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.
The Vikings are expected to release tight end John Carlson, two NFL sources have confirmed.
The team tried to restructure Carlson’s contract for a second straight offseason but the two sides couldn’t reach a deal. Carlson is expected to be released on Wednesday.
Carlson, 29, finished the season on injured reserve because of a concussion he suffered in Week 14 against the Ravens. Carlson told the Star Tribune in February that he planned to continue his football career next season. The concussion was his third in six NFL seasons.
The Litchfield, Minn. native signed a five-year deal worth $25 million in 2012. In two seasons with the Vikings, Carlson played 27 games and had 40 catches for 387 yards and a touchdown.
Most of his production occurred after tight end Kyle Rudolph broke a foot in Week 9 last season. Carlson had 283 yards and a touchdown in a five-week span as the starter before suffering the season-ending concussion.
The move is expected to save the Vikings around $2 million in salary cap space.
NFL free agency begins next Tuesday, although teams are allowed to negotiate with agents beginning Saturday.
Coaching candidate: Darrell Bevell
Contact: Interviewed with the Vikings last weekend; cannot speak with team again until Seahawks eliminated or after the Super Bowl
Head coaching experience: None
NFL coaching experience: 13 seasons
2000-05 – Offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach for the Packers
2006-2010 – Offensive coordinator for the Vikings
2011-present – Offensive coordinator for the Seahawks
Ever heard of this guy? Bevell has been one of the hot coordinators this year seeking a head coaching position. He knocked out two interviews last week, including one with the Vikings, and has drawn interest from the Redskins, Lions and Titans.
The Yuma, Ariz. native spent five seasons with the Vikings as offensive coordinator under head coach Brad Childress. He wasn’t retained once the organization fired Childress and hired Leslie Frazier, but Bevell received the same position in Seattle in 2011. It turned out to be a pretty nice career move for him.
Bevell has helped with the development of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in his two NFL seasons. Like the case in Minnesota however, the Seahawks offense ranked in the top five in rushing over the last two seasons (third last season with 161.2 ypg; fourth this season with 136.8 ypg). The Seahawks won their first NFC West division title this season with Bevell as the offensive coordinator.
Bevell was a four-year starter at the University of Wisconsin after starting at Northern Arizona and taking a two-year Mormon mission trip to Cleveland, Ohio in 1990-91. The Badgers went 10-1-1 during Bevell’s sophomore season to claim a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 1962. He completed 61.4 percent of his passes during his collegiate career.
Here's a story the Star Tribune did on Bevell in 2010.
Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has retained Twin Cities attorney Clayton Halunen to represent him in the team's investigation into alleged homophobic comments by an assistant coach.
According to a press release, Halunen will serve as co-counsel with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
The Vikings announced last week that they initiated an investigation to look into Kluwe's allegations that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made repeated derogatory gay comments in 2012.
The team announced that former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel will lead the investigation.
Jared Allen, one of three Vikings players who flew to Hattiesburg, Miss., to talk Brett Favre out of retirement before the 2010 season, joked that he’s prepared to take to the skies again if need be.
“If he comes back, I’m going to fly down there and tell him to stay retired,” Allen said today before looking into a nearby camera, adding, “Brett, if you’re listening, stay retired, man. He can’t come back again.”
Favre apparently feels the same way. Speaking to SportsTalk 570 in Washington, D.C., the former Packers and Vikings – and Falcons and Jets – quarterback confirmed an ESPN report that the Rams reached out to Favre through his agent, Bus Cook, about coming back to replace Sam Bradford, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament and is out for the season. Favre, however, nipped the latest Favreapolooza media fest in its infant stages by reminding people that he’s a 44-year-old grandfather who isn’t fond of being sacked.
“It’s flattering,” Favre said. “But there’s no way in hell I’m going to do that.”
Allen said he thinks Favre could pull it off if he wanted to.
“I saw him this offseason,” Allen said. “Dude’s in good shape. He could probably come back and still sling a few.”
Favre retired -- again -- after leading the Vikings to the NFC Championship game during the 2009 season. But Allen and then-teammates Ryan Longwell and Steve Hutchinson were sent during the following year's training camp to talk Favre into coming back, which he did. But the magic stayed in Mississippi as Favre's 20-year career ended with 11 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions in 13 starts during the Vikings’ 6-10 season. His streak of 321 games, including postseason, ended because of a sprained shoulder on Dec. 13, 2010 against the Giants.
LONDON -- Former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper made an appearance at a fan forum as part of the NFL festivities here this weekend.
Culpepper joined former Vikings wide receiver Ahmad Rashad and Steelers running back Merril Hoge. In response to a fan's question about his favorite moment, Culpepper mentioned throwing 60-yard passes and seeing fans rise of out their seats.
"It gives me chills now thinking about it," Culpepper said.
The final question came from a man in a Steelers jersey, who made a Love Boat joke by asking if Culpepper would bring some of friends on a cruise down the Thames River. Culpepper took the jab with humor and even had his picture taken with the man's son afterward.
We spent a few minutes with Culpepper after the event and he reflected on his time with the Vikings.
"All good memories," he said. "I would have loved to stay there my whole career. But that’s just how it happens in the business sometimes. Things happen and people move on. My memories of Minnesota are excellent. Every game was sold out. We had some games I wish we could have won. But overall, it was a positive experience for me. I had a great time. The fans were absolutely wonderful."
Culpepper lives in Orlando and opened a restaurant there a month ago called "Culpepper's."
Culpepper had an MVP-caliber season in 2004 and then had a severe knee injury the following season. He played for the Dolphins, Raiders and Lions and a stint in the UFL after leaving the Vikings.
He said he doesn't reflect on how his career might have gone had he not suffered that knee injury in '05.
"I played good football afterwards," he said. "I wasn’t on teams that were very successful. But I don’t take anything away from the time I played in the league after my knee injury. I had the same attitude. Football is a team sport. It’s not because of one guy you win and it’s not because of one guy you lose.
"I don’t have any regrets," he added. "I played the game the same way the whole time. I played to win. Whatever I had to do to try and win, I was going to do it. Every game I always wanted to be able to look myself in the mirror and say, 'Hey, I put everything out there.' I don’t regret anything about how I played the game."
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