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.
The Vikings signed former Gophers linebacker Simoni Lawrence today, according to the team's Twitter account.
Lawrence, 25, played last season for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
Lawrence, 6-1 and 230 pounds, was signed by St. Louis as a free agent after his Gophers career ended in 2009. He went to training camp with Philadelphia in 2010, but was cut and played in the United Football League that season before he was signed by the Bears in December, 2010.
He participated in Tampa Bay’s training camp in 2011, and again played in the UFL after being cut.
In 2012, he played for Edmonton of the CFL and was traded to Hamilton before last season.
The Senior Bowl officially began Monday morning here in Mobile, Ala., with players weighing-in before practice later this afternoon.
Adam Zimmer, son of new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, was spotted here sporting a Vikings hat and sweater.
Adam, who was an assistant defensive backs coach for the Bengals under his father last season, said a deal to bring him here is almost done, but he hasn't signed a contract. Zimmer's role hasn't been determined on the Vikings' staff.
It is believed the Vikings won't announce any coaches until the staff is complete. The Senior Bowl is peppered with coaches looking for work, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of rumors pop up.
Anyway, based on the Vikings’ possible needs this offseason, here are a few players to watch:
Derek Carr – Fresno State (6’3, 218 pounds)
Jimmy Garoppolo – Eastern Illinois (6’2, 222 pounds)
Cyril Richardson – Baylor (6’5, 335 pounds)
Gabe Jackson – Mississippi State (6’4, 335 pounds)
Trent Murphy – Stanford (6’6, 261 pounds)
Kareem Martin – North Carolina (6’6, 265 pounds)
Ra’Shede Hageman – Minnesota (6’6, 311 pounds)
Daniel McCullers – Tennessee (6’8, 351 pounds)
Inside linebacker Chris Borland – Wisconsin (5’11, 246 pounds)
Outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy – BYU (6’3, 245 pounds)
Aaron Colvin – Oklahoma (5’11, 182 pounds)
Pierre Desir – Lindenwood (6’2, 206 pounds)
The awards continue to pile up for rookie wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
He was announced as rookie Offensive Player of the Month on Thursday and made the Pro Bowl as a return specialist this morning. The latest: Patterson made the Associated Press All-Pro team as a kick returner.
Patterson was the only Vikings on the first team. Running back Adrian Peterson made second team behind first-teamers Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
Peterson was a unanimous selection last year and earned MVP honors. He dealt with a foot and groin injuries for most of the season but still finished five in rushing yards (1,266).
There is no official "second team," but the second team is usually compiled by using the top vote-getters who don't make the first team. Thus, the second team has no quarterback, because no other quarterback received votes.
Here is the All-Pro team:
Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Denver. Running backs: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia; Jamaal Charles, Kansas City. Fullback: Mike Tolbert, Carolina. Tight end: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans. Wide receivers: Calvin Johnson, Detroit; Josh Gordon, Cleveland. Tackles: Joe Thomas, Cleveland; Jason Peters, Philadelphia. Guards: Louis Vasquez, Denver; Evan Mathis, Philadelphia. Center: Ryan Kalil, Carolina. Placekicker: Justin Tucker, Baltimore. Kick Returner: Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota.
Ends: J.J. Watt, Houston; Robert Quinn, St. Louis. Tackles: Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay; Ndamukong Suh, Detroit. Outside linebackers: Robert Mathis, Indianapolis; Lavonte David, Tampa Bay. Inside linebacker: Luke Kuechly, Carolina; NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco. Cornerbacks: Richard Sherman, Seattle; Patrick Peterson, Arizona. Safeties: Earl Thomas, Seattle; Eric Berry, Kansas City. Punter: Johnny Hekker, St. Louis.
Quarterback: None. Running backs: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; Eddie Lacy, Green Bay. Fullback: Marcel Reece, Oakland. Tight end: Vernon Davis, San Francisco. Wide receivers: A.J. Green, Cincinnati; Demaryius Thomas, Denver, and Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh. Tackles: Tyron Smith, Dallas; Joe Staley, San Francisco. Guards--Jahri Evans, New Orleans; Logan Mankins, New England, and Josh Sitton, Green Bay. Center: Alex Mack, Cleveland. Placekicker: Matt Prater, Denver. Kick returner: Dexter McCluster, Kansas City.
Ends: Mario Williams, Buffalo; Greg Hardy, Carolina. Tackles: Dontari Poe, Kansas City; Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets, Jurrell Casey, Tennessee, and Justin Smith, San Francisco. Outside Linebackers--Tamba Hali, Kansas City; Ahmad Brooks, San Francisco. Inside linebackers: Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati; Karlos Dansby, Arizona. Cornerbacks: Aqib Talib, New England; Joe Haden, Cleveland, and Alterraun Verner, Tennessee. Safeties: Eric Weddle, San Diego; Kam Chancellor, Seattle, Jairus Byrd, Buffalo, T.J. Ward, Cleveland, Devin McCourty, New England, and Antrel Rolle, New York Giants. Punter: Brandon Fields, Miami.
SEATTLE -- Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings is a surprise inactive today against the Seattle Seahawks.
Jennings was listed as probable on the final injury report after dealing with an Achilles injury in practice this week.
Jarius Wright will start in Jennings place.
The Vikings also announced that rookie Cordarrelle Patterson will start in place of Jerome Simpson, who is being benched after being charged with DWI this week.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier hinted several times this week that Simpson could be replaced by Patterson as punishment for his legal trouble.
Quarterback Josh Freeman also is inactive, meaning Matt Cassel will serve as Christian Ponder's backup again.
The other inactives are cornerback Shaun Prater, running back Matt Asiata, offensive guard Jeff Baca, tight end Kyle Rudolph and nose tackle Letroy Guion.
Fred Evans will start in place of Guion, but Frazier said this week that Kevin Williams will get some snaps at that position. Williams recorded 2 1/2 sacks against Washington last week at nose tackle with Guion and Evans sidelined because of injuries.
The Vikings will have two new starters on the offensive line for tonight's game against Washington.
Right tackle Phil Loadholt (concussion) and Charlie Johnson (elbow) are inactive. Johnson was listed as doubtful on the final injury report.
J'Marcus Webb will start in place of Loadholt while Joe Berger takes over at left guard. The Vikings had started the same offensive line the past 24 games.
The other inactives were no surprise: cornerback Chris Cook, safety Jamarca Sanford, running back Matt Asiata, tight end Kyle Rudolph and defensive tackle Fred Evans.
Nose tackle Letroy Guion was listed as doubtful before the game but he is active. However, rookie Sharrif Floyd will start in place of him.
Rookie Xavier Rhodes will make his second consecutive start in place of Cook. Mistral Raymond will start in place of Sanford.
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