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.


Asiata practicing; Floyd, Patterson, McKinnon not spotted

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 26th at 1:30pm 283996091

We got the answer to Matt Asiata’s concussion protocol progression. He has passed because he was  practicing during the portion of practice open to reporters moments ago.

Meanwhile, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and running back Jerick McKinnon weren’t spotted by these eyes. Floyd missed Sunday’s game because of a knee injury. Patterson injured his ankle and knee on a kickoff return. And McKinnon has been battling a low back injury for a couple of weeks.

The Vikings will issue an injury report at the end of practice, so it’s best to wait to see the official word on injuries.

Bridgewater's No. 1 priority for improvement down the stretch: `Just take advantage of those easy completions'

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 26th at 3:45pm 283990571

Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but at 4-7 and residing in the NFC North, the Vikings sure have a lot less to play for than the 3-7-1 Panthers do in the NFC Worst South.

So we asked Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to name the No. 1 thing he’s looking to improve on during what presumably won’t be a playoff push, regardless of how many games the Vikings win the rest of this season.

Here’s what Bridgewater said:

“Just take advantage of those easy completions when they present themselves,” Bridgewater said. “There are times in the game when there could be a five-yard out route or just something that gives you consistency, something that gives you rhythm. Taking every completion and not try to force throws and be smart with the football.”

At first, it seemed odd that he would mention improving on the “easy” throws and the “five-yard outs” as his No. 1 goal. Seems like he might have picked the deep balls he hasn’t been able to hit consistently or the throws outside the numbers that have given him some fits and caused some to question his arm strength and ability to be a starter in the NFL.

But, upon further thought, the “rhythm” he’s searching for would, presumably in his mind, lead to more consistency on deeper throws, more third-and-short situations and some more time on the field instead of standing on the sideline. And, of course, Bridgewater also has been missing a lot of those easy throws. Throws he says he “completes nine out of 10 times in practice.”

Slow starts followed by strong second-half play have been the consistent theme for Bridgewater as he’s compiled a 3-4 record as a starter.

Asked again today about the slow starts, Bridgewater said, “When we were at halftime [of Sunday's 24-21 loss to the Packers], coach Norv Turner came into the locker room and told us that for some reason for the first 10 minutes of the game we were trying to feel our way through. We’re trying to see if we can play with our opponents. That’s been the issue, like coach Turner says, that we’re trying to feel our way through those first couple of possessions. But we just have to bring it to our opponents right away.

“We have to have that mindset and go into each game with confidence and know that it’s going to be a long day for our opponents.”

After Bridgewater spoke, coach Mike Zimmer joked that he needed to find a way to convince Bridgewater that the Vikings are trailing at the opening kickoff.

In other news, Zimmer:

  •  Said the team won’t be practicing outside today, but should have all of the equipment in place to practice outside possibly later this week or next week.
  • Hinted that defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who missed Sunday’s game because of a knee injury, would play this Sunday. The team’s first injury report of the week comes out after practice today. That’s when Zimmer said we’ll also find out if running back Matt Asiata has passed the league’s concussion protocol.
  • Admitted that receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is “probably a little frustrated” by his lack of production this season, but added that the frustration is “a good thing, to be honest” because it will motivate the young receiver.

Phil Loadholt disappointed his season over

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated November 26th at 4:28pm 283989511

Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt spoke for the first time since the Vikings placed him on injured reserve with a torn pectoral in the 24-21 loss against the Packers on Sunday.

Loadholt said it occurred on a pass play during the Vikings’ final drive in the game. He attempted to block a defender rushing inside and extended his arm too far, causing the tear.

“I wouldn’t have wanted anything more than to help my team out these last five games, but I’m going to do what I can to stay involved in meetings, help Mike [Harris] and the guys prepare as much as possible,” Loadholt said. “Hopefully we can continue to build and win these last five games.”

He’ll remain around the facilities like right guard Brandon Fusco, who was also placed on injured reserve earlier this season with the same injury. Loadholt will have surgery on Friday and expects to be fully healthy for training camp in July.

Harris will likely start at right tackle on Sunday against the Panthers, but the Vikings signed offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb off the street to fill the team’s open spot on the roster. Webb spent last season with the Vikings but hasn’t been on an active roster this season. He spent training camp with the Chiefs but was one of the final roster cuts after the preseason.

“It’s always good to be back with a team that you’re loyal with and have fun playing with,” Webb said. “I just got to think positive, learn everything I need to quickly and as fast as I can to help this team out as quick as possible.”

Webb, in his fifth season, was asked if he thought his career was over as he sat in Austin, Texas waiting for a team to call.

“Nah, I didn’t think I was done,” Webb said. “I just turned 26 years old (in August) and I’m still a big boy and ready to rock and roll. That thought never crossed my mind.”

Vikings Rewind: Rodgers-to-Rodgers TD

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated November 26th at 10:27am 283973401

The situation: Tied at 7, the Packers face a 1st and goal at the 1 with 5:30 left in the first half.

The context: Vikings rookie quarterback had just thrown an interception on the previous drive to give Green Bay great field position. The Packers complied 53 yards on four plays in 2:19 to set up a scoring opportunity.

The result: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers connected with tight end Richard Rodgers for a one-yard touchdown to take the lead.

How it happened:


The Vikings were in their goal line package, countering a three-tight end, “I” formation look from the Packers. The Vikings had five down linemen, with nose tackle defensive tackles Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen lined up at the three-technique spots outside the offensive guards.

The Packers sent rookie tight end Justin Perillo (circled in red) in motion to the left side of the formation. Safety Harrison Smith (circled in blue) followed Perillo, which my seem insignificant now but played a part in the result.


It was a play action pass, with Rodgers selling the run play with running back Eddie Lacy but instead rolled out to his right. The run, particularly with the down and distance and the formation, was the obviously call in this situation. But as Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said last week, the Packers’ playcalling can be unpredictable and difficult to stop. Note where Smith (circled in red) was positioned at this point of the play.


Smith and linebacker Gerald Hodges both covered Perillo (circled in yellow) as he cut across to his right following Rodgers. There was miscommunication between Hodges and Smith that caused this situation, which given how the play appeared to be designed, the assumption would be that Rodgers will throw the ball either in the middle or right portion of the end zone.


That breakdown led to this, a wide open Richard Rodgers on the other side of the field. There’s really nothing else to gain from this snapshot other than how ridiculously wide open he was on this play. It’s astonishing.

“It’s a tough play and a good design by them and sometimes you just get beat,” rookie linebacker Anthony Barr said.


What’s even more impressive was the throw. Rodgers had pressure from defensive end Brian Robison and Barr, yet somehow threw a dime while fading away on the throw.

“I don’t know how he saw the guy in the corner of the end zone with pressure in his face,” Barr said. “He just kind of snuck out, unnoticed and was able to make a play.”


It was a perfect, and incredible, throw to give the Packers the lead.

“To me, it was very impressive,” Zimmer said. “He was rolling out to his right, the play was designed to go to his right, the route was designed to go to his right and for him to be able to see the guy standing in the far corner of the end zone is pretty good vision and a heck of a throw — the way he threw it, too.”

My initial instinct during the game was to blame Hodges because Smith tracked Perillo while in motion, signaling man coverage. But Zimmer said on Monday, “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a linebacker that messed up.”

That’s where it gets tricky trying to assess “blame” on a player for a blown assignment when there could be multiple dimensions of that assignment after Perillo went in motion. Perhaps Smith was supposed to play off Hodges, who appeared in good position prior to Smith jamming Perillo in the end zone.

Zimmer comment lead me to believe it wasn’t as simple as just blaming Hodges. However, it appeared both were at fault for allowing the easy touchdown and failing to communicate on the play.

Either way, kudos to Rodgers. And that other Rodgers.

Vikings announce J'Marcus Webb signing

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated November 26th at 8:43am 283962071

The Vikings officially announced the signing of offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb, placing right tackle Phil Loadholt on injured reserve as a corresponding move

Webb tweeted out the news Tuesday night.

He made eight appearances and one start last season with the Vikings but was not re-signed during the offseason. The 7th round pick in 2010 by the Bears spent training camp with the Chiefs but hasn’t been on a 53-man roster this season.

Webb has made 45 starts and 54 appearances in four seasons.


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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