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: Vikings pass defense on the rise, Barr gets some love and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated October 30th at 7:34am 280906972

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

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— The numbers mislead a little, but the Vikings pass defense is much improved.

— The Vikings are getting great pass-rushing push from their defensive tackles.

— Rookie OLB Anthony Barr was named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week.

— Veteran DE Brian Robison missed yesterday’s practice with a gluteal injury.

— Coach Mike Zimmer downplayed the matchup with Redskins coach Jay Gruden.

— Rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater feels comfortable running the two-minute drill.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— Robert Griffin III will start at quarterback against the Vikings this weekend.

— The Redskins picked the right kicker when they stuck with Kai Forbath.

— MLB Keenan Robinson is bringing physicality to the Redskins defense.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

The coordinators will be at the podium after the morning walkthrough. Practice is at 12:50 p.m.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

The MMQB website unveiled its midseason All-Pro team yesterday, and only one Vikings player received recognition. That was S Harrison Smith, who was a second-team selection behind Earl Thomas of the Seahawks and Troy Polamalu of the Steelers. This is just one list, but it does get you thinking about possible Pro Bowl selections. If Smith keeps playing at his current level, he will likely be headed to Arizona for the game. But will any teammates join him? Barr and DE Everson Griffen have produced the kind of splash plays and gaudy statistics to get attention. As for the offense, the Vikings, sans RB Adrian Peterson, haven’t come close to producing a legitimate candidate.

Robison sidelined with 'glute' injury

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated October 30th at 6:44am 280833812

Left defensive end Brian Robison, who has missed only two games in his eight-year career, didn’t practice today and is listed on the injury report with a “glute” injury. He played a season-low 40 snaps (67 percent) in Sunday’s win at Tampa Bay.

Also listed as having not practiced are tight end Kyle Rudolph (hernia surgery) and backup cornerback Jabari Price (hamstring).

Listed as having limited participation are: Cornerback Josh Robinson (ankle), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (ankle/knee), linebacker Gerald Hodges (hamstring), safety Antone Exum (shoulder/ankle) and tight end Chase Ford (foot).

Two-minute drills helping Teddy B think less (which he likes)

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated October 30th at 6:45am 280817402

Teddy Bridgewater still thinks he’s thinking too much.

Asked what he’s working on, the Vikings rookie quarterback said, “Just think less. Go out there and play pitch and catch.

“I have to keep telling myself to stop thinking so much. Our coaches are calling great plays to allow me to think less. But still, being a young player, I try to be perfect and find myself thinking too much. I have to trust my teammates and trust everything that I’m being taught and let those guys make plays.”

Bridgewater said the extra thinking has caused him to hold the ball extra long, which tends to get him clobbered in the pocket extra times. But that has improved the past three weeks.

“You’re talking about being sacked eight times, five times and then one time [on Sunday in Tampa],” Bridgewater said. “Our offensive line is doing a great job. I think I’ve been struggling holding on to the ball a lot and causing those guys to have to block for extra seconds. Coaches have been on me to get rid of the ball and play faster and the past three weeks, we’ve made those improvements.”

The one area of the offense that tends to shut Teddy’s brain off to his liking is the two-minute segment.

“Sometimes in the two-minute drills, defenses aren’t able to get too many defensive calls to do the exotic things they do with their blitzes and changing their fronts,” Bridgewater said. “It’s one of those deals where you know what you’re going to get from the defenses and you just go out there and play fast.”

Sunday in Tampa, Bridgewater directed scoring drives as time expired at the end of each half. The first one gave the Vikings a 3-0 lead. The second one sent the game into overtime.

Overall, Bridgewater completed 8 of 12 passes to four different receivers for 92 yards and six first downs. One of the incompletions was a spike to stop the clock.

Sunday, Bridgewater faces a Redskins defense that ranks 11th overall, seventh against the pass and eighth in sacks per pass play with 21 sacks.

“We don’t face many 3-4 teams, but I’m pretty sure our guys have experience facing those teams with those different fronts,”  Bridgewater said. “They’re able to do different things to cause havoc in your pass protection schemes. But I’m pretty sure we’re going to put together a scheme that’s going to allow us to play fast and think less.”

Robison, Price, Rudolph not practicing

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated October 29th at 3:50pm 280814552

Defensive end Brian Robison, cornerback Jabari Price and tight end Kyle Rudolph weren’t practicing during the portion of practice open to reporters this afternoon.

Linebacker Gerald Hodges, who missed the past two games because of a hamstring injury, and guard Vladimir Ducasse, who missed last week’s game because of a knee injury, were back in pads.

Cornerback Josh Robinson, who played last week despite being questionable because of an ankle injury, appeared to be limited toward the end of the open period.

Rudolph, who is recovering from hernia surgery, was running off to the side of the practice field.

UPDATE: Robison is listed on the injury report with a "glute" injury. He played a season-low 40 snaps (67 percent) in Sunday's victory.

Also listed as having not practiced are Rudolph (hernia surgery) and Price (hamstring).

Listed as having limited participation are: Cornerback Josh Robinson (ankle), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (ankle/knee), linebacker Gerald Hodges (hamstring), safety Antone Exum (shoulder/ankle) and tight end Chase Ford (foot).

Recovering Cassel upbeat, trying to help Vikings

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated October 30th at 7:36am 280807222

Quarterback Matt Cassel made an appearance in the open locker room today and was in much better spirits than he was five weeks ago, when he said he was “devastated” his season was over.

Cassel was all smiles when he scooted into the locker room, his surgically-repaired left foot still elevated on a cart, and he acknowledged it took a little time for him to come to grips with his injury.

“Anytime you have an injury and you’re out for a substantial amount of time, especially since this has been the longest I’ve been out at any time during my career, being out for the season,” the veteran said, “it’s always difficult at first. I think you try to find different ways to still be involved.”

Cassel attends meetings and will point out things to rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

“I think Teddy’s done a tremendous job in a difficult situation,” Cassel said.

He also asked the coaching staff for projects to work on, such as a review of their red-zone offense.

“Oh, I miss it. Anytime you get something taken away, especially your job, it’s always difficult,” he said. “But I’m staying involved. I’m coming in every single day. I’ve been in meetings every day. That part has kept my moral high. I’ve spent a little extra time with the family. That’s been great. But at the same time, you definitely miss the competitiveness of being out there on a daily basis and Sunday.”

Cassel said his recovery is going well. The shattered bones in his foot are healing. And in a couple of weeks, the three wires that were inserted into his foot to keep some of the bones in place will be removed, allowing him to start walking and perhaps by the end of the season throwing footballs.

Cassel has even found a silver lining with the wires that are sticking out of his foot.

“So for Halloween, I think it would probably be a pretty good look,” he joked.

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Calgary 4
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Troy 10 FINAL
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Cincinnati 38 FINAL
Tulane 14
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Memphis 40
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(12) Baylor
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Wyoming
(12) Baylor 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(19) Oklahoma
(11) Kansas State 11/8/14 2:00 AM
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Hamilton 34 FINAL
Ottawa 25
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
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Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
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