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.


Floyd, Asiata out for Vikings; Tate active against Packers

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated November 23rd at 11:30am 283629951

Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee) and running back Matt Asiata (concussion) will be inactive against the Packers on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.

Floyd banged knees with a teammate in Wednesday’s practice and did not practice Thursday or Friday. He had crutches by his locker Thursday and Friday. It’s the first game Floyd will miss in his career. Rookie defensive tackle Shamar Stephen will receive his first carrer start in place of Floyd at the three-technique spot.

Running back Ben Tate is active for the Vikings and expected to have a role only four days after the team claimed him off waivers from the Browns. Asiata did not practice all week as he went through the league’s concussion protocol. Joe Banyard is also active at running back.

Vikings wide receivers Greg Jennings (rib) and Jarius Wright (hamstring) are both active. They were both listed as questionable on Friday.

Here are the complete inactives for both the Vikings and Packers:


RB Matt Asiata

FB Zach Line

LB Michael Mauti

LB Brandon Watts

OG David Yankey

OG Austin Wentworth

DT Sharrif Floyd


QB Scott Tolzien

CB Jarrett Bush

LB Nick Perry

LB Carl Bradford

C Garth Gerhart

WR Jeff Janis

TE Brandon Bostick

Craig: Week 12 Picks & Power Rankings

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 23rd at 6:07am 283623121

What would you rather do on a Sunday morning than wake up early and read weekly picks and power rankings involving 32 teams that basically are of equal strength and ability to beat, lose to or tie anyone on any given Sunday, Monday, Saturday, Thursday (and some day, when the revenue ceiling needs to be extended to a gazillion bazillion dollars, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday as well)?

1. Patriots (8-2)
With the then-No. 3 Chiefs losing to the winless Raiders on Thursday, the then-No. 2 Broncos losing to the Rams last week and the now-No. 2 Cardinals in Seattle today, we’ve never felt more strongly that the Patriots basically are the only team one can trust to do what it’s supposed to do in Novemeber/December. The Patriots should beat the Lions at home today. “Should” being the key word. Also, if ya notice, we dropped the Chiefs to No. 23 and bumped the Raiders to No. 22. Unlike any other power ranking we’ve seen (and we look at … well, virtually zero per week, but we’re guessing here), we have one rule at this power ranking station: Regardless of record, your team can’t be ranked ahead of the team it just lost to. And by “just,” we mean the games most recently played. When the Raiders lose next week and the Chiefs win, they’ll separate and go back to normal, which, for the Raiders is contending for No. 32.


2. Cardinals (9-1); 3. Lions (7-3); 4. Packers (7-3); 5. Cowboys (7-3); 6. Rams (4-6); 7. Eagles (7-3); 8. Broncos (7-3); 9. Seahawks (6-4); 10. Steelers (7-4); 11. Colts (6-4); 12. Ravens (6-4); 13. Dolphins (6-4); 14. 49ers (6-4); 15. Texans (5-5); 16. Browns (6-4); 17. Bengals (6-3-1); 18. Chargers (6-4); 19. Bears (4-6); 20. Saints (4-6); 21. Bills (5-5); 22. Raiders (1-10); 23. Chiefs (7-4).

24. Vikings 4-6 (Last week: 18):
Normally, we’d yammer on about our “bounce back” philosophy and the Vikings being at home and how the NFL is designed to basically take all the teams with good feelings and make them bad and all the teams with bad feelings and make them good. Sort of like a weekly Etch a Sketch shaking to restart every team back in the middle of the pack. But with the Vikings playing the Packers today, we’re going to do something radicle and predict that the better team with the future Hall of Fame quarterback will beat the team that’s rebuilding with the rookie quarterback.

25. Falcons (4-6); 26. Buccaneers (2-8); 27. Jets (2-8); 28. Titans (2-8); 29. Giants (3-7); 30. Panthers (3-7-1); 31. Jaguars (1-9).

32: Redskins (3-7):
The Washington Football Team scored huge “Worst of the Bunch” points last week by getting scrunched by the Buccaneers. In doing so, the Football Team Located in Washington enabled fans of a 2-8 team to talk about playoff possibilities. Assuming Tampa’s Lovie Smith isn’t fired first, he’s heading for a playoff push at just two games back in the NFC Worst.


1, Josh Robinson didn’t shrink, so perhaps he and the coaching staff learned more about his limitations and can figure out something better than asking him to participate in jump balls with guys who are 6-4.

2, Regardless of win total this season, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is gaining valuable experience for the future. As poorly as the offense played a week ago, Bridgewater was on the field late in the fourth quarter of a one-possession game at Soldier Field. That will help him. So will playing the Packers for the first time this season.

3, Speaking of which, it should help that the Vikings aren’t down to their No. 3 quarterback, at least at the start of the Packers game. We all saw Christian Ponder’s worth as a No. 3 when he started the first Packers game. His two second-quarter picks and a 13.4 halftime passer rating contributed mightily to the 28-0 deficit that grew to 42-0.


1, Josh Robinson didn’t get any taller. And Aaron Rodgers and a tall fella named Jordy Nelson just spent a week salivating at the matchup possibilities.

2, Rodgers is 10-4 against the Vikings, including one playoff meeting. He has thrown 31 touchdown passes and has been intercepted four times. And one of his wins came in a game in which he was intercepted twice. So, basically, the guy doesn’t make mistakes and the few times he does, it doesn’t matter. So good luck with that.

3, As if Rodgers isn’t a big enough pain in the backside, running back Eddie Lacy started the Thursday night avalanche back in October. He gashed the Vikings with three long runs to set up the first touchdown. The defense was out of sorts from then on. Lacy also closed the game out by taking handoffs from Rodgers while the rest of the country clicked the TV off and went to bed.


Packers minus-9 ½ at Vikings. The pick: Packers 37, Vikings 21.

Why?: See above. You know, the part about how we normally yammer on about the weekly reshuffling, where teams that feel good about themselves lose and teams that feel bad about themselves win. And how in this case we’ll put that thought on the commissioner’s exempt list and go with the better team with the future Hall of Fame QB.

Last week: Vikings plus-3 at Bears. The pick: Bears 24, Vikings 21. The final: Bears 21, Vikings 13.7-3.


Cowboys minus-3 ½ at Giants: Giants 27, Cowboys 21.

Why?: The Cowboys have had a bye week to reflect, rest and realize that Romo is due for a few stinkers down the stretch.

Last week: 49ers minus-4 at Giants. The pick: Giants 24, 49ers 21. The final: 49ers 16, Giants 10. Record: 4-7.

Browns plus-3 at Falcons: Browns by 7

Titans plus-11 at Eagles: Eagles by 14

Lions plus-7 at Patriots: Patriots by 10

Jaguars plus-14 at Colts: Colts by 17

Bengals plus-1 ½ at Texans: Texans by 3

Jets off vs. Bills at Detroit: Bills by 3

Buccaneers plus-6 at Bears: Buccaneers by 3

Cardinals plus-6 ½ at Seahawks: Seahawks by 7

Rams plus-4 ½ at Chargers: Chargers by 7

Dolphins plus-7 at Broncos: Broncos by 14

Redskins plus-9 at 49ers: 49ers by 7

Ravens plus-3 ½ at Saints: Saints by 7

Record: Last week/overall: 6-7/89-60-1. Versus spread: Last week/overall: 6-7/73-77.

Floyd and Kalil both questionable but hoping to play

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 21st at 2:17pm 283515851

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is officially listed on the injury report as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Packers even though Floyd says his injured knee “feels good” today.

Floyd banged knees with a teammate in practice Wednesday. An MRI showed that there was no major damage. But Floyd was unable to practice yesterday or today.

He was in good spirits in the locker room, though, and shared a good laugh with reporters when I asked him about the crutches that had been leaning up against his locker stall the past two days.

Floyd glanced back at them and said unconvincingly, “No, they’re not my crutches.”

“Yeah, right,” said a couple of reporters while the rest of us chuckled.

“Somebody must have left them there,” Floyd said with a grin before joining in the laughter.

Floyd indicated that he would like to play but said that the decision will be up to head coach Mike Zimmer and the team’s medical staff.

“It’s all in Coach’s hands,” he said. “I go as he go.”

As for left tackle Matt Kalil, who missed practice today, Zimmer said that he is dealing with a “minor aggravation.” Zimmer would not say where, but it was listed as a knee injury on the injury report. Kalil, of course, had minor knee surgery in the offseason. He is listed as questionable for Sunday, but on his way out of the locker room he said he expects to play.

Running back Matt Asiata has been ruled out with a concussion.

Wide receivers Greg Jennings (rib) and Jarius Wright (hamstring) are both questionable for Sunday.

Running back Jerick McKinnon (lower back), outside linebacker Anthony Barr (knee), offensive tackle Mike Harris (ankle), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle), defensive Everson Griffen (neck), tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin) are among those officially listed as probable to take on the Packers.

Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was excused from practice today for personal reasons.

Goodell will not hear Peterson's appeal next month

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 21st at 3:43pm 283514061

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will not hear running back Adrian Peterson’s appeal on Dec. 2. Instead, he has appointed Harold Henderson for the appeal, though it might not make a difference.

“Under Article 46 (Commissioner Discipline), appeals of discipline for off-field conduct are heard and decided by the commissioner or his designee,” a league spokesman said of Henderson’s appointment. “Harold Henderson has been designated as the hearing officer for this appeal. Harold has served for many years as a hearing officer for Article 46 discipline.”

And Henderson, who in the past served as NFL Executive Vice President for Labor Relations and Chairman of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee, has often sided with the league.

The latest example of this was earlier this year when he upheld the league’s 10-game ban of Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon after his latest violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

The NFL Players Association reacted to Henderson’s appointment by saying a longtime NFL executive could not be neutral.  The NFL  responded by defending Henderson, saying he has heard 87 appeals under the CBA since 2008 and that language in every CBA since 1993 has stated the appeals of discipline for off-field conduct are heard and decided by the commissioner or his designee.

Ben Tate preparing to contribute as needed Sunday

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated November 21st at 1:55pm 283513901

Vikings running back Ben Tate participated in his second practice in purple on Friday, and head coach Mike Zimmer said he’s catching on quickly to the offense. He’s

“He’s got some explosiveness hitting the hole and obviously he’s a big-bodied guy,” Zimmer said. “He’s done a good job with protection so far. So we’ll see how it goes.”

The Vikings might have to rely on Tate against the Packers with running back Matt Asiata likely out with a concussion. He’ll only have three days to become acclimated with the playbook, and his teammates, if the Vikings do activate him on Sunday.

“I’ve never been in this type of situation before,” Tate said.  “So just try to interact with everybody as much as I can and get to know everybody as much as I can so I can get comfortable and they can get comfortable with me faster.”

Tate isn’t sure how much his comfort with his other teammates will help his play if he serves as rookie running back Jerrick McKinnon’s backup, with Joe Banyard as another option, but he’s mainly concerned with understanding his assignments when the Vikings need him in the backfield.

“I’ve got to all focus on football and let everything else happen,” said Tate, dealing with the hectic off-the-field ramifications of switching teams during the middle of the season. “Whatever I got to do outside of that is secondary. The first thing is making sure I understand my plays and just coming out here ready to go, full speed, and being ready to help in any aspect needed.”


Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
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
Atlanta 4 1st Qtr 9:57
Washington 1
Golden State 6:30 PM
Detroit 7:00 PM
Sacramento 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8:00 PM
Winnipeg 1 1st Prd 16:18
Columbus 1
Ottawa 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Edmonton 7:30 PM
Colorado 8:00 PM
New Jersey 9:00 PM
Calgary 9:00 PM
Fresno State 52 FINAL
East Carolina 58
Morgan State 73 FINAL
Elon 74
Purdue 82 FINAL
Missouri 61
Hawaii 62 FINAL
Marist 55
Liberty 57 FINAL
North Florida 77
MD-Eastern Shore 55 FINAL
Bucknell 58
Western Carolina 70 FINAL
Georgia State 85
Chaminade 85
Evansville 37 2nd Half 14:59
Green Bay 38
Alabama 4 1st Half 15:43
Arizona State 5
UT Martin 6:00 PM
SE Missouri St 2 1st Half 15:59
Bowling Green 10
NC Central 6 1st Half 15:30
Cincinnati 5
Fair-Dickinson 0 1st Half 19:27
Columbia 1
Citadel 6 1st Half 14:37
Florida State 5
Houston 3 1st Half 15:58
Harvard 6
William Peace 8 1st Half 14:45
High Point 12
Texas-Arlington 5 1st Half 14:32
Kentucky 8
St Francis-NY 2 1st Half 16:50
La Salle 5
Boston Univ 3 1st Half 18:03
New Hampshire 7
Chicago State 15 1st Half 13:34
Oakland 14
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 1st Half 17:33
Ohio 3
Hartford 5 1st Half 12:41
Quinnipiac 6
Saint Peters 10 1st Half 14:54
Rutgers 7
Jackson State 10 1st Half 14:41
St Bonaventure 13
Long Island 0 1st Half 20:00
Saint Josephs 0
Hofstra 6 1st Half 15:44
South Florida 8
Western Ky 11 1st Half 14:51
Stony Brook 11
Loyola-Maryland 0 1st Half 16:22
Syracuse 2
Penn 7 1st Half 14:14
Temple 12
Detroit 6 1st Half 15:40
Toledo 10
Tennessee St 2 1st Half 15:23
Virginia 13
Northern Iowa 7 1st Half 16:53
Virginia Tech 2
Western Ill 9 1st Half 15:00
William & Mary 11
Ohio Valley 11 1st Half 15:02
Wofford 6
Toccoa Falls 4 1st Half 15:21
Presbyterian 2
Mount Ida 12 1st Half 15:20
UMass Lowell 17
Kansas State 6:30 PM
Binghamton 6:30 PM
Central Arkansas 6:30 PM
Char Southern
Howard 6:30 PM
VA Commonwealth 6:30 PM
Akron 6:30 PM
Penn State
Arkansas 6:30 PM
Jacksonville St 7:00 PM
Alabama A&M
TX A&M-CC 7:00 PM
Eastern Ill 7:00 PM
St Xavier 7:00 PM
Northern Ariz 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
NC A&T 7:00 PM
Saint Louis
Columbia International 7:00 PM
SC State
Troy 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
St Francis-PA 7:00 PM
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Southern U 7:00 PM
Norfolk State 7:00 PM
Jarvis Christian 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
MN-Crookston 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
Lamar 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
San Francisco 7:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Air Force 8:00 PM
Boise State 8:00 PM
Louisiana 8:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Maryland 8:30 PM
Iowa State
Northwestern 8:30 PM
Villanova 9:00 PM
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Bristol University 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Cal State Fullerton 10:00 PM
Delaware 10:00 PM
Ohio U 0 1st Qtr 10:55
Miami-Ohio 0
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 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
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Belmont 55 FINAL
Kent State 58
Robert Morris 75 FINAL
Coppin State 58
Western Ill 71
Manhattan 48 FINAL
La Salle 61
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
Arizona 61
Santa Clara 69 FINAL
LSU 67
Tulsa 67 FINAL
Texas Southern 64
SE Missouri St 57 FINAL
Ole Miss 58
Air Force 35 FINAL
Army 79
Towson 59 FINAL
St Bonaventure 47 2nd Half 3:47
Penn State 50
Johnson C. Smith 5:00 PM
USC Upstate 5:00 PM
SC State
Texas-El Paso 24 2nd Half 15:00
Kansas State 48
Cheyney 25 2nd Half 14:07
MD-Eastern Shore 37
Winthrop 36 2nd Half 16:09
NC Central 30
Quinnipiac 36 2nd Half 15:32
(2) Notre Dame 62
Buffalo 21 1st Half 5:00
(8) Duke 32
(21) Rutgers 6:00 PM
Duquesne 6:00 PM
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb 6:00 PM
Appalachian St
Washington St 10 1st Half 14:29
Hampton 12
Bryant 10 1st Half 13:30
Brown 16
Vermont 0 1st Half 15:55
Central Conn St 8
St Francis-NY 0 1st Half 17:21
IUPU-Ft Wayne 0 1st Half 16:33
Coastal Carolina 11
Fairleigh Dickinson 4 1st Half 17:44
Monmouth 3
Jacksonville 3 1st Half 18:38
SIU-Edwardsville 0 1st Half 17:39
Fordham 7 1st Half 13:59
Delaware 8
Saint Josephs 0 1st Half 20:00
Drexel 0
Liberty 7 1st Half 15:13
Elon 12
Valparaiso 10 1st Half 12:58
Akron 19
Grambling 0 1st Half 19:04
Georgia Tech 4
Western Ky 4 1st Half 17:34
(12) Louisville 4
Arizona State 5 1st Half 15:45
Miami-Florida 4
Charleston Southern 5 1st Half 15:56
Florida 5
Georgia Southern 4 1st Half 15:42
(22) Georgia 14
Tenn Tech 2 1st Half 17:33
Mercer 6
Hillsdale 0 1st Half 20:00
Eastern Michigan 0
Ohio U 8 1st Half 15:58
Northern Ky 1
Bucknell 0 1st Half 20:00
Youngstown St 0
Lafayette 2 1st Half 18;49
Rider 0
Lehigh 12 1st Half 14:39
Saint Peters 6
George Mason 0 1st Half 17:32
Navy 3
High Point 6 1st Half 18:51
Davidson 0
Old Dominion 3 1st Half 14:09
Virginia Tech 6
SW Assemblies 6:30 PM
Houston Baptist
LSU-Alexandria 6:30 PM
Northwestern St
Wofford 6:30 PM
Jacksonville St
ULM 7:00 PM
(25) Miss State
Morgan State 7:00 PM
(20) Oklahoma St
Lyon 7:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Lamar 7:00 PM
Texas State
Mobile 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
St Edwards 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Lipscomb 7:00 PM
Murray State
UAB 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa 7:00 PM
(17) Iowa
Southern U 7:00 PM
Harvard 7:00 PM
Holy Cross
Colorado 8:00 PM
Portland State 8:00 PM
Montana State 8:00 PM
San Diego
Idaho 8:00 PM
Pepperdine 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Long Beach St 9:00 PM
Boise State
Nevada 9:30 PM
San Francisco
Yale 10:59 PM


question of the day

Poll: Which new movie do you most want to see this holiday weekend?

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