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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Captain Munnerlyn thinks Adrian Peterson treatment unfair

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 17th at 12:54pm 275476521

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.”

Greenway has broken hand, Loadholt injured ankle

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 17th at 12:56pm 275473531

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.

Wilf: `We made a mistake and we needed to get this right'

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated September 17th at 12:15pm 275463011

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.

Peterson will get paid, won't count against roster

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 17th at 10:16am 275442231

The Vikings have placed Adrian Peterson on the exempt list while he deals with his legal issues.

Peterson is not the first NFL player to get placed on the exempt list. In 2009, quarterback Michael Vick, then a player for the Eagles, was placed on the list as he made his return to the NFL following his prison sentence for illegal dogfighting. Former Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson was placed on the list in 2011 after he returned from a drug-related suspension. Last year, the Buccaneers placed running back Jeff Demps on the list as he pursued an Olympic track career.

So what exactly does that mean for the Vikings from a salary cap and roster standpoint?

Peterson will continue to be paid while he is away from the team, according to the NFLPA, and will still count against the team’s salary cap. Peterson has a base salary of $12 million in 2014, including his offseason workout bonus, which has already been triggered. His cap figure is $14.4 million.

Peterson is exempt from the roster, meaning that he won’t count against the 53-man limit.

That leaves a vacant roster spot for the Vikings to do as they choose, whether it is bringing in a veteran back, adding fullback Zach Line or someone else from the practice squad, or addressing another position. They could also theoretically keep it vacant until wide receiver Jerome Simpson returns from his suspension, but very rarely do teams not take advantage of an open roster spot.

Of course, the Vikings will be hard-pressed to find a talent equal or close to what Peterson provided.

Here is a link that goes into some detail on the exempt list.

Vikings Rewind: Darrelle Revis intercepts Matt Cassel

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 17th at 9:40am 275441321

The situation: Down 10-7 with 13:37 left in the first half, the Vikings are faced with a 2nd and 10 at their own 38.

The reason: The Patriots have just reeled off 10 unanswered points, and the Vikings have a chance to tie the game on this drive after their previous two drives ended with an interception and a punt.

The result: Cornerback Darrelle Revis intercepted quarterback Matt Cassel’s pass intended for wide receiver Greg Jennings.

How it happened:

IMG_0098The Vikings go trips right with Jennings (circled in yellow) sliding inside. He’s shadowed by cornerback Darrelle Revis, who has defended him for most of the game.

IMG_0099Cassel receives good protection as the play develops. With a safety up top, Revis remains in man coverage with Jennings (circled in blue).

IMG_0102Just as Cassel is set to throw the ball, Revis essentially runs Jennings’ route for him. The cornerback beats Jennings to the spot on the post route. Jennings is covered the entire time, but Cassel is practically trusting his favorite target to make a play because everyone else is covered as well.IMG_0104Jennings doesn’t make the play. Instead, Revis replicated an interception you’d see during cornerback drills in practice. It was one of four interceptions thrown by Cassel, who played poorly in the 30-7 loss. The Patriots went on a seven-play, 61-yard drive after the interception that was capped on a nine-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Julian Edelman.

Revis Island eliminated Jennings, limiting him to just one catch for four yards on four targets.

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