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 4 Downs: Can Ben Tate make an immediate impact?

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated November 20th at 12:25pm 283351581

He might be forced to help immediately. The biggest concern with the Vikings at the position is running back Matt Asiata, who didn’t practice on Wednesday as he goes through the concussion protocol. Rookie running back Jerick McKinnon played through a low back injury last week, but he missed practice as well.

That would explain why the Vikings signed running back Dominique Williams to the practice squad with their open spot after cornerback Pierre Warren was signed by the Saints. They need help at the position and multiple options in case either, or both,  can’t play against the Packers.

I think he can be serviceable, but I’m not banking on a 100-yard rushing performance. Tate hasn’t played under offensive coordinator Norv Turner before, and I’m not sure if he’s played in a similar system before, so they’d likely have to simplify some elements of the run game so Tate can be useful three days before the game. It’s a difficult situation to prepare a player in such a limited amount of time, but it gives the Vikings an experienced back for at least the rest of the season and possibly next year.

Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson took a step back but not sure I’d call it a major step back. He’s had a disappointing season, both on offense and kickoff returns, given how effective he was in a limited role as a rookie. It comes with the territory of learning how to prepare when opponents are gameplanning to shut you down. Patterson still hasn’t learned how to deal with that, struggling to get open consistently and becoming a viable option for rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Once again, there’s still time for Patterson to turn it around but the window is more open for him than left tackle Matt Kalil, who is going through another bad season. Though he’s only in his third season, it’s a legitimate question to ask whether Kalil will return to his rookie season form. To the viewer’s eye, Kalil’s struggles are more noticeable because we see Bridgewater sacked or pressured from his blindside time and time again.

Face it though, they’re both not playing up to their capabilities and have hurt the Vikings offense significantly this season.

It can work for a period of time, but it’s not sustainable when the team isn’t structured to play an entire game that way, nor will it structured in such a manner in the future. I’d like to see it in spurts, however, given how good Bridgewater has been and also to throw defenses off.

But the important thing for Bridgewater at this point will be to receive as many snaps as possible in the pace the offense will flow in the future. The more experience he receives in that, the more comfortable Bridgewater will become. I think that’s the most important thing to watch over the final six games. We haven’t seen Bridgewater comfortable for an entire game since his first career start, particularly during the first half.

The Vikings would have $6 million in dead money that would count against the cap, though he’d be owed $11 million if he remains on the team. It wouldn’t be worth it to cut him this offseason.

Greg Jennings, 31, hasn’t been the same receiver he was in Green Bay as he’s dealt with a quarterback carousel of Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman and now Bridgewater. There’s still a need for a veteran wide receiver on the roster with a young offense to help Patterson, Jarius Wright, Adam Thielen, Charles Johnson and even Bridgewater. Fans might be upset that the Vikings overpaid for Jennings, and he hasn’t been the No. 1 receiver he was paid to be, but he’s still a veteran with reliable hands when he gets open. I don’t think that’s a guy you should take away from a rookie quarterback.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Peterson circus packs it up, Vikings pick up Tate and more

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 20th at 9:26am 283323341

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


— The media circus surrounding RB Adrian Peterson was back in town.

— Coach Mike Zimmer and QB Teddy Bridgewater didn’t seem distracted.

— The Vikings claimed veteran RB Ben Tate off waivers from the Browns.

— Running backs Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon both missed practice.

— CB Xavier Rhodes hopes Sunday’s interception was the first of many.



— QB Aaron Rodgers says the Packers must guard against overconfidence.

— The Packers aren’t worried about OLB Clay Matthews’ groin injury.

— Green Bay’s wide-receiver duo is rewriting the team’s record books.

— Packers RB Eddie Lacy is talking about losing some weight this offseason.


The Vikings will hold practice at 12:50 p.m. Beforehand, all three coordinators will talk at 11 a.m.


Tate could end up being a good fit with the Vikings, but the 26-year-old’s rushing efficiency has declined every year. As a rookie, he averaged 5.4 yards per carry. In 2012, he was at 4.29. In 2013, it was 4.26. And this year, after moving from the Texans to the Browns, it has plummeted to 3.1.

Vikings claim RB Tate off waivers from Browns

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated November 20th at 7:05am 283250811

With Adrian Peterson suspended for the season and fellow running back Matt Asiata recovering from a concussion, the Vikings have claimed former Browns back Ben Tate off waivers.

Tate, who started his career with the Texans, signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Browns this spring and was expected to be their lead running back.

He rushed for 41 yards on six carries in his Cleveland debut, but he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for nearly a month. That injury gave an opportunity to rookie backs Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, who showed promise.

Last week, Tate complained about his role. He then had just two carries for minus-9 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Texans. He was waived yesterday.

His Browns career lasted eight games. He rushed for just 333 yards on 106 carries with four TDs.

We will talk to head coach Mike Zimmer tomorrow to see exactly how Tate will fit in. But Zimmer has maintained after losing Peterson that he prefers a committee approach in the backfield. We can assume rookie Jerick McKinnon will have a prominent role, but we’ll see how much, if at all, Tate cuts into his work load.

Tate, 26, has a history of injury issues throughout his career. But he does not have much wear and tear, having backed up Texans back Arian Foster for his first few seasons, and he has experience in a zone scheme. At 5-foot-10 and 220 pounds, he packs a little more punch than McKinnon.

The Vikings, who have just under $9 million in salary cap space, will take on his contract for the rest of the season. If he is active for each of the final six games, he will earn $656,250 from the Vikings.

To make room for Tate, the Vikings waived tight end and former Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray.

Asiata on injury report with concussion; McKinnon also misses practice

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 19th at 3:49pm 283250091

Eleven players are on the Vikings’ first injury report of the week. The biggest surprise was running back Matt Asiata, who didn’t participate in practice because of a concussion. He would have to pass the league concussion protocol in order to return. If he doesn’t, the Vikings would lean even more on Ben Tate, the former Browns and Texans running back who was claimed off waivers and awarded to the Vikings today.

Tate might even garner a prominent role on Sunday  because running back Jerick McKinnon also didn’t practice because of a lower back issue that has bothered him since last week.

Also missing practice entirely were: WR Jarius Wright (hamstring), WR Greg Jennings (rib) and OT Mike Harris (ankle).

Limited in practice were LB Anthony Barr (knee), DT Sharrif Floyd (knee), CB Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and DE Everson Griffen (neck).

On the injury report with full practice participation were TE Kyle Rudolph, who is heading into his second game back after hernia surgery, and DE Scott Crichton (hip).

Jennings, Wright, McKinnon, Asiata, Harris not participating at start of practice

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated November 19th at 1:29pm 283230671

Vikings practice has begun and the media folks have just been booted from the building.

There but not practicing are receivers Greg Jennings and Jarius Wright, and running back Jerick McKinnon.

Not there and therefore not practicing so far are running back Matt Asiata and backup offensive tackle Mike Harris.

The team will issue its official injury report after practice.


Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Phoenix 4 1st Qtr 9:36
Indiana 6
Miami 6 1st Qtr 9:01
Orlando 4
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
New York
Toronto 6:30 PM
Dallas 7:00 PM
Sacramento 7:00 PM
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Washington 7:30 PM
New Orleans 8:00 PM
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Montreal 6:00 PM
Detroit 6:00 PM
Minnesota 0 1st Prd 16:21
Tampa Bay 0
Pittsburgh 0 1st Prd 17:33
NY Islanders 0
Columbus 0 1st Prd 16:56
Philadelphia 1
Buffalo 0 1st Prd 15:54
Washington 0
Florida 7:00 PM
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Carolina 8:00 PM
New Jersey 9:00 PM
Chicago 9:00 PM
Arizona 9:30 PM
San Jose
Incarnate Word 79 FINAL
Princeton 68
Robert Morris 66 FINAL
Georgetown 80
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
Massachusetts 68
Saint Peters 50 FINAL
La Salle 59
Ball State 69 FINAL
Utah State 63 FINAL
Miss State 71
High Point 56 FINAL
Richmond 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 63
Drake 75 FINAL
Western Mich 91
Samford 72 FINAL
CS-Northridge 79
Colgate 53 FINAL
Campbell 48
North Carolina 90 FINAL
Davidson 72
North Florida 49 FINAL
Northern Iowa 66
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 97 FINAL
Marquette 89
Clemson 59 FINAL
Nevada 50
Florida State 54 FINAL
Providence 80
South Alabama 53 FINAL
Detroit 66
Texas State 67 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 80
Trinity Christian 52 FINAL
Chicago State 75
Liberty 52 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 63
Western State 60 FINAL
Air Force 90
Elon 67 FINAL
Northwestern 68
Canisius 53 FINAL
St Bonaventure 59
MD-Eastern Shore 53 FINAL
St Francis-PA 57
Cleveland State 83 FINAL
Savannah State 87
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Central Arkansas 68
Ark-Little Rock 73
Southern U 48 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 66
Longwood 72 FINAL
Youngstown St 82
Towson 63 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Loyola-Maryland 39 FINAL
Butler 80
San Jose St 66 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 70
Texas Southern 66 FINAL
Norfolk State 76
Yale 53 FINAL
Southern Ill 46
Weber State 58
South Dakota 68 FINAL
Wofford 72
Duquesne 102 FINAL
Abilene Christian 81
Wright State 73 2nd Half 4:05
Char Southern 68
Miles 69 2nd Half 1:38
Jacksonville St 82
Binghamton 49 2nd Half 7:20
Manhattan 66
Alcorn State 55 2nd Half 5:35
Kennesaw St 70
Bob Jones Univ 40 2nd Half 14:03
Citadel 51
Piedmont Coll 21 2nd Half 15:30
Coastal Carolina 42
Johnson University 19 2nd Half
Ga Southern 58
Brown 35 2nd Half 15:47
Indiana State 40
Colorado 27 2nd Half 12:02
Wyoming 39
Quinnipiac 0 1st Half 20:00
Albany 0
Mount St Marys 0 1st Half 20:00
Bucknell 0
Master's College 4 1st Half 16:25
UC Santa Barbara 14
UNC-Asheville 11 1st Half 16:00
East Tenn St 8
Clermont College 6 1st Half 15:05
Eastern Ky 10
UNC Greensboro 6 1st Half 16:07
Eastern Mich 6
Sam Houston St 6:00 PM
American Univ 2 1st Half 15:46
Louisiana Tech 4
Army 2 1st Half 18:01
Marist 2
Hartford 7 1st Half 17:00
Niagara 5
Lafayette 0 1st Half 18:46
Penn 0
Nebraska 4 1st Half 16:11
Rhode Island 4
Vermont 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Eastern Wash 10 1st Half 14:52
SMU 16
UNLV 0 1st Half 17:38
Temple 3
Chattanooga 8 1st Half 15:41
Tenn Tech 4
UNC-Wilmington 6 1st Half 15:50
Va Military 7
Ohio Midwestern 0 1st Half 19:03
Northern Ky 3
UC Davis 6:30 PM
Ill-Chicago 6:30 PM
Kent State
Transylvania 6:30 PM
Central Conn St 6:30 PM
Oakwood 7:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Morgan State 7:00 PM
Lamar 7:00 PM
Northeastern 7:00 PM
William & Mary 7:00 PM
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
TX A&M-Kingsville 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Southern-New Orleans 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Belmont 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Hampton 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
UMBC 7:30 PM
Houston Baptist 7:30 PM
St Thomas Aquinas 8:00 PM
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
New Mexico St 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Stanford 8:30 PM
Morehead State 8:30 PM
SIU Edwardsville 9:00 PM
Boise State 9:00 PM
Valparaiso 11/23/14 8:30 AM
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 13 FINAL
Rice 31
Air Force 14 FINAL
San Diego St 30
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Utah State 41
Char Southern 9 FINAL
(9) Georgia 55
South Alabama 12 FINAL
So Carolina 37
Rutgers 3 FINAL
(10) Michigan State 45
Minnesota 28 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 24
Northwestern 38 FINAL
Purdue 14
(18) Marshall 23 FINAL
UAB 18
Kansas 7 FINAL
(23) Oklahoma 44
Indiana 27 FINAL
(7) Ohio State 42
Penn State 14 FINAL
Illinois 16
(14) Eastern Ky 3 FINAL
Florida 52
TX-San Antonio 7 FINAL
Western Ky 45
UCF 53
Tulsa 28 FINAL
Houston 38
Virginia Tech 3 FINAL
Wake Forest 6
Washington St 31 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 52
Louisiana Tech 27 FINAL
Old Dominion 30
Western Mich 32 FINAL
Central Mich 20
New Mexico 20 FINAL
(22) Colorado State 58
Eastern Mich 30 FINAL
Ball State 45
Appalachian St 35 FINAL
Louisiana 16
(15) Arizona 42 FINAL
(20) Utah 10
North Texas 17
(8) Ole Miss 0 FINAL
Arkansas 30
Louisville 31 FINAL
Notre Dame 28
Maryland 23 FINAL
Michigan 16
Texas Tech 34 FINAL
Iowa State 31
(14) Wisconsin 26 FINAL
Iowa 24
Syracuse 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
Boston College 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 20
Georgia State 0 FINAL
Clemson 28
Tulane 6 FINAL
East Carolina 34
Stanford 38 4th Qtr 7:36
California 10
Western Carolina 14 4th Qtr 5:03
(2) Alabama 48
ULM 30 4th Qtr 2:50
New Mexico St 17
So Florida 13 4th Qtr 3:30
Memphis 31
Colorado 10 4th Qtr 13:29
(3) Oregon 44
Fla Atlantic 7 1st Qtr 12:03
Middle Tennessee 0
Samford 0 1st Qtr 11:35
(16) Auburn 0
Miami-Florida 0 1st Qtr 10:45
Virginia 0
Vanderbilt 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 6:30 PM
Oklahoma State 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Boise State 9:15 PM
Oregon State 9:30 PM
Fresno State 9:30 PM
UNLV 10:00 PM
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
(21) Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(19) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(15) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(11) UCLA
(22) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
BYU 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(20) Utah 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Oregon State
Kentucky 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(24) USC
So Carolina 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Florida 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(1) Florida State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(25) Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 2:00 AM
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(17) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(8) Ole Miss
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(6) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(12) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
(16) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
TBA 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Grand Canyon 77 FINAL
Austin Peay 84
Bowling Green 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 50
St Bonaventure 68 FINAL
Detroit 56
Illinois-Chicago 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 69
Louisiana Tech 55 FINAL
Louisiana 58
MD-Eastern Shore 57 FINAL
Marshall 74
Butler 77 FINAL
Fairfield 81
Central Conn St 81 FINAL
UMass Lowell 58
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 60
St Marys-CA 57 FINAL
UC Davis 55
UNC-Asheville 53 FINAL
South Florida 97
Colgate 51 FINAL
Drexel 59
Niagara 64 FINAL
Buffalo 73
Vermont 61 FINAL
Boston U 66
Marist 51 FINAL
Northeastern 58
UNC-Wilmington 72 FINAL
Appalachian St 82
Duquesne 52 FINAL
Green Bay 84
Saint Josephs 75 FINAL
Liberty 76
Army 81 FINAL
Manhattan 49
Eastern Michigan 75 FINAL
TX-Pan American 81
Southern Ill 50 FINAL
Wright State 70
Youngstown St 70 FINAL
Radford 44
Stetson 62 FINAL
Indiana State 52
Rockhurst 65 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 55 FINAL
Rice 40
(23) Syracuse 77 FINAL
Jacksonville 61
NC Central 53 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 73
New Orleans 51 FINAL
Jacksonville St 65
(22) Rutgers 64 FINAL
LSU 57
Missouri State 36 FINAL
(21) Oklahoma St 77
Eastern Washington 53 FINAL
SMU 69
Houston Baptist 61 FINAL
Texas State 56
TX-Arlington 61 FINAL
Wichita State 71
(9) Maryland 75 FINAL
George Washington 65
Presbyterian 51 FINAL
Western Carolina 44
St Francis-NY 71 FINAL
Rider 60
Central Arkansas 56 FINAL
Jackson State 45
Kennesaw St 72 FINAL
Georgia Southern 51
Loyola-Chicago 45 FINAL
Northern Ky 38
Howard 64 FINAL
La Salle 65
San Jose St 91 FINAL
Cal-Irvine 65
Tennessee St 73 FINAL
Lipscomb 55
San Francisco 53 FINAL
UC-Riverside 66
Temple 56 FINAL
Kansas 76
San Diego 58 FINAL
Idaho 52
Concordia (OR) 35 FINAL
(20) Oregon State 92
Corban 74 FINAL
Portland State 64
Charleston Southern 24 2nd Half 13:26
Wofford 26
UT Martin 37 2nd Half 13:03
Pepperdine 40
Eastern Kentucky 31 2nd Half
Mercer 35
Weber State 17 2nd Half 17:40
Utah Valley U 28
North Dakota 28 1st Half 0:02
Towson 28
Seton Hall 9 1st Half 15:58
Penn State 5
LSU-Shreveport 6:00 PM
Brown 5 1st Half 18:21
New Hampshire 0
Penn 4 1st Half 15:48
Navy 2
Xavier 6:00 PM
Georgetown 6:30 PM
(13) Kentucky 7:00 PM
Central Michigan
Texas Southern 7:00 PM
South Dakota St 7:00 PM
(18) DePaul
Talladega 7:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Alcorn State 7:00 PM
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
Dayton 7:30 PM
(19) Iowa
Nevada 8:30 PM


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