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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Vikings sign safety Taylor Mays

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated March 24th at 5:43pm 297443131

Free-agent safety Taylor Mays has agreed to a one-year deal with the Vikings, an NFL source confirmed.

In five NFL seasons with two teams, Mays made 98 tackles, recorded one sack and forced one fumble. The 27-year-old has broken up six passes and is still looking for his first NFL interception.

Originally a second-round pick of the 49ers, he joined current Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, then Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator, and the Bengals in 2011 and played 50 games for the team over the past four seasons. Mays was mostly a backup, but when Zimmer was in Cincinnati, he used Mays in a hybrid safety-linebacker role in some of his sub packages.

Casey Matthews signs with Vikings

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated March 24th at 6:27pm 297436881

Free agent linebacker Casey Matthews signed with the Vikings today, the team announced.

Matthews, the brother of Packers All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews, was taken by the Eagles in the fourth round of the NFL draft in 2011 out of Oregon.

Matthews, 26, started 11 games for the Eagles last season, replacing an injured DeMeco Ryans at inside linebacker. He played four years in Philadelphia, playing in 16 games each season, including a lot of special teams duty. He had 2.5 sacks in that time.

Here’s a phillynews.com profile of Matthews from last season.

Agent: 'I don’t think it’s in Adrian’s best interest to play in Minnesota'

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated March 24th at 3:31pm 297309751

The needle on the Adrian Peterson situation didn’t move much Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, but there were comments from both sides, so here’s a quick update.

Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, told reporters, including ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, “I don’t think it’s in Adrian’s best interest to play in Minnesota. Why would it be?” Seifert reported Dogra did not elaborate.

Rick Spielman, the Vikings general manager, reiterated to reporters that “Adrian’s a member of our football team. He is under contract with us, and we are focused on the 2015 season and expect Adrian to be a part of that.” The USA Today story on Spielman’s comments is here.

USA Today’s Tom Pelissero talked to Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf, who said Peterson is “an important part of the Minnesota Vikings and we look forward to him being part of our team in 2015.”

Peterson is under contract to the Vikings through 2017.

B. Todd Jones lands job with NFL

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated March 23rd at 12:34pm 297255761

B. Todd Jones, formerly U.S. attorney for Minnesota, had a checkered two years with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives before resigning last week amid rumors he was taking a job with the NFL.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said today Jones would join the league as Special Counsel for Conduct.

Jones graduated from Macalester in 1979 and the University of Minnesota Law School in 1983.  A native of Cincinnati, he served as a judge advocate in the Marines after he passed the bar.

Jones’ short history with ATF can be seen here and here.

Lisa Friel, who had been working with the league on discipline issues, will be named NFL special counsel for investigations.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Goodell decided to split the duties of an NFL conduct officer between Jones and Friel.

Team Peterson playing hard to get with Spielman

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated March 21st at 8:10am 297102231

Another day, another twist in the Peterson soap opera — though it’s clear who is writing this script.

Yahoo Sports reports that General Manager Rick Spielman invited Adrian Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, to dinner at the owners meetings next week. Dogra shut him down, much like what would happen if you or I were to ask Gisele Bündchen out to a romantic dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Maybe Dogra has other plans. But more likely it seems that this might be another attempt for the super-agent to try to create leverage for Peterson in a situation in which the running back has none.

We know Peterson is disgruntled, but he isn’t publicly saying why. It could be that he wants a new deal that gives him guaranteed money beyond 2015, something the contract he signed in 2011 will not provide him. Or maybe he really does want out, as has been speculated by national media.

But the reality is he is under contract with the Vikings through 2017, and the team still plans on keeping him around this season. That’s why the reports a couple of days ago that said that Spielman told Dogra that Peterson will not be released should have been met with intense eye rolls.

Of course they aren’t going to release him and give away a future Hall of Fame back for nothing.

If AP does stiff-arm his way out of town, it will be via a trade. But as I said a couple of paragraphs ago and a couple of weeks ago, the Vikings don’t plan on doing that as things stand now.

So Spielman might be dining alone at the owners meetings as Team Peterson digs its heels in again.

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