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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Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Peterson back with Vikings, potential for distraction and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 16th at 7:03am 275263801

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

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— The Vikings reinstated RB Adrian Peterson and said he won’t be a distraction.

— A Houston TV station reported accusations that Peterson abused another child.

— Did the Vikings shred their code of conduct for their best player?

— Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer returned to the Vikings yesterday, too.

— Head coach Mike Zimmer tried to put the focus back on his football team.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— Saints RB Mark Ingram has a broken hand and is out indefinitely.

— Keenan Lewis defended fellow Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson.

— Saints WR Marques Colston was not targeted in Sunday’s loss to the Browns.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

Vikings players have the day off, but several will be at community events. Jabari Price, Andrew Sendejo, Vlad Ducasse and others will be at a “Play 60″ event at Catholic Charities-St. Joseph’s Home for Children this afternoon. Scott Crichton, Tom Johnson and others, plus Vikings alumni and cheerleaders, will be at an event for United Way and Arc’s Value Village at the Fairgrounds.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

WR Greg Jennings recorded his 500th career receptions in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots. He is now 121st all-time in NFL history. If he catches another 500 more passes, he will be tied with former Steelers WR Hines Ward for ninth all-time. And if he catches another 500 after that, he’ll be second in NFL history to only 49ers great Jerry Rice, who caught 1,549 passes in his career.

Houston TV station reports another Peterson discipline incident

Posted by: Christopher Miller Updated September 16th at 6:26am 275218101

Adrian Peterson was investigated in another incident where he allegedly injured one of his children in a discipline incident, according to Houston television station KHOU.

Peterson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, issued a statement after the station aired its story on its 6 p.m. news.

Said Hardin: “The allegation of another investigation into Adrian Peterson is simply not true. The allegation is more than one year old  and authorities took no action. An adult witness admittedly insists Adrian did nothing inappropriate with his son.”

Peterson, who was reinstated by the Vikings on Monday after sitting out Sunday’s game because of a criminal charge against him, was not charged in the incident reported by KHOU.

The children in the two incidents have different mothers, the station reported.

The station had alleged text messages between Peterson and the mother of the child in the incident in June of 2013 in Texas where Peterson admitted he hit the child while the child was in a car seat.

Two pictures were texted between Peterson and the mother. One showed the child with bandages on his forehead, and the other showed a scar allegedly left by the cuts.

The child’s mother filed a report with Child Protective Services but the result of that was not known, the station added.

The Vikings issued this statement: “As part of the information we have gathered throughout this process, we were made aware of an allegation from 2013 in which authorities took no action against Adrian. We will defer any further questions to Adrian’s attorney Rusty Hardin.”

Zimmer focusing on football, reflects on Patriots loss

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 15th at 4:27pm 275193381

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer deferred all questions regarding running back Adrian Peterson to general manager Rick Spielman, who spoke before him on Monday.

Zimmer wanted to keep his focus on the dismal performance against the Patriots, losing 30-7 on Sunday, and the Vikings matchup against the Saints in Week 3.

“My dream is still to take this football team and this organization to where we want to go,” Zimmer said. “I can’t let the so called distraction or things like this that we’re dealing with today affect my focus and trying to get this football team better. I’ve worked an awful long time to get to this position where I have the opportunity to do the things that we have the opportunity to do. I’m going to keep trying to do my best.”

The Vikings reinstated special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who was suspended two games for anti-gay comments made during the 2012 season. The organization had the option to shortened the ban from three games if Priefer cooperated with some of their demands, including sensitivity training.

“I’m proud that Mike did the things that he had to do,” Zimmer said. “I’m proud that we didn’t ruin a guy’s career because he made a mistake. I’m glad that we were able to stand by him. I appreciate all of his hard work and the things that he’s done during these two weeks.”

Zimmer also touched on the lingering issues involving offensive tackle Matt Kalil’s performance. He struggled, allowing two quarterback sacks and two quarterback hurries according to Pro Football Focus. Kalil also blew his assignment on a blocked field goal that defensive end Chandler Jones deflected and ran 58 yards for a touchdown.

“The guy he went up against yesterday, [Jones] probably went to Canton yesterday,” Zimmer said. He had a great game. He blocked a field goal, scored a touchdown, but Matt is still working on some things. We talked a little bit this morning about some things. He’s going to have to continue to get better. We’re going to have to get him better, and we expect him to get better.”

Zimmer didn’t feel cornerback Xavier Rhodes dealt with confidence issues after his performance on Sunday. He was called multiple times for penalties.

“Obviously we don’t want penalties defensively, but the good thing is if you want to take a positive out of that is we’re pretty darn close to all the receivers in those situations,” Zimmer said. “We’ve got to keep perfecting the technique of not only being in the right place and contesting catches but not committing fouls.”

Rick Spielman, Vikings justify reinstating Adrian Peterson

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 16th at 6:27am 275173461

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman spoke for about 12 minutes to the media on Monday about the team’s decision to reinstate running back Adrian Peterson.

Spielman said the Vikings will lean on the legal process with Peterson, who is charged with one count of injury to a child in Montgomery County (Texas).

“I understand this is a difficult thing to handle, but we feel strongly as an organization that this is disciplining a child,” Spielman said. “Whether it’s an abusive situation or not, whether he went too far disciplining, we feel strongly that that is the court’s decision to make.”

Spielman said the team did not have all the information regarding Peterson’s situation on Friday but gathered more evidence over the weekend. They concluded that Peterson should practice this week and play on Sunday against the Saints.

The Vikings opted to reinstate Peterson after previous incidents regarding less prominent players brought different actions from the organization. Cornerback Chris Cook was suspended with pay in 2011 after he was charged with felony domestic assault by strangulation. Cornerback A.J. Jefferson was released by the team hours after he was arrested for domestic violence last year.

“It has nothing to do with him as a football player,” Spielman said. “It has to do based purely on the facts that we have that have been presented to us.”

Spielman said he did not know in June about Peterson’s situation, which occurred on or around May 18 according to the indictment. Peterson talked to a grand jury and two police authorities without a lawyer about the matter before he was finally indicted on September 11.

“When you look at the photos, the photos are disturbing,” Spielman said. “I understand that, but to be clear, any matter that’s involving the child is very important to this organization. But we also think it’s important that he goes through the process legally.”

Jerome Felton supports Peterson, discusses childhood discipline

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 15th at 3:06pm 275161401

Vikings fullback Jerome Felton was among the many players in the locker room that came out in support of running back Adrian Peterson’s reinstatement on Monday, but he was also asked about Peterson’s choice of discipline.

Peterson has been charged with one count of injury to a child, allegedly using a switch to whip his child as a form of punishment.

“I’m from the South, so I probably got it a little worse than that,” Felton said. “I guess people have different opinions, and you’ll have to judge for yourself. But yes, I’ve probably had it a couple times. I’m from the South so maybe it’s a little more common down there than up here.”

The Madisonville, Tenn. native was then asked what impact it had on his life.

“I feel like I’m a better person for it,” Felton said. “I had direction under my family. My mother cared about me a lot, and I know people that didn’t have parents that cared and didn’t discipline them that turned out a lot different than I did. It’s a personal judgment; some people will like it, some people won’t, but that’s on them.”

Felton said he found out about Peterson’s return on Twitter, but he hasn’t spent much time on the social media site. Felton posted this tweet this morning.

“I haven’t been on Twitter that much lately, because I know with social media how it is these days,” Felton said. “It gets pretty rough out there.

“It’s a lot different world than what it was 10 years ago or for when I even got in the league seven years ago. It’s contributed a lot, but at the same time, we need to focus on us.”

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