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.


Rocking chair and locker room notes

Posted by: under Vikings players Updated: September 9, 2009 - 2:30 PM

The Vikings are on the field for practice and the only player not participating is backup linebacker Erin Henderson, who has a leg injury. Safety Madieu Williams is back after missing Monday's practice with the flu bug.

Here are some other notes from the locker room access:

Take a seat

A popular topic inside the locker room was the rocking chair positioned in front of Brett Favre's locker. Apparently, someone put the chair there a week ago, but one veteran said it's a mystery who pulled the prank.

"It was placed there by an unknown player," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. "I guess somebody was trying to mess with him. A little initiation"
 
Offensive or defensive player?
 
"I’m assuming it was an offensive player," Shiancoe said. "I think I have an idea of who it was. I can’t tell you who it is. It’s somebody that he really gets on a lot. Mystery. It wasn’t me. I may laugh and joke a lot but I leave Brett alone because he throws me the ball."
 
Said defensive end Jared Allen: "It wasn't me. I plead the fifth. I know who did it but I'm not telling."
 
Asked if that is the end of the Favre hazing, Shiancoe said more could come.
 
"We need to get that orange-pinkish hat that he has," he said. "You know which one I’m talking about? Every time you see him he has on that hat. We have to get that hat and put it on ebay. Or I’ll just come out wearing it one day and see what he says. ‘How did you get my hat, Shank?’ But I’ve got a big head. I don’t think it would fit."

Who's the quarterback?

Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini has declined to say whether Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson his starting quarterback, but the Vikings don't seem too concerned about who lines up under center.

"It’s not really going to affect us," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "The whole offense is not going to be different. They will throw in a few wrinkles. But whoever lines up back there at quarterback, we’ll worry about it on Sunday. We have to defend whatever they come out in and line up regardless of the quarterback. With both guys being similar and not big scramblers, you really don’t have to worry about that."
 
Said linebacker Ben Leber: "Right now it doesn’t even matter to us. We’re going to go off the limited snaps what they tried to establish in the preseason. Right now the quarterback situation is a non-issue for us."
 
 
Bring the noise
 
Browns fans are known for being loud and colorful and the Vikings are expecting a crazy atmosphere Sunday.
 
"We expect a wild crowd," guard Steve Hutchinson said. "Anytime I’ve played in that stadium it’s been a wild bunch. Those fans really appreciate football there."
 
Said Allen: "It’s great. It doesn’t make it tough. It makes it exciting. You love going to places [like that]. It beats going on the road somewhere where there are no fans. Jacksonville last year you could hear the birds singing. You love to go places where the fans are rude and having a good time. That’s what football is all about."
 
Getting back to normal 
 
Wide receiver Bernard Berrian declined to talk about his hamstring injury, referring those questions to coach Brad Childress.
 
Berrian said his timing with Favre is getting better and he's becoming more comfortable with his quarterback. Berrian, however, also said it's not a guarantee that those two will flourish together.
 
"It could but it could also backfire," he said. "As long as we’re going out there and working every day to get better and trying to achieve the team goal, then that’s all we’re trying to do."
 
Asked what he meant by backfire, Berrian said: "It could always go wrong. You never know. We could not work well together or something like that. You never know what happens. But as long as we’re taking care of business out here and we bring it to the game we should be fine."
 
Berrian missed a lot of practice time during the preseason because of the hamstring injury. He said the timing was unfortunate because he missed valuable practice time with Favre.
 
"Coming in and getting slowed down a little bit has been hard because I worked really hard this offseason to try and elevate my game and take it to another level," he said. "I’ve been slowed but now I’m back in it. No excuses anymore."
 
 
 

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