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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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.

Priefer reinstated by Vikings

Posted by: Christopher Miller Updated September 14th at 8:48pm 275074301

The Vikings have reduced the three-game suspension of special teams coach Mike Priefer because he completed diversity training.

The team released this statement tonight:

The Minnesota Vikings will reinstate Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer effective Monday, September 15. The decision by Vikings ownership follows extensive conversations with the independent professional consultants retained to conduct individualized anti-harassment, diversity and sexual orientation training with Coach Priefer. Those consultants have conveyed to the team that Coach Priefer was fully and thoughtfully engaged throughout the process and successfully completed the program. Details within the settlement agreement pertaining to the actions by the team remain confidential.

Joe Marciano coached the Vikings special teams during Priefer’s absence.

Blocked FG among Vikings special teams blunders

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 14th at 6:04pm 275066061

In between being pelted with questions about running back Adrian Peterson, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was asked to evaluate the Vikings special teams performance. His answers were just as short as those regarding Peterson.

“It wasn’t too good,” Zimmer said of the special teams unit. “It wasn’t too good.”

Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones blocked kicker Blair Walsh’s 48-yard field goal attempt and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown with nine seconds left in the first half. It was part of a stretch where New England ripped off 30 unanswered points in the 30-7 victory over the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium.

“We needed that kick,” Walsh said. “We have to do better as a unit there, and we can’t have that. We have to have enough room to do our kicks and do our job.”

Zimmer said Jones swam inside to block the kick that would’ve trimmed the deficit down to 17-10 right before the half. Instead, the 10-point swing was part of many mistakes made on special teams.

The Patriots froze the Vikings defense on 4th and short situations, stalling their decision to punt with the offense still out on the field. They’d have their punt team ready on the sideline and wait late in the play clock to send out punter Ryan Allen.

During the first instance, the Vikings left their defense on the field with punt returner Marcus Sherels back to return the punt. The Patriots decided to punt the ball, and Sherels waived for a fair catch.

There was another moment in the second half when the Vikings defense was confused whether to remain on the field again, though the coaching staff was waving them over to the sideline with the Patriots lining up to punt. The Vikings only had nine players on the field.

The Vikings have been without their special teams coordinator, Mike Priefer, during the first two games as he serves a suspension for anti-gay comments made during the 2012 season. The three-game ban can be reduced to two games at the team’s discretion, making Priefer available to return to the team on Monday. Zimmer did not say whether Priefer would return to coach against the Saints in Week 3.

“As far as I know, it’s three weeks,” Zimmer said.

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Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
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NY Yankees 0 Bottom 9th Inning
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Chicago Cubs 0
Chicago WSox 3 Top 8th Inning
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Houston 2
Detroit 6 Bottom 8th Inning
Minnesota 4
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Arizona 0
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