bigger issue. He has given up 11 sacks, according to Pro Football Focus, and was penalized three times in Sunday’s loss.

Ryan said he watches every one of Matt’s game tapes and talks to him after every game. He said this is “absolutely” the most frustrated he has ever seen his brother.

“I think he’s his hardest critic,” Ryan said. “I think it really weighs on him when he doesn’t play well. I think for the most part, he has played well. I know he’s been struggling with his knee,” which underwent arthroscopic surgery during the offseason.

“Confidence is everything in this league,” Ryan continued. “The hardest thing is to sort of drown out the criticism. Some of the criticism is fair and a lot of it’s not. But that’s part of the game and that goes for everybody. It’s frustrating hearing bad things written about Matt because I know what a good guy he is and how hard he works and cares. That’s frustrating, him being my brother.”

Ryan thinks Matt will learn from the experience this season.

“He’s going to continue to grow and he’ll bounce back from that, but I think for the most part, he’s played fine,” he said. “He does a lot of good things. I think late in the game, being down and in a lot of passing situations, it’s hard. It’s not ever one thing that happens. Not making excuses for him.

“At the end of the day, you got to block. But I think the biggest thing I’ll say about Matt is he works hard. I know he’s very talented. I know the knee thing bothers him. I think he’ll be fine though. I think he’ll be good player for a long time.”


Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Dallas 12/4/14 7:25 PM
Chicago 109 FINAL
Boston 102
Golden State 106 FINAL
Charlotte 101
Dallas 106 FINAL
Toronto 102
Milwaukee 104 FINAL
Detroit 88
New Orleans 91 FINAL
Atlanta 100
LA Clippers 102 FINAL
Houston 85
New York 78 FINAL
Oklahoma City 105
Orlando 83 FINAL
Indiana 98
Sacramento 104 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Phoenix 97 FINAL
Denver 122
Memphis 112 FINAL
Portland 99
Minnesota 120 FINAL
LA Lakers 119
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Washington 5
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Montreal 1 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Detroit 5 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 4
Carolina 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL
Columbus 0
Ottawa 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Edmonton 3 FINAL(OT)
St. Louis 4
Minnesota 5 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 4
Tennessee 67 FINAL
Kansas 82
Eastern Ill 40 FINAL
NC Central 65
New Orleans 65 FINAL
Texas A&M 87
Radford 65 FINAL
NC A&T 57
Butler 64 FINAL
Georgetown 58
Prairie View 71 FINAL
Brown 81
Southern U 63 FINAL
Northern Ariz 70
Santa Clara 44 FINAL
Rhode Island 66
IUPU-Ft Wayne 67 FINAL
Dartmouth 68
Wright State 59
Texas-El Paso 77 FINAL
Xavier 73
Penn State 88 FINAL
Bucknell 80
James Madison 56 FINAL
Ohio State 73
Yale 66 FINAL
Providence 72
Lamar 59 FINAL
Texas Southern 71
Miss Valley St 66 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 75
Missouri State 55 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 51
Minnesota 66 FINAL
Georgia 62
Oklahoma 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 69
Stephen F Austin 83 FINAL
Austin Peay 62
Norfolk State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 70
Middle Tennessee 51 FINAL
Cincinnati 69
Char Southern 47 FINAL
Florida State 58
Princeton 65 FINAL
San Diego 75
Drake 46 FINAL
Valparaiso 66
Rice 74 FINAL
Washington St 76
USC Upstate 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 64
Rider 54 FINAL
Georgia Tech 61
High Point 59 FINAL
Clemson 62
Emerson 50 FINAL
Hartford 83
Savannah State 71 FINAL
Jacksonville St 74
Monmouth 56 FINAL
Maryland 61
South Alabama 75 FINAL
Miami-Florida 87
Boise State 54 FINAL
NC State 60
Vanderbilt 65 FINAL
Rutgers 68
Gonzaga 73 FINAL
St Johns 66
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Syracuse 72
Bradley 49 FINAL
TCU 57
Alabama State 91 FINAL
TX-Pan American 79
Delaware State 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 65
Tennessee St 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 66
North Carolina 75 FINAL
Florida 64
Memphis 72 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Hofstra 86 FINAL
Jackson State 56
Samford 64 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 77
Cleveland State 68 FINAL
Marshall 59
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Nebraska 75
SE Louisiana 61 FINAL
Tulane 71
Creighton 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 75
Murray State 61 FINAL
Portland 64
North Texas 73 FINAL
Arkansas 89
UNC Greensboro 79 FINAL
Indiana 87
Michigan State 79 FINAL
Marquette 68
Western Mich 79 FINAL
San Jose St 60
Stetson 62 FINAL
Northern Colorado 82
Texas-Arlington 81 FINAL
Montana State 104
Pacific 64 FINAL
Colorado State 75
Miss State 75 FINAL
Saint Louis 50
La Salle 56 FINAL
Virginia 64
North Dakota 53 FINAL
Utah 90
UAB 76
Baylor 54 FINAL
Illinois 62
Long Beach State 70 FINAL
Washington 80
Mercer 60 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 65
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 31 FINAL
Western Mich 21
Nebraska 37 FINAL
Iowa 34
Western Ky 67 FINAL
(19) Marshall 66
So Florida 0
Houston 35 FINAL
Akron 24 FINAL
Kent State 27
Ball State 41 FINAL
Bowling Green 24
Buffalo 41 FINAL
Massachusetts 21
Toledo 52 FINAL
Eastern Mich 16
Arkansas 14 FINAL
(17) Missouri 21
Navy 42 FINAL
South Alabama 40
(13) Arizona State 35 FINAL
(12) Arizona 42
Stanford 31 FINAL
(9) UCLA 10
(21) Colorado State 24 FINAL
Air Force 27
Virginia 20 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
East Carolina 49 FINAL
Tulsa 32
North Texas 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11:00 AM
Illinois 11:00 AM
Cincinnati 11:00 AM
NC State 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11:30 AM
Utah 12:00 PM
Texas State 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 2:30 PM
(10) Michigan State 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 2:30 PM
San Jose St 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 3:00 PM
Kansas 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 3:00 PM
BYU 3:30 PM
ULM 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
(15) Auburn 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 9:30 PM
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Northern Ill 12/5/14 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
(12) Arizona 12/5/14 8:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Marshall 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(5) Baylor
Iowa State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(6) TCU
Oklahoma State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(20) Oklahoma
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Michigan 76 FINAL
Washington St 64
Green Bay 71 FINAL
Georgia Tech 50
Eastern Kentucky 71 FINAL
Western Carolina 62
Florida Atlantic 57
Fordham 74 FINAL
Incarnate Word 42
Furman 63 FINAL
Florida State 94
Illinois State 44 FINAL
Miami-Florida 95
Eastern Michigan 74 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 78
George Washington 74 FINAL
NC State 66
Ohio State 55 FINAL
Wichita State 70
Western Ky 69 FINAL
Tulane 64
La Salle 71 FINAL
Long Island 66
Binghamton 51 FINAL
St Johns 67
UNC-Asheville 52 FINAL
NC Central 55
North Florida 55 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 41
Akron 73 FINAL
Belmont 58
Miss Valley St 46 FINAL
Liberty 80 FINAL
Penn State 68
Colgate 44 FINAL
(21) Rutgers 60
Mercer 80 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Northeastern 72 FINAL
No Dakota State 79
(10) Maryland 80 FINAL
James Madison 64
Villanova 46 FINAL
Arizona State 51
Tulsa 87 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Boston College 90 FINAL
Brown 80
Wyoming 63 FINAL
Iowa State 84
Weber State 100 FINAL
New Mexico St 97
Texas Tech 53 FINAL
Purdue 69
Washington 81 FINAL
Hartford 70
Fla Gulf Coast 86 FINAL
Clemson 61
Drake 69 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 61
UNC Greensboro 64 FINAL
Navy 71
(15) Nebraska 71 FINAL
Northern Iowa 58 FINAL
Hofstra 61
Austin Peay 71 FINAL
Southern Miss 80
(17) Iowa 67 FINAL
Arkansas 77
Cal-Irvine 54 FINAL
Bowling Green 62
Samford 56 FINAL
Georgia State 61
Siena 78 FINAL
Denver 62
Abilene Christian 88 FINAL
George Mason 86
Towson 49 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Howard 55 FINAL
St Marys-CA 80
Houston 67 FINAL
Idaho State 73
Texas Southern 71
East Carolina 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 43
Sam Houston St 67
Minnesota 54 FINAL
Vanderbilt 71
Kent State 47 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 57
Montana 55 FINAL
Princeton 80
(9) Kentucky 92 FINAL
Oklahoma 88
Arizona 65 FINAL
FIU 58
Northern Ky 52 FINAL
Grand Canyon 45
Stetson 57 FINAL
Marist 50
American Univ 59 FINAL
Gonzaga 56
Loyola Marymount 66
Oral Roberts 38 FINAL
NC A&T 47
Stony Brook 42 FINAL
(8) Duke 72
Colorado State 76
(5) Stanford 54 FINAL
(11) North Carolina 70
Monmouth 82 FINAL
Wagner 59
Portland 59 FINAL
Nevada 84
Stephen F Austin 62 FINAL
UC-Riverside 90
Alcorn State 33 FINAL
Rice 61
Lafayette 61 FINAL
(12) Louisville 102
Florida 81 FINAL
Georgetown 73
Miami-Ohio 51 FINAL
Oakland 65
SE Missouri St 62 FINAL
Southern Ill 78
Florida A&M 46 FINAL
SMU 77
Northern Colorado 67 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 58
Montana State 66 FINAL
CS-Northridge 78
(22) Syracuse 63 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Dartmouth 74 FINAL
Cal Poly 61
Utah State 43 FINAL
(13) Baylor 99
Toledo 64 FINAL
Virginia 62
Christian Brothers 39 FINAL
Arkansas State 79
South Florida 67 FINAL
Illinois 61
Coll of Charleston 24 FINAL
(3) Connecticut 85
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Charlotte 58
San Jose St 87 FINAL
(14) California 110
Central Michigan 73 FINAL
Oregon 67
Fresno State 93 FINAL
San Diego 88
Boston U 49 FINAL
New Mexico 56
Missouri State 59 FINAL
Colorado 87
Ole Miss 52 FINAL
Utah 38
Prairie View 58 FINAL
Hawaii 72
Army 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 39
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Creighton 63


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