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: 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.

Vikings keep fullback Line on their practice squad

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 16th at 3:07pm 275333821

In between a barrage of media tweets about sponsors distancing themselves from the Vikings and the NFL as if they were on fire, the Vikings tweeted an announcement of a minor roster move.

The Vikings added fullback Zach Line to their practice squad today, a few days after they were forced to release him following the deactivation of troubled running back Adrian Peterson.

When Peterson was declared out of the game, the Vikings cut Line and promoted Joe Banyard from the practice squad so they had three tailbacks available for the home opener against the Patriots.

Banyard is still on the 53-man, so the Vikings gave the vacant spot on the practice squad to Line.

Line played three games for the Vikings last season. He made the team out of camp despite the presence of starting fullback Jerome Felton because head coach Mike Zimmer said good fullbacks are hard to find. But the 24-year-old did not play in Week 1, in part because of a minor ankle injury.

Five Vikings stats that stand out for Week 3

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 16th at 1:05pm 275292661

Each week, beat guy Matt Vensel will highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.

one — complete pass thrown beyond 10 yards by Matt Cassel this season.

Cassel didn’t complete a single pass beyond 10 yards in the 30-7 loss to the Patriots, according to ESPN Stats and Info — well, unless you count the three caught by the other team, but we wouldn’t advise you do that. Through two games, the Vikings QB is just 1-for-13 for 18 total yards on passes thrown at least 10 yards downfield. That continues a troubling trend from a season ago, when he completed just 46.4 percent of his throws beyond 10 yards, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

2.8 — yards per carry for the Vikings in Sunday’s loss without you-know-who.

With star running back Adrian Peterson deactivated, the Vikings struggled to run the ball against the Patriots. Matt Asiata got the start and rushed for just 36 yards on 13 carries. The Vikings as a team averaged 2.8 yards per carry and their longest run was a 13-yard scramble by Cassel. The biggest difference came after contact. The Vikings had just 26 yards after contact, according to Pro Football Focus. Peterson had 34 by himself in Week 1 — and that was an off day for him.

eight — quarterback pressures allowed by Matt Kalil through the first two games.

Kalil has allowed two sacks and eight total pressures this season, according to Pro Football Focus, the most on the team. Those numbers aren’t exactly becoming for a former fourth overall pick and a player who is counted on to protect the quarterback’s blind side. Kalil was beaten twice by Patriots pass rushers — and that’s not including Kalil’s whiff on the blocked field goal — for sacks and allowed four other pressures. As a result, Kalil is PFF’s lowest-graded NFL offensive tackle.

32 — percentage of third-down opportunities converted by Vikings opponents.

It’s early, but the Vikings defense has been much better on third down in 2014. In 2013, the Vikings allowed opponents to convert 44 percent of their third-down opportunities, which ranked 30th in the NFL. This season, under new head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have been much improved. Sure, they have been aided by some early-down penalties, but their opponents have converted just nine of their 28 third-down opportunities. That 32 percent conversion rate ranks sixth in the NFL.

1.73 — yards allowed by Captain Munnerlyn per coverage snap in the slot in 2014.

The Vikings signed Munnerlyn, a free-agent cornerback, in part because they hoped he could limit the damage done by slot receivers. But so far this season, Munnerlyn has struggled in that regard. In 40 coverage snaps in the slot, Munnerlyn has been targeted six times, allowing each of them to be completed for a total of 69 yards. Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman’s touchdown Sunday came when he lined up across from Munnerlyn in the left slot and lost him on a corner route.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Peterson back with Vikings, potential for distraction and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 16th at 7:03am 275263801

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

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— The Vikings reinstated RB Adrian Peterson and said he won’t be a distraction.

— A Houston TV station reported accusations that Peterson abused another child.

— Did the Vikings shred their code of conduct for their best player?

— Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer returned to the Vikings yesterday, too.

— Head coach Mike Zimmer tried to put the focus back on his football team.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— Saints RB Mark Ingram has a broken hand and is out indefinitely.

— Keenan Lewis defended fellow Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson.

— Saints WR Marques Colston was not targeted in Sunday’s loss to the Browns.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

Vikings players have the day off, but several will be at community events. Jabari Price, Andrew Sendejo, Vlad Ducasse and others will be at a “Play 60″ event at Catholic Charities-St. Joseph’s Home for Children this afternoon. Scott Crichton, Tom Johnson and others, plus Vikings alumni and cheerleaders, will be at an event for United Way and Arc’s Value Village at the Fairgrounds.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

WR Greg Jennings recorded his 500th career receptions in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots. He is now 121st all-time in NFL history. If he catches another 500 more passes, he will be tied with former Steelers WR Hines Ward for ninth all-time. And if he catches another 500 after that, he’ll be second in NFL history to only 49ers great Jerry Rice, who caught 1,549 passes in his career.

Houston TV station reports another Peterson discipline incident

Posted by: Christopher Miller Updated September 16th at 6:26am 275218101

Adrian Peterson was investigated in another incident where he allegedly injured one of his children in a discipline incident, according to Houston television station KHOU.

Peterson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, issued a statement after the station aired its story on its 6 p.m. news.

Said Hardin: “The allegation of another investigation into Adrian Peterson is simply not true. The allegation is more than one year old  and authorities took no action. An adult witness admittedly insists Adrian did nothing inappropriate with his son.”

Peterson, who was reinstated by the Vikings on Monday after sitting out Sunday’s game because of a criminal charge against him, was not charged in the incident reported by KHOU.

The children in the two incidents have different mothers, the station reported.

The station had alleged text messages between Peterson and the mother of the child in the incident in June of 2013 in Texas where Peterson admitted he hit the child while the child was in a car seat.

Two pictures were texted between Peterson and the mother. One showed the child with bandages on his forehead, and the other showed a scar allegedly left by the cuts.

The child’s mother filed a report with Child Protective Services but the result of that was not known, the station added.

The Vikings issued this statement: “As part of the information we have gathered throughout this process, we were made aware of an allegation from 2013 in which authorities took no action against Adrian. We will defer any further questions to Adrian’s attorney Rusty Hardin.”

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