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 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:30 PM
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
New Orleans 6:30 PM
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
New York 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Orlando 7:00 PM
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Memphis 9:00 PM
Minnesota 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
NY Islanders 2 3rd Prd 19:23
Washington 3
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Montreal 6:00 PM
Detroit 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Carolina 6:00 PM
Vancouver 6:00 PM
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Edmonton 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Minnesota 7:30 PM
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 56 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 67 1st OT 3:20
St Francis-NY 64
Middle Tennessee 19 2nd Half 19:49
Cincinnati 39
Char Southern 17 2nd Half
Florida State 29
Princeton 28 2nd Half 20:00
San Diego 40
Drake 21 2nd Half 18:33
Valparaiso 34
Rice 31 1st Half 1:20
Washington St 37
USC Upstate 28 1st Half 1:56
Cal State Fullerton 31
Rider 14 1st Half 7:20
Georgia Tech 21
High Point 6:00 PM
Emerson 6:00 PM
Savannah State 2 1st Half 18:54
Jacksonville St 3
Monmouth 6:00 PM
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Boise State 0 1st Half 19:25
NC State 0
Vanderbilt 0 1st Half 20:00
Rutgers 0
Gonzaga 6:00 PM
St Johns
Holy Cross 6:00 PM
Bradley 6:00 PM
Alabama State 6:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Tennessee St 6:30 PM
Saint Peters
North Carolina 7:00 PM
Memphis 7:00 PM
Indiana State
Hofstra 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Samford 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Cleveland State 7:00 PM
UT Martin 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana 7:00 PM
Creighton 7:30 PM
Ole Miss
Murray State 7:30 PM
North Texas 8:00 PM
UNC Greensboro 8:00 PM
Michigan State 8:00 PM
Western Mich 8:00 PM
San Jose St
Stetson 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Texas-Arlington 8:05 PM
Montana State
Pacific 8:30 PM
Colorado State
Miss State 8:30 PM
Saint Louis
La Salle 8:30 PM
North Dakota 9:00 PM
UCLA 9:30 PM
Baylor 9:30 PM
Long Beach State 10:30 PM
Mercer 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
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 4th Qtr 0:45
Air Force 24
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
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
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
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
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
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
(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
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
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
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
(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
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 2nd Half 0:17
Idaho State 72
IUPUI 41 2nd Half 11:38
Texas Southern 48
East Carolina 38 2nd Half 13:08
Wisconsin 29
USC 45 2nd Half
Sam Houston St 28
Minnesota 20 2nd Half 19:36
Vanderbilt 24
Kent State 20 2nd Half
TX A&M-CC 26
Montana 22 2nd Half 20:00
Princeton 43
(9) Kentucky 35 2nd Half
Oklahoma 38
Arizona 35 2nd Half 15:27
FIU 35
Northern Ky 20 2nd Half
Grand Canyon 28
Stetson 35 2nd Half 16:40
Marist 25
Oral Roberts 5:30 PM
American Univ 21 1st Half 3:22
Gonzaga 17
UAB 16 1st Half 6:05
Loyola Marymount 27
Stony Brook 9 1st Half 9:46
(8) Duke 18
TCU 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Monmouth 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 6:00 PM
Alcorn State 6:00 PM
Lafayette 6:00 PM
(12) Louisville
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(5) Stanford 0 1st Half 18:35
(11) North Carolina 2
Portland 0 1st Half 20:00
Nevada 0
Florida 5 1st Half 16:53
Georgetown 7
SE Missouri St 6:05 PM
Southern Ill
Florida A&M 7:00 PM
Northern Colorado 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Montana State 7:00 PM
(22) Syracuse 7:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Dartmouth 7:00 PM
Cal Poly
Utah State 7:00 PM
(13) Baylor
Toledo 7:00 PM
Christian Brothers 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
South Florida 7:15 PM
Coll of Charleston 7:30 PM
(3) Connecticut
Wake Forest 7:30 PM
San Jose St 7:30 PM
(14) California
Central Michigan 8:00 PM
Fresno State 8:00 PM
San Diego
Boston U 8:00 PM
New Mexico
Missouri State 8:30 PM
Ole Miss 8:30 PM
Prairie View 8:30 PM
Army 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Cincinnati 9:30 PM


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