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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Wilf: `We made a mistake and we needed to get this right'

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated September 17th at 12:15pm 275463011

From a public perception standpoint, it’s been quite the trifecta of declining opinion of the Vikings over the past five days.

Friday, they were called leaders among NFL teams when they de-activated Adrian Peterson after he was indicted on child abuse charges in Houston.

Monday, they were called desperate losers willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of winning when they re-activated Peterson.

Wednesday, they were essentially called greedy cowards for bending to pressure from sponsors when they re-de-activated Peterson with a release time of 12:47 a.m. Peterson officially was put on the commissioner’s exempt list. He will be paid while he’s away from the team and the Vikings will be able to fill his roster spot.

Later this morning, owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, head legal representative Kevin Warren and General Manager Rick Spielman met with a media horde that included nine satellite trucks, 19 cameras and a live stand-up on NFL Network that led into the press conference.

Zygi Wilf read a statement and stepped aside to let the others field questions.

“We made a mistake,” Zygi Wilf said during his reading. “And we needed to get this right.”

That obviously was the pre-press conference talking point because it was mentioned multiple times.

Asked if the decision by Radisson hotels to suspend its sponsorship of the team played a role in today’s reversal, Mark Wilf said, “Absolutely not. We needed to get it right. … Our focus is to get things right.”

Mark Wilf said the team takes child abuse very seriously and made sure to point out that all 53 players on the current roster are active in charitable causes in the community.

Spielman was asked point blank if Peterson will ever play for the Vikings again. While he said the team supported Peterson, he did not answer the question.

“Our focus today,” Spielman said, “is to get this right.”

Spielman said Peterson’s future with the team won’t be decided until after the legal process runs its course, even if the trial doesn’t begin until 2015, which is now the case but could change.

Spielman did say the team considered releasing Peterson, but decided the exempt list was the best option.

Mark Wilf tried to sum up the day by recalling someone who once told him, “It’s never too late to get this right.”

That, however, would be up for debate after the week the Vikings have had so far.

Peterson will get paid, won't count against roster

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 17th at 10:16am 275442231

The Vikings have placed Adrian Peterson on the exempt list while he deals with his legal issues.

Peterson is not the first NFL player to get placed on the exempt list. In 2009, quarterback Michael Vick, then a player for the Eagles, was placed on the list as he made his return to the NFL following his prison sentence for illegal dogfighting. Former Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson was placed on the list in 2011 after he returned from a drug-related suspension. Last year, the Buccaneers placed running back Jeff Demps on the list as he pursued an Olympic track career.

So what exactly does that mean for the Vikings from a salary cap and roster standpoint?

Peterson will continue to be paid while he is away from the team, according to the NFLPA, and will still count against the team’s salary cap. Peterson has a base salary of $12 million in 2014, including his offseason workout bonus, which has already been triggered. His cap figure is $14.4 million.

Peterson is exempt from the roster, meaning that he won’t count against the 53-man limit.

That leaves a vacant roster spot for the Vikings to do as they choose, whether it is bringing in a veteran back, adding fullback Zach Line or someone else from the practice squad, or addressing another position. They could also theoretically keep it vacant until wide receiver Jerome Simpson returns from his suspension, but very rarely do teams not take advantage of an open roster spot.

Of course, the Vikings will be hard-pressed to find a talent equal or close to what Peterson provided.

Here is a link that goes into some detail on the exempt list.

Vikings Rewind: Darrelle Revis intercepts Matt Cassel

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 17th at 9:40am 275441321

The situation: Down 10-7 with 13:37 left in the first half, the Vikings are faced with a 2nd and 10 at their own 38.

The reason: The Patriots have just reeled off 10 unanswered points, and the Vikings have a chance to tie the game on this drive after their previous two drives ended with an interception and a punt.

The result: Cornerback Darrelle Revis intercepted quarterback Matt Cassel’s pass intended for wide receiver Greg Jennings.

How it happened:

IMG_0098The Vikings go trips right with Jennings (circled in yellow) sliding inside. He’s shadowed by cornerback Darrelle Revis, who has defended him for most of the game.

IMG_0099Cassel receives good protection as the play develops. With a safety up top, Revis remains in man coverage with Jennings (circled in blue).

IMG_0102Just as Cassel is set to throw the ball, Revis essentially runs Jennings’ route for him. The cornerback beats Jennings to the spot on the post route. Jennings is covered the entire time, but Cassel is practically trusting his favorite target to make a play because everyone else is covered as well.IMG_0104Jennings doesn’t make the play. Instead, Revis replicated an interception you’d see during cornerback drills in practice. It was one of four interceptions thrown by Cassel, who played poorly in the 30-7 loss. The Patriots went on a seven-play, 61-yard drive after the interception that was capped on a nine-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Julian Edelman.

Revis Island eliminated Jennings, limiting him to just one catch for four yards on four targets.

Vikings issue early-morning statement on Peterson move

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 17th at 7:34am 275421081

While you were sleeping — well, at least while I was sleeping — the Vikings announced they were placing embattled running back Adrian Peterson on their exempt list. The move will keep Peterson away from the team while the legal process involving his child abuse case plays out in Texas.

For all the details involving that decision, be sure to check out our full story here.

The Vikings organization announced the move at 12:47 a.m. with a press release that featured a statement from owners Mark and Zygi Wilf. Here is the entirety of that statement:

This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday’s news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team’s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson. In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.

 
We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role – and the responsibilities that go with it – as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.
 
While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.
 
We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Peterson put on exempt list, Cassel misfiring deep and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 17th at 7:15am 275420071

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

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

—The Vikings reversed course on RB Adrian Peterson and placed him on the exempt list.

— The fallout from Peterson’s reinstatement continued all day Tuesday.

— Should the Vikings be ashamed of their decision to reinstate Peterson?

— It isn’t easy for Vikings players who get caught in the media storm.

— The Vikings brought back FB Zach Line to their practice squad.

— Here are five Vikings stats that stand out as we enter Week 3.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— The Saints must prepare as if Peterson is going to play Sunday.

— Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said his defense is killing the team.

— The Saints need to focus on their mistakes, not their playoff chances.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

Head coach Mike Zimmer and QB Matt Cassel will have their weekly press conferences at Winter Park at 11 a.m. The locker room will be open then, too. Practice starts at 12:50 p.m.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Cassel is the only NFL starter who has yet to complete a pass beyond 20 yards this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Even Bengals WR Mohamed Sanu has completed one.

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