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: Webb says he's a Viking, Bridgewater only a backup and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 26th at 7:10am 283952061

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

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— Get to know the man who is behind the Vikings’ community efforts.

— Free-agent OT J’Marcus Webb says that he is joining the Vikings.

— If the NFL draft was today, the Vikings would have the ninth pick.

— An ESPN analyst thinks QB Teddy Bridgewater is a career backup.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— Crazy as it sounds, the 3-7-1 Panthers control their destiny.

—It could be Amini Silatolu’s turn at tackle for the Panthers.

— Panthers C Ryan Kalil stood up for his brother, LT Matt Kalil.

— Sunday’s game could be one of the coldest in Panthers history.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

The Vikings get back to work with morning meetings and the walkthrough then practice at 12:50 p.m. Bridgewater and head coach Mike Zimmer will be at the podium before the practice.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

At 4-7, the Vikings are in last place in the NFC North and trail the first-place Packers by four games. If they were in the NFC South, they would be tied with the Falcons and Saints for the division lead.

Free-agent OT Webb says he is rejoining Vikings

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 25th at 8:48pm 283907311

Offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb, who spent time with the Vikings last season, announced on Twitter that he is rejoining the Vikings, who need another tackle with Phil Loadholt out for the season.

Webb, 26, played eight games for the Vikings last season. He was a backup swing tackle, but he did make one start at right tackle while Loadholt was sidelined in a Week 10 win against the Redskins.

Webb signed with the Chiefs this spring but did not survive final cuts at the end of the preseason.

Webb, who was a seventh-round pick of the Bears in 2010, is listed at 6-foot-7 and 333 pounds. He started 44 games in three seasons with the Bears before signing with the Vikings last season.

Head coach Mike Zimmer on Monday said that Loadholt, arguably the team’s best run-blocking offensive lineman, was out for the rest of the season with a torn pectoral. Backup offensive tackle Mike Harris, who filled in for Loadholt in Sunday’s loss to the Packers, is likely the next man up.

The Vikings have not announced the Webb signing, nor have they officially put Loadholt on injured reserve. The team is expected to make those moves tomorrow morning so Webb can practice.

Here’s that tweet from Webb:

Five Vikings stats that stand out for Week 13

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 25th at 11:39am 283850121

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

69 — number of Eddie Lacy’s rushing yards that came after contact on Sunday.

The bruising Packers running back did a lot of his damage against the Vikings after contact. Again. According to Pro Football Focus, 69 of Lacy’s 125 rushing yards Sunday came after contact. Lacy forced the Vikings to miss five tackles. Back in Week 5, 52 of Lacy’s 105 rushing yards came after contact. He forced three more missed tackles in that game. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Lacy has now rushed for 229 total yards after contact in his four career games against the Vikings.

four — Packers punts on Sunday, as many as their past three games combined.

The Packers were 6-for-11 on third down, averaged 5.8 yards per play and were 3-for-3 in the red zone. But there is a stat that proves the Vikings defense made it difficult at times for them, at least more difficult than previous opponents had. The Packers had punted just four times in their previous three games. The Vikings convinced them to bring out punter Tim Masthay four times, including on the first drive of the game. The Packers hadn’t punted in the first quarter since Week 6.

zero — sacks or quarterback hits allowed by Kalil in the loss to the Packers.

For the first time all season, Kalil didn’t allow his quarterback to hit the ground. The embattled left tackle allowed three hurries against the Packers, but no sacks or quarterback knockdowns. With Kalil stabilizing the left side, rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sacked just twice. But, as has always seemed to be the case with Kalil this season, there was some bad. Kalil was flagged three times for 35 yards. He has now been penalized eight times this season, according to ESPN.

54 — yards allowed in coverage by Josh Robinson against Green Bay’s wide-outs.

Robinson got picked on by the Bears in Week 11, but he responded with a solid performance against the Packers and their talented receivers. The cornerback was targeted 10 times by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and allowed six of the throws to be completed, but they were usually underneath the coverage. Jordy Nelson had five catches for 44 yards against him and Davante Adams had one for 10. It should be noted that fellow cornerback Xavier Rhodes was even better.

five — consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass for Bridgewater.

It took four games for the rookie quarterback to throw his first NFL touchdown pass. But after he hit wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson for his first back in the Bills game, Bridgewater has made a habit of throwing the ball into the end zone for scores. Bridgewater has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in five straight games and the two he threw against the Packers were a career high. His TD-INT differential was 6-4 in those games, but he is still a negative in that stat on the season.

Vikings NFL Draft order: Week 13

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated November 25th at 11:02am 283843491

Every Tuesday, we’ll analyze the Vikings draft chances for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Apologizes for not updating the Vikings draft chances last Tuesday with the NFL announcing Adrian Peterson’s suspension, but we’re back! And it’s time for…wait, where did all the red pills go?

Two weeks, two losses. The reality that the Vikings, at 4-7, will be draft bound has swept throughout the Twin Cities. Most of you are here to see where they belong in the draft order, but to appease our entire audience and those still clinging to their blue pills, the Vikings have a 0.03 percent chance of making the playoffs.

“So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

Yes, Lloyd Christmas, in your fabricated reality, we are saying there’s a very, very, tiny chance.

But back in the real world, the Vikings sit in last place in the NFC North and have a top 10 pick at this moment. Here’s how the order looks with record, strength of schedule tiebreaker (if necessary) and upcoming opponent listed in parentheses:

  1. Jacksonville (1-10) (.574) (vs. NY Giants on Sunday)
  2. Oakland (1-10) (.612) (at St. Louis on Sunday)
  3. Tampa Bay (2-9) (.434) (vs. Cincinnati on Sunday)
  4. Tennessee (2-9) (.558) (at Houston on Sunday)
  5. NY Jets (2-9) (.591) (vs. Miami on Monday)
  6. Washington (3-8) (.463) (at Indianapolis on Sunday)
  7. NY Giants (3-8) (.603) (at Jacksonville on Sunday)
  8. Carolina (3-7-1) (at Minnesota on Sunday)
  9. Minnesota (4-7) (.496) (vs. Carolina on Sunday)
  10. New Orleans (4-7) (.527) (at Pittsburgh on Sunday)
  11. St. Louis (4-7) (.612) (vs. Oakland on Sunday)

If the season ended today, the Vikings would have the ninth overall pick, edging out the Saints and Rams with the same record due to a lower strength of schedule percentage. A loss against the Panthers, who sit with the eighth overall pick right now, would move the Vikings, at worst, one spot up in the draft order.

Strength of schedule will change weekly as teams progress through the final five games of the season. The remaining five opponents for the Vikings at this point are 23-32-1 (.427), so their strength of schedule could dip a little more by the end of the season.

It’s also noteworthy that the Falcons, who sit in first place in the terrible NFC South, would have the ninth overall pick at this point if they didn’t hold a playoff spot. They’re 4-7 with a .430 strength of schedule percentage, which is lower than the Vikings at this point.

Yes, Lloyd, the Vikings would have a shot at the playoffs if they played in the NFC South this year. But, they don’t.

We’re going to need a refill on red pills.

Meanwhile, here are a few “Big Boards” to tickle your draft fantasies for the time being.  ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Ducks QB Marcus Mariota as the top player on his list,  but CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang currently has USC DE Leonard Williams as the top prospect in college football at the moment.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Loadholt done, Kalil apologizes, no moral victories and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 25th at 10:42am 283841981

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

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— The Vikings lost RT Phil Loadholt for the season with a torn pec.

— Backup OT Mike Harris says he is ready to step in for Loadholt.

— LT Matt Kalil apologized to the media, but not that Vikings fan.

— Head coach Mike Zimmer says he does not count moral victories.

— Charles Johnson led all Vikings receivers in playing time Sunday.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

— Panthers DB Josh Norman is not a fan of CB Captain Munnerlyn.

— The Panthers are hoping for another rebirth against the Vikings.

— The Panthers need to keep feeding rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

Vikings players have the day off. Several of them, including C John Sullivan and DT Tom Johnson, will spend it at an early Thanksgiving meal at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Sacks and pressures were the big issue for Kalil until recently. Now penalties are a problem for him, too. Kalil was flagged three times Sunday against the Packers for 35 yards. He has now been penalized eight times this season, according to ESPN. That’s the seventh-highest total in the NFL.

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Boston 102
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Houston 85
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Denver 122
Memphis 112 FINAL
Portland 99
Minnesota 120 FINAL
LA Lakers 119
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Washington 5
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Montreal 1 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Detroit 5 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 4
Carolina 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL
Columbus 0
Ottawa 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Edmonton 3 FINAL(OT)
St. Louis 4
Minnesota 5 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 4
Tennessee 67 FINAL
Kansas 82
Eastern Ill 40 FINAL
NC Central 65
New Orleans 65 FINAL
Texas A&M 87
Radford 65 FINAL
NC A&T 57
Butler 64 FINAL
Georgetown 58
Prairie View 71 FINAL
Brown 81
Southern U 63 FINAL
Northern Ariz 70
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Wright State 59
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Xavier 73
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Bucknell 80
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Ohio State 73
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Texas Southern 71
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TX A&M-CC 75
Missouri State 55 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 51
Minnesota 66 FINAL
Georgia 62
Oklahoma 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 69
Stephen F Austin 83 FINAL
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Norfolk State 72 FINAL
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Florida State 58
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Miami-Florida 87
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NC State 60
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TCU 57
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Saint Peters 66
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Florida 64
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Jackson State 56
Samford 64 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 77
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Marshall 59
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Nebraska 75
SE Louisiana 61 FINAL
Tulane 71
Creighton 68 FINAL
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Portland 64
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Arkansas 89
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Indiana 87
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Virginia 64
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Western Mich 21
Nebraska 37 FINAL
Iowa 34
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UCF 16 FINAL
So Florida 0
Houston 35 FINAL
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Kent State 27
Ball State 41 FINAL
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Massachusetts 21
Toledo 52 FINAL
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Arkansas 14 FINAL
(17) Missouri 21
Navy 42 FINAL
South Alabama 40
(13) Arizona State 35 FINAL
(12) Arizona 42
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(9) UCLA 10
(21) Colorado State 24 FINAL
Air Force 27
Virginia 20 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
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Tulsa 32
North Texas 11:00 AM
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(16) Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
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TBA
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Saint Louis 75
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No Dakota State 79
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Arizona State 51
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Buffalo 77
Boston College 90 FINAL
Brown 80
Wyoming 63 FINAL
Iowa State 84
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New Mexico St 97
Texas Tech 53 FINAL
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Washington 81 FINAL
Hartford 70
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Clemson 61
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Navy 71
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UCLA 66
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Southern Miss 80
(17) Iowa 67 FINAL
Arkansas 77
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Denver 62
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Idaho State 73
IUPUI 61 FINAL
Texas Southern 71
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Wisconsin 43
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Sam Houston St 67
Minnesota 54 FINAL
Vanderbilt 71
Kent State 47 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 57
Montana 55 FINAL
Princeton 80
(9) Kentucky 92 FINAL
Oklahoma 88
Arizona 65 FINAL
FIU 58
Northern Ky 52 FINAL
Grand Canyon 45
Stetson 57 FINAL
Marist 50
American Univ 59 FINAL
Gonzaga 56
UAB 61 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 66
Oral Roberts 38 FINAL
NC A&T 47
Stony Brook 42 FINAL
(8) Duke 72
TCU 62 FINAL
Colorado State 76
(5) Stanford 54 FINAL
(11) North Carolina 70
Monmouth 82 FINAL
Wagner 59
Portland 59 FINAL
Nevada 84
Stephen F Austin 62 FINAL
UC-Riverside 90
Alcorn State 33 FINAL
Rice 61
Lafayette 61 FINAL
(12) Louisville 102
Florida 81 FINAL
Georgetown 73
Miami-Ohio 51 FINAL
Oakland 65
SE Missouri St 62 FINAL
Southern Ill 78
Florida A&M 46 FINAL
SMU 77
Northern Colorado 67 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 58
Montana State 66 FINAL
CS-Northridge 78
(22) Syracuse 63 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Dartmouth 74 FINAL
Cal Poly 61
Utah State 43 FINAL
(13) Baylor 99
Toledo 64 FINAL
Virginia 62
Christian Brothers 39 FINAL
Arkansas State 79
South Florida 67 FINAL
Illinois 61
Coll of Charleston 24 FINAL
(3) Connecticut 85
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Charlotte 58
San Jose St 87 FINAL
(14) California 110
Central Michigan 73 FINAL
Oregon 67
Fresno State 93 FINAL
San Diego 88
Boston U 49 FINAL
New Mexico 56
Missouri State 59 FINAL
Colorado 87
Ole Miss 52 FINAL
Utah 38
Prairie View 58 FINAL
Hawaii 72
Army 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 39
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Creighton 63

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