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.
We’re tracking all things Purple, starting with what’s already happened and projecting what needs to happen as the Vikings work their way through free agency and the rest of the offseason.
Another day, another twist in the Peterson soap opera — though it’s clear who is writing this script.
Yahoo Sports reports that General Manager Rick Spielman invited Adrian Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, to dinner at the owners meetings next week. Dogra shut him down, much like what would happen if you or I were to ask Gisele Bündchen out to a romantic dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Maybe Dogra has other plans. But more likely it seems that this might be another attempt for the super-agent to try to create leverage for Peterson in a situation in which the running back has none.
We know Peterson is disgruntled, but he isn’t publicly saying why. It could be that he wants a new deal that gives him guaranteed money beyond 2015, something the contract he signed in 2011 will not provide him. Or maybe he really does want out, as has been speculated by national media.
But the reality is he is under contract with the Vikings through 2017, and the team still plans on keeping him around this season. That’s why the reports a couple of days ago that said that Spielman told Dogra that Peterson will not be released should have been met with intense eye rolls.
Of course they aren’t going to release him and give away a future Hall of Fame back for nothing.
If AP does stiff-arm his way out of town, it will be via a trade. But as I said a couple of paragraphs ago and a couple of weeks ago, the Vikings don’t plan on doing that as things stand now.
So Spielman might be dining alone at the owners meetings as Team Peterson digs its heels in again.
Free-agent safety Taylor Mays has left Winter Park without any deal announced by the Vikings.
Mays, who played for coach Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati, arrived in town yesterday for his visit. He was scheduled to have dinner with team officials last night and check out the team’s facility today.
In five NFL seasons with two teams, Mays made 98 tackles, recorded one sack and forced one fumble. The 27-year-old has broken up six passes and is still looking for his first NFL interception.
Originally a second-round pick of the 49ers, he joined Zimmer and the Bengals in 2011 and played 50 games for the team over the past four seasons. Mays was mostly a backup, but when Zimmer was in Cincinnati, he used Mays in a hybrid safety-linebacker role in some of his sub packages.
The Vikings are looking to upgrade at safety next to Harrison Smith, but it’s unclear if Zimmer sees Mays as a potential candidate to start or is looking to bring him in to reassume that reserve role.
In addition to the Vikings, the Bengals and the Redskins also reportedly have interest in Mays.
The Vikings have signed former Packers, Steelers and Jaguars running back DuJuan Harris to a one-year deal. His agent, Andy Simms, announced the signing on Twitter.
The 26-year-old rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries in 15 games with the Packers in 2014. He also returned 22 kickoffs for 456 yards.
Harris started his career in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of Troy. He played five games for the Jaguars that year, rushing for 42 yards on nine carries.
After a brief stint with the Steelers in which he didn’t appear in a game, he joined the Packers’ practice squad in 2012. He ended up starting two games for the Packers that season and totaled 157 yards and two touchdowns in four games.
Harris, who is listed at 5-foot-8 and 203 pounds, missed the entire 2013 season a knee injury.
With Harris signed, the Vikings now have seven running backs on their roster. The others are Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard, Henry Josey, Jerick McKinnon, Domonique Williams and, yes, Adrian Peterson.
The NFLPA announced today that veteran Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has won the Byron “Whizzer” White Award, given to the NFL player who best “serves his team, community and country.”
Greenway, who has spent his entire career with the Vikings, founded his Lead the Way Foundation in 2008. The foundation, which serves families in Minnesota and his home state of South Dakota, provides resources and opportunities to chronically and critically ill children and their families.
Greenway, the team’s Man of the Year for 2014, is involved in other charitable endeavors, too.
Greenway was nominated by his teammates and edged out four other finalists — Dustin Colquitt, Malcolm Jenkins, Jameel McClain and Charles Tillman — to win the award, along with a $100,000 donation from the NFLPA to his Lead the Way Foundation.
“I can’t tell you what an honor this is. There are so many good guys in this league, and it is such an honor to be part of this group of men,” Greenway said today while receiving the award in Maui. “This foundation is something that my wife Jenni and I wanted to do as an example for our children, to use this platform of the NFL to do better and do more.”
Greenway is the second Vikings player to win the award since it was established in 1967. Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter also won it back in 1999.
The Vikings have kept tabs on free-agent safety Taylor Mays since the start of free agency. Now they are bringing Mays, yet another of head coach Mike Zimmer’s former Bengals, in for a visit.
Mays will be in town tonight for dinner with team officials and will visit Winter Park tomorrow, a league source confirmed. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported that Mays will visit.
I wrote about Mays a couple weeks ago when the Vikings first expressed interest. A second-round pick of the 49ers in 2010, Mays joined the Bengals in 2011 and played 50 games for them, mostly as a backup. Mays played a significant role as a sub-package defender when Zimmer was with the Bengals. But with Zimmer in Minnesota in 2014, Mays had a reduced role on the Cincinnati defense.
In five NFL seasons with two teams, Mays made 98 tackles, recorded one sack and forced one fumble. The 27-year-old has broken up six passes and has yet to record an interception in the NFL.
Mays will become the third former Bengals defender to visit the Twin Cities in the past week.
Free-agent defensive end Michael Johnson was in town over the weekend, but he rejoined the Bengals instead of reuniting with Zimmer with the Vikings. Veteran cornerback Terence Newman visited the Vikings on Monday and has yet to choose his team for the 2015 season.
|Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman||4||FINAL|
|Detroit - WP: J. Nathan||6|