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.


Vikings won't discuss Peterson's status until next week

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 14th at 6:30pm 275062071

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said the organization will discuss running back Adrian Peterson’s future at some point next week. Zimmer declined to talk about the 2012 NFL MVP that was deactivated for the Vikings 30-7 loss to the Patriots on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. Peterson was indicted and charged one count of injury to a child in Montgomery County (Texas) over the last three days.

“I don’t want to discuss the Adrian issue at all today,” Zimmer said after the game. “This is about the football game here. We’ll talk about it Monday or whenever we have the press conference on.”

Zimmer was pressed with Peterson questions throughout the press conference, though he continued to decline comment on the running back’s future.

“We’re just trying to get through the weekend right now and figure out where everything is,” Zimmer said. “And again, I don’t really want to talk about it. You guys can keep asking me, and I’ll give you the same answer.”

Zimmer said the game plan offensively didn’t change much after the Vikings officially deactivated Peterson on Friday, two days before the game. Though he did admit removing the best player from a team would have an impact, Zimmer wasn’t using Peterson’s absence as an excuse for the team’s performance.

“I think he could’ve gotten injured on the first play of the game,” Zimmer countered when asked about Peterson’s impact. “We’ve got to go on and go about it. It’s just part of life. Would we like to have him? Sure. But I think anytime you lose your best player, it is a team game. Everybody has to step up. I’m sure when [Aaron] Rodgers went down last year, they had to suck it up and go. We’ve got to suck it up, too. We didn’t do it today.”

Most players in the locker room declined to comment on Peterson. Running back Matt Asiata, who replaced Peterson in the starting lineup, came in support for his teammate. Asiata had 13 carries for 36 yards in his second career start. He also had five catches for 48 yards and hauled in his first career touchdown reception on the game's opening drive.

“It’s really tough,” Asiata said. Since I’ve been here, he’s been a brother to me. I always try to have his back, and I support him 100 percent. I just wish he’ll be back soon.”

Greg Jennings reaches 500 career receptions

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 14th at 2:46pm 275058151

It took a lot longer than probably expected, but wide receiver Greg Jennings made his first catch with 10:55 left in the game.
The four-yard gain was also his 500th career reception. He becomes the 121st player in NFL history, and one of 14 active players, to accomplish the milestone.

Jennings appeared to have reached the landmark late in the first half, but he was called for offensive pass interference on the catch. Jennings was targeted four times previously before the catch.

Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis has shadowed Jennings for most of the game, making him an non-factor in the blowout.

Halftime report: Patriots 24, Vikings 7

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 14th at 1:37pm 275055771

At the half, the Patriots lead the Vikings 24-7 in the home opener at TCF Bank Stadium. Defensive end Chandler Jones blocked a 48-yard field goal and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown with nine seconds left in the first half.

The Good: The Vikings couldn’t have asked for a better start without running back Adrian Peterson. Quarterback Matt Cassel engineered seven-play, 80-yard drive that was capped with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Peterson’s replacement, Matt Asiata.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner finished the drive with two great plays using wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson as a decoy on a fake jet sweep and a play action pass with Patterson in the backfield.

The defense responded by forcing the Patriots to a 3-and-out on their opening drive.

The Bad: Then, we saw bad Cassel for the first time this season. He didn’t look the same following the opening drive, throwing two bad interceptions to cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Devin McCourty. Both turnovers resulted in touchdowns for New England. Running back Stevan Ridley scored on a one-yard run while quarterback Tom Brady connected with wide receiver Julian Edelman for an 11-yard yard touchdown.

Cassel went 4 for 4 for 75 yards and a touchdown on the first drive. He’s gone 8 of 15 for 69 yards and two interceptions since the Vikings took an early 7-0 lead.

The Ugly: It hasn’t mattered who the Vikings put on Edelman in the first half. Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Robinson — they’re all getting beat.

Edelman accounted for five of Brady’s nine first half completions and has converted all three of New England’s third downs. He has 69 receiving yards and a touchdown. Edelman also had an effective jet sweep that gained nine yards.

Oh, and there’s that blocked field goal right before the half. The Vikings had a chance to trim the deficit down to one score, but the 10-point swing was a deflating way to enter the locker room.

Vikings' Cassel throws two interceptions in first half

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 14th at 1:18pm 275055051

Matt Cassel started today’s game against the Patriots with a sharp opening drive, completing all four of his passes on the drive for 75 yards and a 25-yard touchdown pass to tailback Matt Asiata.

But he has cooled off considerably since then, completing just four of his past nine passes for 17 yards and throwing a pair of interceptions as the Vikings have fallen behind, 17-7, to the visitors.

The first interception came in the first quarter, when Cassel tried to connect with wide receiver Jarius Wright on a deep ball. Wright got inside positioning on cornerback Kyle Arrington, but when Cassel led Wright toward the middle of the field, safety Devin McCourty ranged to pick off the pass. He returned it 60 yards to the Minnesota 1-yard line, setting up Steven Ridley’s touchdown run.

In the second quarter, Cassel threw another pick to cornerback Darrelle Revis. The quarterback had plenty of time to scan the field, but he appeared to lock onto wide receiver Greg Jennings, who is still looking for his first catch of the day and the 500th of his career. Revis was running stride for stride with Jennings and made an easy interception when Cassel’s pass got away from him.

The Patriots would cash in that interception for a touchdown, too, and lead as halftime nears.

Cris Carter speaks on Adrian Peterson

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 14th at 1:40pm 275051251

NFL Hall of Famer and Vikings Ring of Honor wide receiver Cris Carter emotionally touched on running back Adrian Peterson’s off-the-field incident Sunday morning.

On ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, the animated Carter did not condone the actions of Peterson, who was charged with one count of injury to a child after striking his 4-year-old son with a switch in May.

“My mom did the best job she could do raising seven kids by herself, but there are thousands of things that I have learned since then that I’ve learned that my mom was wrong,” Carter said. “This is the 21st century; my mom was wrong. She did the best she could, but she was wrong about some of that stuff she taught me. And I promised my kids I won’t teach that mess to them. You can’t beat a kid to make them do what you want them to do.”

Carter continued on, praising the Vikings for deactivating Peterson in the home opener against the Patriots.

“The only thing I’m proud about is the team that I played for – they did the right thing,” Carter said. “Take him off the field. We’re in a climate right now where I don’t care what it is, take him off the dag-gone field. Because, you know what, as a man, that’s the only thing we really respect. We don’t respect no women, we don’t respect no kids. The other thing Roger [Goodell] and them do, take him off the field because they respect that.”

Here’s the entire clip:


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