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.
Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph spoke to the media for the first time on Tuesday since he was shot in his calf on Aug. 9. He hasn’t participated in practice since the injury, but Joseph expects to be ready for Week 1 against the Rams.
Joseph said he’s been conditioning indoors over the past week, but Joseph increased his workload on Monday while running outside for the first time.
“My concern right now from the jump was just to do what I love, which is to play football,” Joseph said. “I just thank God that it was just a clean wound, straight in and straight out, and it’s behind me now. I’m glad I’m healthy and can help this team.”
Joseph, in his first year with the Vikings after four seasons with the Giants, was among nine people shot at a downtown Minneapolis club the same night the Vikings defeated the Raiders, 10-6, in their preseason opener at TCF Bank Stadium.
“For all the victims who were involved and seriously hurt, I wish them a speedy recovery as well,” Joseph said. “You never wish for anything like that to happen to anybody.”
The 25-year-old would not go into details about the night of the shooting but described it as a “scary” moment that has changed his perspective on life.
“It’s just a flash and just makes you think about everything you’ve done in your life,” Joseph said. “I’m 25 years old and feel like I have a lot left to accomplish with my job and just my life. I’m just glad I have the opportunity to do that.”
Every Monday, well Tuesday in this case, we’ll take four questions from Twitter for our weekly mailbag using the #VikingsST hashtag.
After seeing the offense and defense in progressive what is legit chances of ten wins? What do you see our record #VikingsST
— zach sween (@1Sween) August 25, 2014
The Vikings will be an improved team, but I don’t think that will result in 10 wins. Yes, unlike other sports leagues, there’s always a team that jumps from worst to first in the NFL. I just don’t think it’ll be this team.
The Vikings have shown some good signs in the preseason, especially on offense. The defense is the biggest concern and will decide if the Vikings are that surprise team, or just another average team. It’s easy to get your hopes up with the team 3-0. Thoughts of a playoff berth and 10 wins creep in, but it’s the preseason. The record doesn’t mean a thing and it could play out dramatically different at the start of the regular season.
I had the Vikings at 7-9 before the season. With Rams quarterback Sam Bradford out for the season, I bumped it to 8-8. It still projects as a third place finish, ahead of the Lions, in my opinion.
— Anthony Skubic (@Skubzy) August 25, 2014
Not every first rounder makes an immediate impact as a rookie and there’s seems to be a lofty expectation every year on all first round picks to do just that. If a player fails to exceed that, he’s immediately a bust apparently.
Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd lost weight in the offseason, removing red meat and pork from his diet, but he’s continued to develop all-around as a defensive tackle. Floyd’s getting more opportunities now as the starting three-technique tackle rather than serving as a backup last year. He played very well the last two games, specifically his pass rushing ability, and we’ll see if he can carry that play into the regular season. Remember, it’s his second season. There will still be some growing pains Floyd will experience throughout the season, especially in a new scheme. He’ll need to show progress, however, similar to how he’s performed in the preseason.
— Josh Betts (@BettsSportsBeat) August 25, 2014
Matt Asiata has been very impressive during preseason, including as an option in pass situations out the backfield. McKinnon can be a third down back and used at times in the pass offense in two-back formation, but Asiata is Adrian Peterson’s backup.
It’ll be interesting to watch when offensive coordinator Norv Turner uses McKinnon to start the season. He brings a change-of-pace to big backs like Peterson and Asiata, but how often will Turner want that? Although he does provide the flexibility, it doesn’t appear that McKinnon will get too many snaps early in the year.
— Chris Duncanson (@SpyderFenix) August 25, 2014
Head coach Mike Zimmer might’ve reference the cornerback as “the other guy” last week, but cut him?
Yes, he’ll make the team.
The Vikings made their final roster move on Tuesday to reach the maximum 75-player limit before the 3 p.m. CT deadline.
The team waived tight end Mike Higgins, a day after activating Chase Ford off the physically unable to perform list.
Here’s a recap of the other 14 players the Vikings released or waived with an injury on Monday.
The Vikings face the Titans on Thursday, then have until 3 p.m. CT on Saturday to finalize their 53-man roster for the regular season.
Every weekday, our Vikings reporters walk you through what’s happening with the team that day.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Head coach Mike Zimmer named Matt Cassel his starting quarterback.
— Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater still thinks Minnesota is a perfect situation for him.
— S Mistral Raymond and CB Derek Cox were among the team’s first roster cuts.
— The Vikings activated TE Chase Ford from the PUP list.
— Zimmer is apparently not a big fan of Pro Football Focus.
TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) August 25, 2014
AROUND THE NFC NORTH
— Jimmy Clausen won the battle to be the Bears’ backup quarterback.
— Rookie C Corey Linsley must step up with J.C. Tretter sidelined.
— The Lions claimed two tight ends off of waivers.
TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE
After the morning walkthrough, coordinators Norv Turner and George Edwards will chat with reporters at 11 a.m. and the locker room will be open. The Vikings start practice at 12:50 p.m.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Zimmer cares not for the grades from Pro Football Focus, but he may not mind seeing that they have graded Everson Griffen the third highest among 4-3 defensive ends during the preseason. They have Griffen down for eight total quarterback pressures in 53 total snaps as a pass rusher.
Tight end Chase Ford was activated off the physically unable to perform list on Monday. He participated in his first practice since minicamp after missing all of training camp and three preseason games with a broken left foot.
“It feels real good to be back,” Ford said.
It was Zimmer’s first chance to see Ford in pads. Zimmer said Ford has been cleared to do everything based on the rehab reports he’s received.
“We’ll have to see what kind of condition he is in, his recall for the plays,” Zimmer said. “He’s been out here and watching but that doesn’t mean that he knows the plays and being able to execute them and what kind of blocking he does. These next 13 days will be important for him.”
While Ford returned, there were 11 players either sidelined with an injury or absent from practice. Wide receiver Rodney Smith, offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle), defensive tackle Fred Evans, nose tackle Linval Joseph (leg), linebacker Gerald Hodges (knee), cornerback Jabari Price and safety Jamarca Sanford (quad) did not participate but were at practice.
Joseph, Hodges and Price all worked on conditioning during the start of practice. While the injury is unknown, Smith landed awkwardly on his neck recovering an onside kick late in Saturday’s game against the Chiefs.
Linebacker Anthony Barr, safety Chris Crocker and linebackers Michael Mauti and Brandon Watts were not on the practice field.
|Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta||2||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod||7|
|NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley||2||FINAL|
|Detroit - WP: P. Coke||3|
|Colorado - LP: J. Lyles||1||FINAL|
|San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit||4|
|Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates||4||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: A. Miller||5|
|Atlanta - WP: M. Minor||6||FINAL|
|NY Mets - LP: J. Niese||1|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco||3||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - LP: J. Danks||2|
|Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak||11||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: B. Chen||5|
|Texas - LP: R. Mendez||2||FINAL|
|Houston - WP: C. McHugh||4|
|Oakland - LP: R. Cook||3||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: F. Salas||4|
|(21) Texas A&M||52||FINAL|
|(9) So Carolina||28|
|(18) Ole Miss||35|
|(19) Arizona State||45|
|(6) Jacksonville St||6:30 PM|
|(8) Michigan State|
|Bowling Green||6:30 PM|
|TX-San Antonio||8:00 PM|
|Colorado State||8:00 PM|
|Penn State||8/30/14 7:30 AM|
|Troy||8/30/14 11:00 AM|
|(7) UCLA||8/30/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Mich||8/30/14 11:00 AM|
|(5) Ohio State||8/30/14 11:00 AM|
|Appalachian St||8/30/14 11:00 AM|
|Ga Southern||8/30/14 11:30 AM|
|Boston College||8/30/14 2:00 PM|
|West Virginia||8/30/14 2:30 PM|
|Rice||8/30/14 2:30 PM|
|(17) Notre Dame|
|(10) South Dakota St||8/30/14 2:30 PM|
|Fla Atlantic||8/30/14 2:30 PM|
|California||8/30/14 2:30 PM|
|Marshall||8/30/14 2:30 PM|
|UC Davis||8/30/14 3:00 PM|
|Arkansas||8/30/14 3:00 PM|
|(16) Clemson||8/30/14 4:30 PM|
|Liberty||8/30/14 5:00 PM|
|(23) North Carolina|
|Ohio U||8/30/14 5:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||8/30/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||8/30/14 6:00 PM|
|Stephen F Austin||8/30/14 6:10 PM|
|(20) Kansas State|
|Fresno State||8/30/14 6:30 PM|
|Southern Miss||8/30/14 6:30 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||8/30/14 7:00 PM|
|North Texas||8/30/14 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State||8/30/14 7:00 PM|
|(14) Wisconsin||8/30/14 8:00 PM|
|South Dakota||8/30/14 9:30 PM|
|(25) Washington||8/30/14 9:30 PM|
|Utah State||8/31/14 6:00 PM|
|SMU||8/31/14 6:30 PM|
|Miami-Florida||9/1/14 7:00 PM|
|Arizona||9/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Winnipeg||8/31/14 3:00 PM|
|Toronto||9/1/14 12:00 PM|
|Edmonton||9/1/14 3:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||9/5/14 6:30 PM|
|Calgary||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Hamilton||9/7/14 12:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||9/7/14 3:00 PM|