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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Free-agent OT Webb says he is rejoining Vikings

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 25th at 8:48pm 283907311

Offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb, who spent time with the Vikings last season, announced on Twitter that he is rejoining the Vikings, who need another tackle with Phil Loadholt out for the season.

Webb, 26, played eight games for the Vikings last season. He was a backup swing tackle, but he did make one start at right tackle while Loadholt was sidelined in a Week 10 win against the Redskins.

Webb signed with the Chiefs this spring but did not survive final cuts at the end of the preseason.

Webb, who was a seventh-round pick of the Bears in 2010, is listed at 6-foot-7 and 333 pounds. He started 44 games in three seasons with the Bears before signing with the Vikings last season.

Head coach Mike Zimmer on Monday said that Loadholt, arguably the team’s best run-blocking offensive lineman, was out for the rest of the season with a torn pectoral. Backup offensive tackle Mike Harris, who filled in for Loadholt in Sunday’s loss to the Packers, is likely the next man up.

The Vikings have not announced the Webb signing, nor have they officially put Loadholt on injured reserve. The team is expected to make those moves tomorrow morning so Webb can practice.

Here’s that tweet from Webb:

Five Vikings stats that stand out for Week 13

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 25th at 11:39am 283850121

Each week, beat guy Matt Vensel will highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.

69 — number of Eddie Lacy’s rushing yards that came after contact on Sunday.

The bruising Packers running back did a lot of his damage against the Vikings after contact. Again. According to Pro Football Focus, 69 of Lacy’s 125 rushing yards Sunday came after contact. Lacy forced the Vikings to miss five tackles. Back in Week 5, 52 of Lacy’s 105 rushing yards came after contact. He forced three more missed tackles in that game. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Lacy has now rushed for 229 total yards after contact in his four career games against the Vikings.

four — Packers punts on Sunday, as many as their past three games combined.

The Packers were 6-for-11 on third down, averaged 5.8 yards per play and were 3-for-3 in the red zone. But there is a stat that proves the Vikings defense made it difficult at times for them, at least more difficult than previous opponents had. The Packers had punted just four times in their previous three games. The Vikings convinced them to bring out punter Tim Masthay four times, including on the first drive of the game. The Packers hadn’t punted in the first quarter since Week 6.

zero — sacks or quarterback hits allowed by Kalil in the loss to the Packers.

For the first time all season, Kalil didn’t allow his quarterback to hit the ground. The embattled left tackle allowed three hurries against the Packers, but no sacks or quarterback knockdowns. With Kalil stabilizing the left side, rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sacked just twice. But, as has always seemed to be the case with Kalil this season, there was some bad. Kalil was flagged three times for 35 yards. He has now been penalized eight times this season, according to ESPN.

54 — yards allowed in coverage by Josh Robinson against Green Bay’s wide-outs.

Robinson got picked on by the Bears in Week 11, but he responded with a solid performance against the Packers and their talented receivers. The cornerback was targeted 10 times by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and allowed six of the throws to be completed, but they were usually underneath the coverage. Jordy Nelson had five catches for 44 yards against him and Davante Adams had one for 10. It should be noted that fellow cornerback Xavier Rhodes was even better.

five — consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass for Bridgewater.

It took four games for the rookie quarterback to throw his first NFL touchdown pass. But after he hit wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson for his first back in the Bills game, Bridgewater has made a habit of throwing the ball into the end zone for scores. Bridgewater has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in five straight games and the two he threw against the Packers were a career high. His TD-INT differential was 6-4 in those games, but he is still a negative in that stat on the season.

Vikings NFL Draft order: Week 13

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated November 25th at 11:02am 283843491

Every Tuesday, we’ll analyze the Vikings draft chances for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Apologizes for not updating the Vikings draft chances last Tuesday with the NFL announcing Adrian Peterson’s suspension, but we’re back! And it’s time for…wait, where did all the red pills go?

Two weeks, two losses. The reality that the Vikings, at 4-7, will be draft bound has swept throughout the Twin Cities. Most of you are here to see where they belong in the draft order, but to appease our entire audience and those still clinging to their blue pills, the Vikings have a 0.03 percent chance of making the playoffs.

“So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

Yes, Lloyd Christmas, in your fabricated reality, we are saying there’s a very, very, tiny chance.

But back in the real world, the Vikings sit in last place in the NFC North and have a top 10 pick at this moment. Here’s how the order looks with record, strength of schedule tiebreaker (if necessary) and upcoming opponent listed in parentheses:

  1. Jacksonville (1-10) (.574) (vs. NY Giants on Sunday)
  2. Oakland (1-10) (.612) (at St. Louis on Sunday)
  3. Tampa Bay (2-9) (.434) (vs. Cincinnati on Sunday)
  4. Tennessee (2-9) (.558) (at Houston on Sunday)
  5. NY Jets (2-9) (.591) (vs. Miami on Monday)
  6. Washington (3-8) (.463) (at Indianapolis on Sunday)
  7. NY Giants (3-8) (.603) (at Jacksonville on Sunday)
  8. Carolina (3-7-1) (at Minnesota on Sunday)
  9. Minnesota (4-7) (.496) (vs. Carolina on Sunday)
  10. New Orleans (4-7) (.527) (at Pittsburgh on Sunday)
  11. St. Louis (4-7) (.612) (vs. Oakland on Sunday)

If the season ended today, the Vikings would have the ninth overall pick, edging out the Saints and Rams with the same record due to a lower strength of schedule percentage. A loss against the Panthers, who sit with the eighth overall pick right now, would move the Vikings, at worst, one spot up in the draft order.

Strength of schedule will change weekly as teams progress through the final five games of the season. The remaining five opponents for the Vikings at this point are 23-32-1 (.427), so their strength of schedule could dip a little more by the end of the season.

It’s also noteworthy that the Falcons, who sit in first place in the terrible NFC South, would have the ninth overall pick at this point if they didn’t hold a playoff spot. They’re 4-7 with a .430 strength of schedule percentage, which is lower than the Vikings at this point.

Yes, Lloyd, the Vikings would have a shot at the playoffs if they played in the NFC South this year. But, they don’t.

We’re going to need a refill on red pills.

Meanwhile, here are a few “Big Boards” to tickle your draft fantasies for the time being.  ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Ducks QB Marcus Mariota as the top player on his list,  but CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang currently has USC DE Leonard Williams as the top prospect in college football at the moment.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Loadholt done, Kalil apologizes, no moral victories and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 25th at 10:42am 283841981

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

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— The Vikings lost RT Phil Loadholt for the season with a torn pec.

— Backup OT Mike Harris says he is ready to step in for Loadholt.

— LT Matt Kalil apologized to the media, but not that Vikings fan.

— Head coach Mike Zimmer says he does not count moral victories.

— Charles Johnson led all Vikings receivers in playing time Sunday.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— Panthers DB Josh Norman is not a fan of CB Captain Munnerlyn.

— The Panthers are hoping for another rebirth against the Vikings.

— The Panthers need to keep feeding rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

Vikings players have the day off. Several of them, including C John Sullivan and DT Tom Johnson, will spend it at an early Thanksgiving meal at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Sacks and pressures were the big issue for Kalil until recently. Now penalties are a problem for him, too. Kalil was flagged three times Sunday against the Packers for 35 yards. He has now been penalized eight times this season, according to ESPN. That’s the seventh-highest total in the NFL.

Zimmer confirms Phil Loadholt's done for season

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated November 24th at 8:27pm 283746361

A few tidbits from Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer’s press conference on Monday:

“I think Phil is a great person,” Zimmer said. “He’s very conscientious, works hard, he’s got a great heart. So that’s just part of football. Obviously we’ll miss him. But we’re not going to let it hold us back from what we’re trying to get done.”

The Vikings are exploring their options, but Zimmer said Harris will probably fill in at right tackle against the Panthers.

  • Zimmer also addressed left tackle Matt Kalil’s performance and incident with a fan after the 24-21 loss against the Packers on Sunday. Kalil was flagged three times for 35 yards, then knocked the hat off a heckling fan after the game.

“He was wrong in what he did,” Zimmer said. “We appreciate 99.9 percent of the fans, they’re great for us and he should have conducted himself in better manner. It’s a good lesson for all of us. I know that in the past there have been times when I’ve been upset with people, too, but they pay money to go watch us play and watch us perform so they have a right to express their opinion. We just have to keep our composure and not let things get out of hand, I think.”

  • Running back Matt Asiata is still going through the concussion protocol, per Zimmer. He was inactive against the Packers, allowing Joe Banyard to serve as the backup running back. Banyard had five carries for 26 yards and three catches for 19 yards.

“I thought [Banyard] did some good things,” Zimmer said. “His yards after contact was good, had some good runs; had a good run on that third down. Caught the ball a couple times, the ball wasn’t exactly in the right place and made some catches. He continued to help keep drives alive.”

  • Zimmer gave cornerback Xavier Rhodes high praise after an impressive performance against the Packers. He finished with two passes defended but blanketed the Packers receivers, to the point of frustration, throughout the game.

“I’m pleased with his progress and where he’s going,” Zimmer said. “He studies really hard. He’s still a young, young guy in the development of where I think his football career can go. But it’s nice to have a guy that you can say, ‘Hey, you’ve got this guy and let’s go.’”

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
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
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
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
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53

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