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.
Linebacker Gerald Hodges, cornerback Jabari Price and defensive tackle Fred Evans all returned to practice on Tuesday. While Hodges has a knee injury, it has not been disclosed what sidelined Price and Evans.
While three Vikings returned, eight were held out. Wide receiver Rodney Smith, offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle), safety Jamarca Sanford (quad) and nose tackle Linval Joseph (calf) were at practice but did not participate. Smith’s injury is also unknown, but he landed awkwardly on his recovering an onside kick late against the Chiefs on Saturday.
Safety Chris Crocker, linebackers Anthony Barr, Michael Mauti and Brandon Watts were not present. It’s the second straight practice they’ve missed in preparation for the Titans, though it is also unknown at the moment why they’ve been absent from practice this week.
Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph spoke to the media for the first time on Tuesday since he was shot in his calf on Aug. 9. He hasn’t participated in practice since the injury, but Joseph expects to be ready for Week 1 against the Rams.
Joseph said he’s been conditioning indoors over the past week, but Joseph increased his workload on Monday while running outside for the first time.
“My concern right now from the jump was just to do what I love, which is to play football,” Joseph said. “I just thank God that it was just a clean wound, straight in and straight out, and it’s behind me now. I’m glad I’m healthy and can help this team.”
Joseph, in his first year with the Vikings after four seasons with the Giants, was among nine people shot at a downtown Minneapolis club the same night the Vikings defeated the Raiders, 10-6, in their preseason opener at TCF Bank Stadium.
“For all the victims who were involved and seriously hurt, I wish them a speedy recovery as well,” Joseph said. “You never wish for anything like that to happen to anybody.”
The 25-year-old would not go into details about the night of the shooting but described it as a “scary” moment that has changed his perspective on life.
“It’s just a flash and just makes you think about everything you’ve done in your life,” Joseph said. “I’m 25 years old and feel like I have a lot left to accomplish with my job and just my life. I’m just glad I have the opportunity to do that.”
Every Monday, well Tuesday in this case, we’ll take four questions from Twitter for our weekly mailbag using the #VikingsST hashtag.
After seeing the offense and defense in progressive what is legit chances of ten wins? What do you see our record #VikingsST
— zach sween (@1Sween) August 25, 2014
The Vikings will be an improved team, but I don’t think that will result in 10 wins. Yes, unlike other sports leagues, there’s always a team that jumps from worst to first in the NFL. I just don’t think it’ll be this team.
The Vikings have shown some good signs in the preseason, especially on offense. The defense is the biggest concern and will decide if the Vikings are that surprise team, or just another average team. It’s easy to get your hopes up with the team 3-0. Thoughts of a playoff berth and 10 wins creep in, but it’s the preseason. The record doesn’t mean a thing and it could play out dramatically different at the start of the regular season.
I had the Vikings at 7-9 before the season. With Rams quarterback Sam Bradford out for the season, I bumped it to 8-8. It still projects as a third place finish, ahead of the Lions, in my opinion.
— Anthony Skubic (@Skubzy) August 25, 2014
Not every first rounder makes an immediate impact as a rookie and there’s seems to be a lofty expectation every year on all first round picks to do just that. If a player fails to exceed that, he’s immediately a bust apparently.
Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd lost weight in the offseason, removing red meat and pork from his diet, but he’s continued to develop all-around as a defensive tackle. Floyd’s getting more opportunities now as the starting three-technique tackle rather than serving as a backup last year. He played very well the last two games, specifically his pass rushing ability, and we’ll see if he can carry that play into the regular season. Remember, it’s his second season. There will still be some growing pains Floyd will experience throughout the season, especially in a new scheme. He’ll need to show progress, however, similar to how he’s performed in the preseason.
— Josh Betts (@BettsSportsBeat) August 25, 2014
Matt Asiata has been very impressive during preseason, including as an option in pass situations out the backfield. McKinnon can be a third down back and used at times in the pass offense in two-back formation, but Asiata is Adrian Peterson’s backup.
It’ll be interesting to watch when offensive coordinator Norv Turner uses McKinnon to start the season. He brings a change-of-pace to big backs like Peterson and Asiata, but how often will Turner want that? Although he does provide the flexibility, it doesn’t appear that McKinnon will get too many snaps early in the year.
— Chris Duncanson (@SpyderFenix) August 25, 2014
Head coach Mike Zimmer might’ve reference the cornerback as “the other guy” last week, but cut him?
Yes, he’ll make the team.
The Vikings made their final roster move on Tuesday to reach the maximum 75-player limit before the 3 p.m. CT deadline.
The team waived tight end Mike Higgins, a day after activating Chase Ford off the physically unable to perform list.
Here’s a recap of the other 14 players the Vikings released or waived with an injury on Monday.
The Vikings face the Titans on Thursday, then have until 3 p.m. CT on Saturday to finalize their 53-man roster for the regular season.
Every weekday, our Vikings reporters walk you through what’s happening with the team that day.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Head coach Mike Zimmer named Matt Cassel his starting quarterback.
— Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater still thinks Minnesota is a perfect situation for him.
— S Mistral Raymond and CB Derek Cox were among the team’s first roster cuts.
— The Vikings activated TE Chase Ford from the PUP list.
— Zimmer is apparently not a big fan of Pro Football Focus.
TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) August 25, 2014
AROUND THE NFC NORTH
— Jimmy Clausen won the battle to be the Bears’ backup quarterback.
— Rookie C Corey Linsley must step up with J.C. Tretter sidelined.
— The Lions claimed two tight ends off of waivers.
TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE
After the morning walkthrough, coordinators Norv Turner and George Edwards will chat with reporters at 11 a.m. and the locker room will be open. The Vikings start practice at 12:50 p.m.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Zimmer cares not for the grades from Pro Football Focus, but he may not mind seeing that they have graded Everson Griffen the third highest among 4-3 defensive ends during the preseason. They have Griffen down for eight total quarterback pressures in 53 total snaps as a pass rusher.
|NY Yankees - LP: B. McCarthy||3||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: J. Happ||4|
|Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett||5||FINAL|
|NY Mets - WP: D. Gee||6|
|Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto||3||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - LP: J. Hughes||2|
|Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco||8||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: W. Chen||12|
|Boston - WP: C. Buchholz||3||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb||0|
|Detroit - LP: R. Porcello||2||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana||6|
|Texas - LP: N. Cotts||2||FINAL|
|Houston - WP: J. Veras||3|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: C. Villanueva||6||FINAL|
|St. Louis - WP: P. Neshek||9|
|Oakland - LP: S. Kazmir||1||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker||8|
|Milwaukee - LP: K. Lohse||5||FINAL|
|San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner||15|
|Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu||7||FINAL|
|San Diego - LP: E. Stults||1|
|Washington - LP: T. Roark||3||FINAL|
|Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma||5|
|Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa||2||FINAL|
|Arizona - WP: C. Anderson||6|
|Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi||0||FINAL|
|Atlanta - WP: A. Wood||1|
|Green Bay||9/4/14 7:30 PM|
|(5) Ohio State||34||FINAL|
|(17) Notre Dame||48|
|(10) South Dakota St||18||FINAL|
|(23) North Carolina||56|
|Stephen F Austin||16||FINAL|
|(20) Kansas State||55|
|(1) Florida State||37||FINAL|
|Arizona||9/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh||9/5/14 6:00 PM|
|Washington St||9/5/14 9:30 PM|
|SMU||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Fla Atlantic||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Buffalo||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(24) Missouri||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Arkansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(8) McNeese State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Central Mich||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Akron||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ill||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(20) Kansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(4) Oklahoma||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ky||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|SC State||9/6/14 11:30 AM|
|Navy||9/6/14 12:00 PM|
|UAB||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|South Alabama||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|Colorado||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(1) Eastern Wash||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(15) USC||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ohio U||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Northern Ill||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Missouri State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ball State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Maryland||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Eastern Mich||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|Georgia Tech||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|(18) Ole Miss||9/6/14 3:30 PM|
|Old Dominion||9/6/14 5:00 PM|
|(8) Michigan State||9/6/14 5:30 PM|
|(19) Arizona State||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|San Jose St||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|East Carolina||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(9) So Carolina|
|Duke||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(17) Sam Houston St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Michigan||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(17) Notre Dame|
|Lamar||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(21) Texas A&M|
|Northwestern St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|BYU||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Citadel||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|San Diego St||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(23) North Carolina|
|Virginia Tech||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State|
|Memphis||9/6/14 9:00 PM|
|Colorado State||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Air Force||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Oregon State||9/6/14 9:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||9/6/14 10:00 PM|
|Red Bull New York||0||FINAL|