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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Vikings sign RB Joe Banyard from practice squad

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 14th at 8:43am 275014701

The Vikings signed running back Joe Banyard from the practice squad for Sunday’s home opener against the Patriots. The team waived fullback Zach Line to make room on the active roster for Banyard, who will be the team’s third running back behind Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon.

The move occurs a day after the Vikings deactivated Adrian Peterson, who has been charged with one count of injury to a child in Texas. Peterson was booked in Montgomery County jail around 1 a.m. Saturday and released on $15,000 bond.

The Vikings cut Banyard shortly after the final preseason game to trim their roster down to 53 players. Banyard, in his second season, signed to the practice squad after clearing waivers. He had 36 carries for 212 rushing yards in four preseason games. The 25-year-old had an impressive outing in the preseason finale against the Titans, gaining 111 rushing yards on 18 carries.

This will be Banyard’s fourth game on an active roster.  He was on the Vikings active roster for the final three weeks last season with injuries to Peterson and running back Toby Gerhart, recording one reception for 11 yards. Banyard made his debut on Dec. 15, 2013 against the Eagles.

Adrian Peterson indicted in Texas, according to TV report

Posted by: Christopher Miller Updated September 12th at 3:59pm 274943861

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child in North Montgomery County, Texas, according to the Fox television affiliate in Houston.

Sports director Marc Berman of Fox26 cited sources in his report, and said Peterson’s attorney, Rustin Hardin, declined comment.

The charges stem from allegations Peterson beat a young son, according to the Isiah Carey of Fox26.

Phil Grant of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office told Carey the office can’t comment until a suspect is in custody.

Peterson did not practice with the Vikings on Thursday to attend to personal matters, but he did give his regular press conference in the team’s locker room.

Peterson had a young son murdered in South Dakota in Oct. 2013. The boy lived with his mother, and Peterson saw him for the first time shortly before he was taken off life support.

In an ESPN interview in 2009 Peterson said he had two children who lived with their mothers in Texas.

He married Ashley Brown in Minneapolis in July.

Captain Munnerlyn and the art of trash talking

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated September 12th at 3:12pm 274932531

Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn tackled wide receiver Chris Givens 17 yards shy of a first down marker, forcing the Rams to punt with five minutes left in the third.

Munnerlyn jumped up and held his fist up at the Rams bench, signifying the fourth down stop to the opposing team.

“That’s just me,” Munnerlyn said this week. “Everybody knows that just Captain.”

That’s just how the Mobile, Ala. native plays, and has always played, the game. Munnerlyn has been a known trash talker and one of the few among the Vikings corners, a position known to have confident players like Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis and Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.

“I always talk a little bit,” Munnerlyn said. ‘I always try not to let guys get in my head, so I just got to say something back. I let my play do the talking, especially when I make a couple plays I’m going to let you know about.”

While players on both sides were getting chirpy last week, Munnerlyn did a lot of talking. The 26-year old and oldest starter in the secondary felt he backed it up, however, as the Vikings didn’t allow a touchdown in the 34-6 victory.

“When guys start talking to me, I feel like I have to make a play,” Munnerlyn said. “That’s how I make them shut up and make them respect my game.”

Heck, Munnerlyn even will jab at his teammates, referencing his previous matchups against the Vikings as a member of the Panthers for his first five seasons in the NFL.

“I had to let them know about that,” Munnerlyn said. “Even when we played those guys, I had to let them know. ‘I was in Carolina, we did you like this.’”

Whether it’s wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson or Givens, in last week’s case, Munnerlyn will open his mouth after plays and get in his comfort zone.

Hate it or love it, that’s just Captain.

Belichick expects Zimmer to Xerox his 2013 plan

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 12th at 3:13pm 274915061

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his players have heard all week about how Mike Zimmer shut down the Patriots offense last season when he was the defensive coordinator for the Bengals.

In that game, the Bengals sacked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady four times and disrupted his timing with his receivers. Brady completed just 47.4 percent of his passes and his touchdown streak was snapped in a 13-6 Bengals win. The Patriots were 1-for-12 on third down that afternoon.

The Bengals blitzed on just 14 of his 42 dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. When they did blitz, they sacked Brady three times and forced him to throw incomplete on seven of his 11 attempts.

Belichick was asked his morning if he expected Zimmer to stick with same game plan Sunday.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if they Xeroxed the same game plan,” Belichick said. “They did a good job. Yeah, we’re certainly prepared for that, if they just do the same thing they did last year. It wouldn’t shock me at all, until we show we can do something about it. We didn’t do much last year.”

Asked about Belichick’s comment later in the day, Zimmer shook his head and made a “psssh” sound.

“I don’t know. It was a completely different team,” he said. “I mean, they didn’t have [tight end Rob] Gronkowski last year. I don’t know. I know he’s going for win No. 200 and I’m going for No. 2, so.”

One reporter pointed out to Zimmer that in today’s digital age, he would probably PDF it anyway.

“I don’t even know how to do those things,” Zimmer said, getting a few laughs from reporters.

Vikings' Rhodes and Floyd questionable for Sunday

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated September 12th at 3:13pm 274908951

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, both starters for the Vikings, were listed as questionable on the team’s final injury report before Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

Floyd returned to practice today and was wearing a helmet while participating in individual drills in the portion of practice open to media. Floyd missed practice the previous two days with a shoulder injury suffered in the fourth quarter of the win over the Rams.

Rhodes, who is dealing with a groin injury suffered last Sunday, practiced for a second straight day.

Head coach Mike Zimmer has said there’s a good chance Floyd and Rhodes will play Sunday.

Starting running back Adrian Peterson also returned to practice today after he was excused from practice yesterday for a non-injury-related issue. He will suit up against the Patriots, of course.

Outside linebacker Brandon Watts, who has not practiced since the preseason, has already been ruled out for Sunday with a knee injury. Wide receiver Rodney Smith, who popped up with a new ailment on today’s report, is questionable with a hamstring injury.

Left guard Charlie Johnson (ankle), fullback Zach Line (ankle), outside linebacker Michael Mauti (foot), backup tackle Mike Harris (shoulder) and cornerback Jabari Price (hamstring) are probable.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) was listed as probable to play against the Vikings. Five Patriots, including linebacker Jamie Collins and center Ryan Wendell, are questionable.

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