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.


Posts about Football on TV

Senior Bowl profile: Pitt DT Aaron Donald

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: January 21, 2014 - 10:56 AM

Player: Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald

Senior Bowl weigh-in: 6’0, 288 pounds; hands – 9 7/8; arm – 31 ¾; wing – 77 3/8

Senior stats (13 games): 59 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, four forced fumbles (ACC Defensive Player of the Year

Donald has been knocked as undersized at his position, but he had arguably with the best performance after the first day of practice on Monday.

 The Pittsburgh native shined the most during one-on-one drills against Baylor guard Cyril Richardson during the North practice where Donald dominated one of the best guards in the 2014 NFL Draft multiple times. He mixed it up showing his quickness and explosion off the line of scrimmage but also strength at times.

“I can switch it up a whole lot, but I like to stay true with the bull rush to show the power,” Donald said.

Donald said he played defensive end, nose tackle and three-technique tackle (his preferred position) at Pitt.

“I feel like I’m a rounded football player,” Donald said. “I can play the run, and I can play the pass.”

Saints, Patriots on Vikings' 2014 schedule

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated: December 17, 2013 - 5:03 PM

The Vikings’ 2014 opponents are now set, and the team’s schedule will include a home game against New England and a road game at New Orleans.

The Vikings will play each team in its division, the NFC North, twice. They also face each team in the AFC East and the NFC South, and have games against the last-place teams in the NFC East (Washington) and the NFC West (St. Louis).

The games have been divided into road and home games.

Home: New England, N.Y. Jets, Atlanta, Carolina, Washington, Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago.

Road: Buffalo, Miami, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago.

Remember, home for the Vikings next season is TCF Bank Stadium.

The dates and times of the games will be announced in mid-April.

Final gun report: Vikings 48, Eagles 30

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: December 15, 2013 - 3:33 PM

The Vikings might’ve found their quarterback this season. It only took 15 weeks, but Matt Cassel led a depleted squad in a 48-30 win over the Eagles at the Metrodome. They now move to 4-9-1 this year, while the Eagles fall to 8-6 with two games left.

Here’s five takeaways from Sunday’s game:

  • Cassel had the best performance by a Vikings quarterback this season against the 29th ranked Eagles defense. He went 26 of 35 for 382 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. It’s the most passing yards for Cassel since Nov. 14, 2010 while with the Chiefs (469 yards against the Broncos.Cassel was perfect (9-for-9) in the first quarter for 168 yards. He has accounted for four of the five longest pass plays this season for the Vikings. Two occurred in the last two games, including a 57-yard touchdown to wide receiver Greg Jennings.
  • Jennings had one of the best games in his career.  And of course, it happened with Cassel at quarterback. He had a career high 11 receptions for 163 yards (four short of tying his career high) He and a touchdown. Jennings surpassed 100 yards for the first time with the Vikings, and all it took was a half. He had 114 yards at halftime.Without Josh Robinson, Xavier Rhodes and Chris Cook, the secondary limited the Eagles pass offense. Foles was not impressive in this game (surely some will blame the Sports Illustrated cover jinx) and dealt with accuracy issues. Though he threw for 417 yards, he was 29 of 47 in the game.
  • Cornerback Shaun Prater recorded an interception against his former team. He started the season with the Eagles, before he was claimed on waivers by the Vikings. After the interception return, Prater flapped his hands like an eagle in celebration. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson was caught on the sideline complaining in the middle of the game. He still finished with 10 catches for 195 yards and a touchdown.
  • Defensive end Jared Allen recorded two sacks, giving him nine this season. He needs just one more sack to record his seventh consecutive season with double-digit sacks. The Vikings did a good job of flushing Foles out of the pocket. At times it lead to huge runs (he finished with five carries for 41 yards), but the Vikings also recorded four sacks. Brian Robison also had two sacks. Allen also filled in as the long snapper on a punt in the fourth quarter. Cullen Loeffler suffered a hand injury and Allen had a snap on special teams. Punter Jeff Locke placed the punt inside the 10-yard line.
  • The Eagles hardly used running back LeSean McCoy, who led the NFL in rushing yards entering the game. He had just eight carries for 31 yards and five catches for 68 yards. Surprisingly, he had fewer touches than running back Matt Asiata, who filled in due to injuries to Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, had carries. He finished with 30 carries for 51 yards and three touchdowns.

Halftime report: Redskins 24, Vikings 14

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated: November 7, 2013 - 8:53 PM

Washington has a 24-14 halftime lead over the Vikings at the Metrodome, scoring TDs on drives of 77, 78 and 80 yards.

The good:  Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson caught his first NFL TD pass, a 2-yarder from Christian Ponder.

The bad: The Vikings were unable to slow down Robert Griffin III (three touchdown passes) or RB Alfred Morris (88 rushing yards).

The ugly: The Vikings are so banged-up that they weren’t able to find 46 healthy players to dress. They were one short.

Griffin is 16-for-21 for 179 yards and has a 140.7 passer rating. Ponder is 10 of 13 for 85 yards, but had an interception on the opening drive, leading to a Washington field goal.

Adrian Peterson has 44 rushing yards on seven carries, including an 18-yard TD run.

Vikings edge Steelers 34-27 as Cassel fills in smartly

Posted by: Chip Scoggins Updated: September 29, 2013 - 3:48 PM

Quick postgame keys to the Vikings’ 34-27 victory over  the Steelers at Wembley Stadium.

The Cassel effect.  Backup Matt Cassel got the start at quarterback because of Christian Ponder’s rib injury and was efficient and turnover free (although he got lucky on a fumble).  Greg Jennings was engaged for the first time this season, and scored two touchdowns off Cassel passes. And Adrian Peterson got some more room, and ran for 140 yards.

Scary defense. The Vikings defense did enough to win, but did anyone feel comfortable late as the Steelers seemed on the verge of a comeback? Only a big play by Everson Griffen, with a sack on the final stand, saved the day.

Just in time victory.  Only one team has started 0-4 and made the playoffs, so this was a must-win for the Vikings.

It's worth noting that one of the first things Coach Leslie Frazier said after the game is Ponder is his starting quarterback. So ... let the QB controversy begin.

Here are the video highlights and final stats.

The Vikings have a bye this week before playing Carolina at home on Oct. 13.

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