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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Vikings sign cornerback from Canadian league

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated January 15th at 12:00pm 288699561

The Vikings signed versatile cornerback Jalil Carter to a reserve/future contract.

Carter spent the past three seasons with Toronto of the Canadian Football League. He is 6-2 and 205 pounds, and played college football at Akron, where he was a safety and receiver. He signed with St. Louis as an undrafted free agent in 2011.

Spielman defends Peterson's character, wants his return, but can't guarantee it will happen

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated January 14th at 1:20pm 288575771

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman repeated coach Mike Zimmer’s earlier comments that the Vikings would like for suspended running back Adrian Peterson to return to the team in 2015, but stopped short of saying that will happen once Peterson is eligible to be reinstated on April 15.

“I don’t know if there’s a team in the NFL that wouldn’t want Adrian Peterson on the football team,” Spielman told a small group of reporters at Winter Park this morning. “If you can name me one. And I don’t want to speak for other teams. I’m being a little sarcastic with that. But I know he’s a pretty good football player.”

Peterson played only the season opener in 2014 after serving part of the season on the commissioner’s exempt list and then being suspended once he pleaded to a misdemeanor charge in relation to the injuries he caused while using a switch to discipline his 4-year-old son. Spielman defended Peterson’s character while acknowledging that he made a mistake.

“I think people tend to forget that when Adrian did make a mistake, he admitted he made a mistake,” Spielman said. “He went through the process in the court system. He’s currently suspended by the NFL right now, but he’s done a lot of positive things in this community as well.

“I’ve known Adrian his whole career and what type of person Adrian is. But I also know that we have to follow everything that’s put in place for us. Is there a resolution? Not right now. All I know is where we stand today. Does that change? I’m sure it’s going to change. Until those things change and get resolved, right now, we have Adrian Peterson, who is under contract for next year, who is currently suspended by the NFL. That’s pretty much all I can go into right now.”

Spielman deflected a point-blank question on whether the Vikings can afford Peterson’s current salary cap figure of $15.4 million.

“I’m not going to get into anything from a business-related standpoint with not only his, but any player’s contract,” Spielman said. “That’s stuff that we’ve always handled internally. I will always keep the business side of players contract internal.”

Taking the cap numbers and off-the-field issues out of play, it’s obvious where Spielman stands on Peterson, the player.

“Zim has expressed his opinion on Adrian,” said Spielman, referring to Zimmer’s earlier comments about wanting Peterson to return. “And there’s no doubt or no question on what Adrian Peterson has done for this organization on the field and what he is as a football player.”

Peterson will turn 30 this year. Normally, that’s ancient for most running backs. Spielman said Peterson isn’t a normal running back, so it’s probably a good idea not to assume things about AP. After all, it was assumed he wouldn’t be the same after having surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Then he came back and ran for 2,097 yards and won MVP honors.

“The only thing I would say about Adrian is Adrian is maybe one of the most unique players I’ve ever been around,” Spielman said. “Everybody talked about how he’s not going to be the same after his ACL. And that was his best year, coming back from that.

“Knowing Adrian, I know that he is going to want to come back and play. He’s going to play at a very high level when he comes back. I’m anticipating that, just knowing what he’s done in the past.”

Under rules of Peterson’s suspension, the team has not  been allowed to have contact with him. That makes it even more difficult for the Vikings when it comes to figuring out how this all will end.

“All I know is where we are today,” Spielman said. “I’m not going to get into all the hypothetical discussions we have internally.

“I’ll just stick by with what I said. I know that Adrian is a good person, just being around him. I know he’s done a lot of good in this community. What he did – he just came out and said he made a mistake. As Zim had stated earlier, he has to get all that in order and then we’ll proceed from there.”

Teddy Bridgewater named to PFWA All-Rookie team

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated January 13th at 6:57pm 288428961

A Vikings player finally received a postseason honor, and it’s none other than quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

The Pro Football Writers of America named Bridgewater to its All-Rookie team on Tuesday. Bridgewater finished with 2,919 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with an 85.2 quarterback rating in 13 games (12 starts).

He won the award over Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who started the entire season and had 3,270 yards, 21 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 76.6 quarterback rating.

The Vikings struck out on the PFWA All-NFL and All-NFC teams announced on Monday. They also didn’t have a representative on the AP All-Pro team or the Pro Bowl.

Bridgewater is also up for Rookie of the Year (You can vote here on the award)  with Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans, Bengals running back Jeremy Hill, Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins and Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was named PFWA’s Rookie of the Year.

Here’s the complete PFWA All-Rookie Team:

Offense
QB – Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
RB – Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals; Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams
WR – Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants; Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TE – Jace Amaro, New York Jets
C – Corey Linsley, Green Bay Packers
G – Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns; Zach Martin, Dallas Cowboys
T – Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans; Ja’Wuan James, Miami Dolphins
Defense
DL – Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams; Timmy Jernigan, Baltimore Ravens; Kony Ealy, Carolina Panthers; Justin Ellis, Oakland Raiders
LB – Chris Borland, San Francisco 49ers; Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders; C.J. Mosley, Baltimore Ravens
CB – Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears; E.J. Gaines, St. Louis Rams
S – Deone Bucannon, Arizona Cardinals; Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay Packers
Special Teams
PK – Cody Parkey, Philadelphia Eagles
P – Pat O’Donnell, Chicago Bears
KR – Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
PR – De’Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs
ST – Trey Burton, Philadelphia Eagles

Craig: NFL divisional playoff predictions

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated January 10th at 11:02am 288144081

Well, at least the regular season predictions – 146-90-1 straight up and 125-111-1 – went fairly well.

And the start of last week’s wild-card round went as expected when the Panthers won. But after that, well …

Last week’s final record: 1-3 straight up and 2-2 versus the spread.

The Lions pick was a reach that was understood at the time it was made. Picking the Bengals was a lesson in the value of paying closer attention to key injuries (Note: When all the playmakers are injured, pick the other team, especially if the other team is at home).  And the Steelers losing at home was a surprise that shouldn’t have been a surprise considering Joe Flacco now has an NFL-record seven road playoff wins. Really. Joe Flacco. Look it up.

Here are four more swings at the NFL Divisional playoff games this weekend. All four home teams are favored even though we all know there’s no way all four home teams do what they’re supposed to do over two days in the NFL:

Ravens plus-7 at Patriots: Patriots by 3

Why?: New England has its best defense in years. Tom Brady is, well, Tom Brady. And the Patriots have spent a week being told they’re 1-2 against Joe Flacco in the postseason the past five years.

Panthers plus-11 at Seahawks: Seahawks by 14

Why?: The Panthers have won five straight while holding those five losers to an average of 11.8 points per game. But the Seahawks are 24-2 at home with Russell Wilson at quarterback. And they joined the 1976 Steelers as the only team in NFL history to win its final six regular-season games while holding those six teams to fewer than 40 total points (39).

Cowboys plus-5 ½ at Packers: Packers by 7

Why?: Aaron Rodgers is the closest thing to a mistake-free quarterback the NFL has ever seen. Eddie Lacy provides balance and a power running game. And the defense helped the Packers outscore opponents 93-7 in the first quarter of the last seven games at Lambeau Field. Tony Romo has had a great season as well, but he’s a mistake waiting to happen.

Colts plus-7 at Broncos: Broncos by 3

Why?: The Colts lack the balance offensively to beat a much-improved Denver defense on the road. We say this while whistling past the proverbial graveyard that feels like this could be another one-and-done home outing for Peyton Manning, whose passing rhythm fell out of whack late in the year.

THE WILD-CARD ROUND

Record: 1-3. Versus spread: 2-2.

Final Regular-season Record: Last week/overall: 12-4/146-90-1. Versus spread: Last week/overall: 9-6-1/125-111-1.

Duron Carter: 'I would say Minnesota is probably my front-runner'

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated January 11th at 12:30am 288102611

The Vikings climbed to the top of CFL All-Star receiver Duron Carter’s list of preferred NFL teams to sign with after today’s workout at Winter Park.

“It went really well,” said Carter, the 23-year-old son of Vikings Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter. “I met everybody and it looked really good. I like Minnesota, I like the facilities, I like the coaches and everything. It seems like things are looking up. I would say Minnesota is probably my front-runner right now.”

Carter had already worked out for Tampa Bay, Indianapolis and Kansas City. He said he hasn’t ruled them out and plans to continue his tour of NFL teams with visits to Cleveland, Carolina, San Francisco and Washington. He said Cleveland is scheduled for next Friday, while Carolina could be as early as next week depending on the outcome of the Panthers’ playoff game at Seattle on Saturday.

Carter, who caught 75 passes for 1,030 yards and seven touchdowns for the Montreal Alouettes this season, can’t sign with an NFL team until Feb. 10. That’s the date that CFL players entering their option years are able to jump to the NFL.

“The Vikings are No. 1, but I might as well go around and see what everybody is talking about,” said Carter, a 6-5, 205-pounder who attended the Vikings’ 2013 rookie minicamp as a tryout invitee. “I can’t sign anyway.”

As for what impressed Carter the most about Winter Park, he said, “It was kind of incomparable to the other places I’ve been so far. I was running around that facility when I was a kid. Going back and see some of the same people still there, it was kind of like a homecoming.

“Just talking to [receivers] coach [George] Stewart and coach [Norv] Turner [the offensive coordinator], I seemed a lot more comfortable working out with them and talking to them than a lot of other places.”

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Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
New York 71 FINAL
Charlotte 76
Detroit 86 FINAL
Milwaukee 101
Philadelphia 83 FINAL
Memphis 101
Brooklyn 73 FINAL
Utah 108
Washington 96 FINAL
Portland 103
Wake Forest 57 FINAL
Clemson 59
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
Drexel 53
Tulsa 66 FINAL
East Carolina 64
Oklahoma State 53 FINAL
Kansas State 63
Rutgers 51 FINAL
Penn State 79
Iowa 63 FINAL
Purdue 67
Kentucky 58 FINAL
South Carolina 43
DePaul 76 FINAL
Xavier 89
Navy 65 FINAL
Holy Cross 76
Bucknell 92 FINAL
Boston Univ 77
Allen (SC) 46 FINAL
Furman 82
South Dakota 50 FINAL
IUPUI 65
Texas A&M 67 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Citadel 75 FINAL
Va Military 85
Jacksonville 59 FINAL
Northern Ky 81
Loyola-Chicago 61 FINAL
Indiana State 72
Boise State 77 FINAL
Air Force 68
Kent State 63 FINAL
Ball State 52
Loyola-Maryland 58 FINAL
Colgate 59
Duquesne 59 FINAL
George Washington 74
Dartmouth 70 FINAL
Harvard 61
Lehigh 75 FINAL
Lafayette 71
Arkansas 61 FINAL
Missouri 60
Florida State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Buffalo 61 FINAL
Ohio 63
Kansas 75 FINAL
Texas 62
TCU 85 FINAL
West Virginia 86
Akron 71 FINAL
Western Mich 69
Northeastern 62 FINAL
William & Mary 78
Brown 65 FINAL
Yale 69
Stetson 67 FINAL
USC Upstate 91
Denver 69 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 80
Fla Gulf Coast 54 FINAL
Kennesaw St 48
Illinois 71 FINAL
Minnesota 79
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Georgia State 75
Georgetown 95 FINAL
Marquette 85
St Francis-PA 40 FINAL
Mount St Marys 52
Texas-El Paso 71 FINAL
Marshall 78
Georgia 72 FINAL
Miss State 66
TX-San Antonio 74 FINAL
Western Ky 83
CS-Bakersfield 57 FINAL
Chicago State 41
MD-Eastern Shore 74 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 70
Presbyterian 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 63
Southern Ill 66 FINAL
Evansville 75
James Madison 69 FINAL
Hofstra 63
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Nebraska 79
Miami-Ohio 60 FINAL
Northern Ill 55
McNeese State 67 FINAL
Northwestern St 93
UCLA 64 FINAL
Oregon 82
Robert Morris 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 65
BYU 74 FINAL
San Diego 77
Miami-Florida 66 FINAL
Syracuse 62
Iowa State 73 FINAL
Texas Tech 78
Campbell 63 FINAL
Winthrop 71
New Mexico 62 FINAL
Wyoming 63
Sacred Heart 83 FINAL
Bryant 66
Austin Peay 56 FINAL
Eastern Ill 52
Eastern Mich 51 FINAL
Central Mich 65
Long Island 80 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 76
Liberty 76 FINAL
Radford 84
Coppin State 77 FINAL
NC Central 79
Northern Ariz 71 FINAL
Montana State 64
North Florida 75 FINAL
Lipscomb 66
North Dakota 80 FINAL
Eastern Wash 102
Arkansas State 64 FINAL
Troy 55
Old Dominion 68 FINAL
UAB 81
Gardner-Webb 80 FINAL
Char Southern 93
Morehead State 66 FINAL
Jacksonville St 63
Ga Southern 57 FINAL
ULM 53
Stephen F Austin 79 FINAL
Sam Houston St 68
Appalachian St 64 FINAL
Texas State 58
Nicholls 71 FINAL
Central Arkansas 61
Incarnate Word 77 FINAL
Abilene Christian 61
Alcorn State 60 FINAL
Alabama State 84
Texas-Arlington 75 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 68
Oklahoma 58 FINAL
Baylor 69
UNC Greensboro 72 FINAL
Chattanooga 81
Howard 59 FINAL
Florida A&M 50
Jackson State 74 FINAL
Grambling St 63
Charlotte 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 72
Florida 71 FINAL
Ole Miss 72
Prairie View 72 FINAL
Miss Valley St 65
Delaware State 67 FINAL
NC A&T 52
USC 55 FINAL
Oregon State 59
Norfolk State 76 FINAL
SC State 63
Houston 59 FINAL
SMU 80
LSU 79 FINAL
Vanderbilt 75
Hampton 66 FINAL
Savannah State 68
Cal State Fullerton 49 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 68
Wagner 50 FINAL
Central Conn St 53
Cornell 57 FINAL
Columbia 47
Richmond 60 FINAL
Dayton 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
Elon 94
Nevada 62 FINAL
Fresno State 66
Davidson 80 FINAL
George Mason 73
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
High Point 72
North Dakota St 71 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 77
Wisconsin 69 FINAL
Michigan 64
Canisius 46 FINAL
Rider 59
Penn 56 FINAL
Saint Josephs 52
Western Carolina 72 FINAL
Samford 78
SE Missouri St 53 FINAL
UT Martin 70
Bowling Green 67 FINAL
Toledo 71
East Tenn St 64 FINAL
Wofford 72
Ill-Chicago 64 FINAL
Youngstown St 77
Seattle 55 FINAL
UMKC 75
TX A&M-CC 71 FINAL
New Orleans 67
Southern U 65 FINAL
Alabama A&M 58
Missouri State 59 FINAL
Bradley 61
Washington St 58 FINAL
Colorado 90
Pacific 60 FINAL
Gonzaga 91
Utah State 77 FINAL
UNLV 79
Towson 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 69
Southern Miss 75 FINAL
North Texas 71
South Dakota St 76 FINAL
Oral Roberts 72
Louisiana Tech 58 FINAL
Rice 45
Grand Canyon 72 FINAL
TX-Pan American 73
Memphis 57 FINAL
Tulane 55
Murray State 60 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 54
Lamar 77 FINAL
Houston Baptist 79
Auburn 55 FINAL
Alabama 57
Texas Southern 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Southern Utah 56 FINAL
Montana 58
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
New Mexico St 69
Sacramento St 78 FINAL
Weber State 71
Portland State 76 FINAL
Idaho State 80
Eastern Ky 81 FINAL
Tenn Tech 83
UC Riverside 49 FINAL
Cal Poly 68
Long Beach State 64 FINAL
CS-Northridge 58
San Diego St 73 FINAL
Colorado State 79
Northern Colorado 79 FINAL
Idaho 83
St Marys-CA 74 FINAL
Portland 64
Loyola Marymount 70 FINAL
San Francisco 69
Arizona 73 FINAL
California 50
Pepperdine 57 FINAL
Santa Clara 60
UC Irvine 78 FINAL
Hawaii 72
Arizona State 70 FINAL
Stanford 89
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Middle Tennessee 84 FINAL
Charlotte 54
Kansas State 46 FINAL
(3) Baylor 68
Louisiana 63 FINAL
Georgia State 56
Sacred Heart 67 FINAL
Bryant 71
Wagner 61 FINAL
Central Conn St 77
Robert Morris 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
Presbyterian 51 FINAL
Winthrop 54
Akron 74 FINAL
Central Michigan 72
Davidson 47 FINAL
Duquesne 83
Dayton 75 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 56
George Washington 67 FINAL
La Salle 48
USC Upstate 44 FINAL
Stetson 67
Long Island 79 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 75
MD-Eastern Shore 65 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 75
Coppin State 58 FINAL
NC Central 59
Wofford 47 FINAL
East Tenn St 69
UNC Greensboro 49 FINAL
Western Carolina 70
Campbell 40 FINAL
Liberty 64
Charleston Southern 71 FINAL
Longwood 79
McNeese State 54 FINAL
Northwestern St 75
Coastal Carolina 61 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
High Point 58 FINAL
Radford 61
UAB 46 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
Penn 59 FINAL
NJIT 29
Austin Peay 66 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 63
West Virginia 59 FINAL
Kansas 65
Miami-Ohio 53 FINAL
Bowling Green 66
Northern Ill 43 FINAL
Buffalo 47
Eastern Michigan 75 FINAL
Toledo 61
Western Mich 78 FINAL
Kent State 55
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Siena 59
Boston U 56 FINAL
Bucknell 72
Colgate 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 45
Holy Cross 60 FINAL
Navy 44
Rhode Island 57 FINAL
George Mason 45
Massachusetts 44 FINAL
Richmond 64
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Saint Josephs 66
Cleveland State 65 FINAL
Wright State 82
Green Bay 75 FINAL
Detroit 58
Northern Ky 70 FINAL
Jacksonville 59
Lipscomb 71 FINAL
North Florida 62
Tulsa 74 FINAL
East Carolina 63
TCU 71 FINAL
Oklahoma St 62
Santa Clara 65 FINAL
Pepperdine 54
Denver 82 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 75
Incarnate Word 54 FINAL
Abilene Christian 78
Nicholls 75 FINAL
Central Arkansas 72
Furman 45 FINAL
Chattanooga 67
Nebraska Omaha 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 74
Stephen F Austin 64 FINAL
Sam Houston St 65
(24) Western Ky 63 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 64
Houston 49 FINAL
Memphis 84
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Jacksonville St 72
Prairie View 78 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Appalachian St 58 FINAL
Texas State 67
Arkansas State 82 FINAL
Troy 76
American Univ 60 FINAL
Army 68
Georgia Southern 66 FINAL
ULM 72
Illinois-Chicago 63 FINAL
Milwaukee 64
Youngstown St 82 FINAL
Oakland 85
Eastern Washington 82 FINAL
North Dakota 96
Texas Tech 64 FINAL
Oklahoma 70
San Diego 50 FINAL
BYU 54
Air Force 54 FINAL
Boise State 81
Portland 53 FINAL
St Marys-CA 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Wyoming 54 FINAL
New Mexico 60
Delaware State 38 FINAL
NC A&T 79
UNLV 72 FINAL
Utah State 85
Hampton 55 FINAL
Savannah State 61
Marshall 76 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 71
Norfolk State 75 FINAL
SC State 79
Boston College 70 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
Chicago State 58 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 83
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Alabama State 54
Jackson State 64 FINAL
Grambling 55
TX-Arlington 38 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 66
Fordham 50 FINAL
Saint Louis 54
Idaho 52 FINAL
Northern Colorado 70
Cornell 44 FINAL
Columbia 42
Ohio U 60 FINAL
Ball State 53
Gonzaga 73 FINAL
Pacific 63
San Francisco 74 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 65
St Francis-PA 64 FINAL
Mount St Marys 74
Colorado State 49 FINAL
San Diego State 36
Hawaii 85 FINAL
Cal-Irvine 50
Lamar 80 FINAL
Houston Baptist 64
TX A&M-CC 58 FINAL
New Orleans 46
Weber State 65 FINAL
Sacramento St 108
FIU 63 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 77
North Texas 55 FINAL
Southern Miss 67
Southern U 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
(6) Notre Dame 74 FINAL
Clemson 36
Murray State 52 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 78
SE Missouri St 55 FINAL
UT Martin 96
New Mexico St 68 FINAL
Utah Valley U 58
No Dakota State 66 FINAL
Western Ill 88
Harvard 75 FINAL
Dartmouth 69
Texas Southern 74 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 45
Belmont 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 62
Eastern Kentucky 97 FINAL
Tenn Tech 93
South Dakota 43 FINAL
IUPUI 68
Fresno State 62 FINAL
Nevada 44
CS-Northridge 67 FINAL
Long Beach St 52
Rice 71 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 88
UMKC 46 FINAL
Seattle 60
Saint Peters 51 FINAL
Marist 77
Kennesaw St 47 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 61
Cal Poly 78 FINAL
UC-Riverside 82
Montana State 64 FINAL
Northern Ariz 79
UC Santa Barbara 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 54
Montana 59 FINAL
Southern Utah 37
Idaho State 65 FINAL
Portland State 53
TX-Pan American 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69

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