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 Chad Greenway

Projecting the Vikings' current two-deep depth chart

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated: August 4, 2014 - 2:30 PM

Head coach Mike Zimmer maintained throughout the spring and into the summer that he had no depth chart and that he wanted to evaluate his players before worrying about where they stand.

Nearly two weeks into training camp, and four days before the Vikings have actually played a preseason game, that process is still ongoing, making the task of attempting to project Zimmer’s two-deep depth chart a foolish endeavor. But what the heck, I’m going to try it anyway.

To be clear, this projected two-deep depth chart is my best guesstimate -- not Zimmer's -- and I've based it on what we have seen up here in Mankato since the Vikings reported. And keep in mind that Zimmer, General Manager Rick Spielman and the scouting staff will continue to keep an eye on other teams for trade opportunities and preseason roster cuts. There is a chance the Vikings end up starting someone who isn’t even on the roster. But for now, we’ll base it on who’s here.

QUARTERBACK: 1. Matt Cassel. 2. Teddy Bridgewater.

RUNNING BACK: 1. Adrian Peterson. 2. Matt Asiata.

FULLBACK: 1. Jerome Felton. 2. Zach Line.

WIDE RECEIVER: 1. Cordarrelle Patterson. 2. Rodney Smith.

WIDE RECEIVER: 1. Greg Jennings. 2. Adam Thielen.

WIDE RECEIVER: 1. Jerome Simpson. 2. Jarius Wright.

TIGHT END: 1. Kyle Rudolph. 2. Rhett Ellison.

LEFT TACKLE: 1. Matt Kalil. 2. Antonio Richardson.

LEFT GUARD: 1. Charlie Johnson. 2. David Yankey.

CENTER: 1. John Sullivan. 2. Joe Berger.

RIGHT GUARD: 1. Brandon Fusco. 2. Vlad Ducasse.

RIGHT TACKLE: 1. Phil Loadholt. 2. Mike Remmers.

Notes: Asiata gets the edge over rookie Jerick McKinnon for now, but McKinnon has lately been the preferred third-down replacement for Peterson. … Chase Ford might have entered camp as the favorite to back up Rudolph at tight end, but he is sidelined indefinitely with a fractured foot. Either way, though, he and Ellison have different but useful skill sets. … Barring an upset or an injury, it appears the Vikings already have their starting five offensive linemen set in stone, at least for the season opener. … Kevin Murphy has also seen snaps at right tackle behind Loadholt.

LEFT DEFENSIVE END: 1. Brian Robison. 2. Corey Wootton.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE: 1. Sharrif Floyd. 2. Tom Johnson.

NOSE TACKLE: 1. Linval Joseph. 2. Fred Evans.

RIGHT DEFENSIVE END: 1. Everson Griffen. 2. Scott Crichton.                                            

STRONG-SIDE LINEBACKER: 1. Anthony Barr. 2. Audie Cole.

MIDDLE LINEBACKER: 1. Jasper Brinkley. 2. Michael Mauti.

WEAK-SIDE LINEBACKER: 1. Chad Greenway. 2. Brandon Watts.

LEFT CORNERBACK: 1. Josh Robinson. 2. Marcus Sherels.

NICKEL CORNERBACK: 1. Captain Munnerlyn. 2. Jabari Price.

RIGHT CORNERBACK: 1. Xavier Rhodes. 2. Derek Cox.

FREE SAFETY: 1. Robert Blanton. 2. Kurt Coleman.

STRONG SAFETY: 1. Harrison Smith. 2. Jamarca Sanford.

Notes: Rookie Shamar Stephen could push the veteran Evans to be the primary backup at nose tackle to Joseph. … Determining where the linebackers slot proved to be a challenge as the coaching staff has been shuffling them to see where each fits best. … Brinkley is the frontrunner to start at middle linebacker in the base defense, but he might not sniff the field when opponents use more than two wide receivers at once. … The Vikings have been using Sherels, the scrappy cornerback, with the starting defense in Robinson’s absence. … Blanton needs to get back from his hamstring injury soon to stay atop the depth chart. … The safety spots could be interchangeable.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: August 4

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated: August 4, 2014 - 7:11 AM

Every day On most days, our Vikings reporters walk you through what’s happening that day.

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

--- After years of turbulence, the Vikings are all rowing together.

--- Rookie G David Yankey is trying to play catch-up.

--- OLB Chad Greenway taught rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater a lesson.

--- Check out this photo gallery from Saturday night’s practice under the lights.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

AROUND THE NFC NORTH

--- Former Packers (and Vikings) QB Brett Favre will have his number retired in Green Bay.

--- Former Minnesota S Brock Vereen has climbed the Bears’ depth chart.

--- Lions RB Theo Riddick has impressed in camp, but he has a lot of competition.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

After getting yesterday off, Vikings players will be back on the field at 10:30 a.m. for today’s morning walkthrough. This afternoon, the Vikings practice at 3:30 p.m., and they’ll be in pads.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Last season, with Norv Turner coordinating their offense, the Browns ranked fifth in the NFL in offensive pace of play, according to Football Outsiders. The Browns ran one offensive play every 24.96 seconds of game time. That pace trailed only the Eagles, Bills, Patriots and Broncos. The Vikings, meanwhile, ranked ninth last season in offensive pace at 26.22 seconds per play.

Zimmer on injuries and Teddy with the first team

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated: July 30, 2014 - 5:44 PM

The Vikings were able to go through the first couple of days of training camp without the injury bug biting them. But that little bugger has reared its ugly head during the past two practices, and it has had a craving for the hamstrings of Vikings defensive backs in particular.

Safety Robert Blanton, who had been working with the first-team defense, sat out today’s practice after injuring a hamstring during Monday night’s practice. Then, this afternoon, cornerback Josh Robinson hurt a hamstring and left practice. He came back but did not resume practicing.

Coach Mike Zimmer hinted that Blanton’s injury is the more concerning of the two.

“[Robinson’s] got a tight hammy,” he said. “I don’t think it will be very long. It just got tight. It was more preventative. I told [athletic trainer Eric Sugarman] to [hold him out today.]”

Rookie tight end A.C. Leonard also left practice. Zimmer said he was dealing with a headache.

As for safety Andrew Sendejo, who is on the PUP list because of lower back and hamstring injuries, Zimmer expects him to be activated and start practicing with the team early next week.

There was some good injury news. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson had full participation and seemed to get through the practice without issue. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn also suited up, but was limited to just a little bit of individual work. He said after practice that he expects his participation to ramp up tomorrow and that he hopes to be a full-go by next week.

“You don’t want to get yourself reinjured, but it feels great to be back on the field,” he said.

In non-injury news, Zimmer indicated that the Chad Greenway experiment at middle linebacker is all but over. The Vikings are keeping him at outside linebacker for now so that they can evaluate others at the position. I guess Greenway could always be a fall-back option at the Mike, but you have to figure if the coaches liked what they had seen from him in the middle, they would have kept him there. Jasper Brinkley got most of the first-team reps between Greenway and top pick Anthony Barr, who was getting his first extensive look with the ones since he was drafted.

I guess I should mention that a certain other first-rounder got some first-team reps, too. Bridgewater got at least five reps with the ones before veteran Matt Cassel was inserted back with the first team. So #HowDidTeddyLook? Zimmer said Bridgewater was a little shaky.

“Ahhhh, he didn’t look quite as accurate as he had throughout the whole camp,” Zimmer said.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: July 29

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated: July 29, 2014 - 8:23 AM

Every day On most days, our Vikings reporters walk you through what’s happening that day.

We have a long way to go until the Vikings’ position battles are settled. But of all the position groups, the linebacker situation is easily the one with the least clarity four days into camp.

Take last night’s practice for example. One second you see No. 52, 54 and 57 on the field together. Then you look up and No. 55 is out there with some first-teamers in the blitz period. Then you see No. 50 or 56 or 58 getting sprinkled in with the first or second team.

Whoops, you just blinked and missed another combination.  

“We are rotating a lot of different guys in a lot of different areas,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said a couple of days ago, adding, “We like the competition, we like the guys that we have got, we know it will work itself out in the end.”

My best early guess: Chad Greenway will be one starter, and could either be in the middle or at one outside linebacker spot. Mike Zimmer loves him some Anthony Barr, so I bet we see him starting on the outside, though a job isn’t going to be handed to him. As for that third spot in the base defense, your guess is as good as mine right now. What do you say we just throw some darts?

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

--- TE Kyle Rudolph and the Vikings envision a bright future together.

--- RB Adrian Peterson thinks the Vikings offense will be much less predictable.

--- The Vikings had a spirited practice under the lights last night.

--- Rookie CB Jabari Price is learning to play with better technique instead of relying on speed.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

AROUND THE NFC NORTH

--- Could Jimmy Clausen be the Bears’ backup quarterback?

--- The Lions have called off contract talks with DT Ndamukong Suh.

--- Pass rusher Julius Peppers is settling in with the Packers.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

Today is a scheduled off day for Vikings players, and for us, too. Time to catch up on laundry.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

We have yet to see a Vikings quarterback throw an interception in team drills through the first four days of training camp. And yes, before you ask, that’s including Christian Ponder. What are we to make of that? I guess it depends on whether you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty guy or gal. On one hand, offensive coordinator Norv Turner has stressed ball control, so the lack of picks is a good thing. But Zimmer wants his defensive backs to contest passes, and while they have done a decent job deflecting passes and jarring them from receivers, interceptions are even better.

What you missed at Vikings training camp today

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated: July 26, 2014 - 12:16 AM

Mike Zimmer has promised that the Vikings would be fast and physical, but they eased into training camp this afternoon. There will be no live contact in the first couple of days of camp, so Zimmer said earlier that those practices will have more of an OTA feel. He ended up being right.

Practice started with position drills followed by some 1-on-1 work. After that, Zimmer sprinkled in some 11-on-11 team drills and a brief blitz period. There was also a lot of special teams work.

Usually at the start of training camp, the defense gets the better of the offense as the offense finds its rhythm. Today, the defense had its moments, contesting passes as Zimmer has said he hoped to see, so they’d probably get the slight edge, partially due to several errant passes from the offense.

SETTING THE SCENE: Practice was outdoors. The practice lasted around two hours. Players were in helmets and shells. The weather here was overcast and the temperature was reasonable.

BATTLE OF THE ‘BACKERS: Top pick Anthony Barr, who missed most of the spring due to an NFL rule that kept him at UCLA, started his first NFL training camp with the second-team defense. Running with the first team were Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley and Audie Cole. It will probably only be a matter of time until Barr is with the starters, but Zimmer is going to make him earn it.

SIMPSON SIZZLES: Wide receiver Jerome Simpson had a pretty solid first day, despite one bobbled pass that nearly led to an interception in team drills. In individual drills -- yes, I know, they are just 1-on-1s -- Simpson once ran a crisp deep out route, slamming on the brakes to leave his defender in the dust before making a nice, lunging grab near the sideline. On another play, he got behind the defense but Teddy Bridgewater barely overshot him. Simpson brings that vertical dimension to Norv Turner’s vertical offense, and could thrive if he can become more consistent.

LET’S TALK QUARTERBACKS: OK, maybe I should have gotten to the quarterbacks sooner, but there wasn’t a whole lot to report from this afternoon. Matt Cassel, who was throwing to the starters, completed six of his 10 attempts in team drills, though a couple of those incompletions were the result of blatant drops. Bridgewater, who was with the second-stringers, was 5-for-8. Christian Ponder was just 1-for-2, and he threw a few errant passes during individual drills.

CORDARRELLE A NO-GO: Second-year receiver Cordarrelle Patterson wore a bucket hat instead of a helmet today. Patterson was held out of practice after injuring his foot. The team says that he is day-to-day and no, Patterson wasn’t the guy who failed the conditioning test yesterday.

SAFETY DANCE: Robert Blanton continued to line up next to Harrison Smith with the starting defense, but I can report that 2012 and 2013 starter Jamarca Sanford has returned from injury.

DROPPING THE BALL: When it was time to practice punts, only Jarius Wright and Kain Colter went back to catch them, and Wright struggled at doing so. He let one Jeff Locke punt toward the left sideline drop in front of him and muffed another punt, which was recovered by the coverage team.

NOT CATCHING ON: The Vikings have said they hope to get Adrian Peterson more involved in the passing game, but this afternoon his terrifyingly-strong hands failed him on a few occasions.

INJURY REPORT: Beyond Patterson and the PUP guys -- CB Captain Munnerlyn (strained hammy), S Andrew Sendejo (lower back and ankle) and TE Chase Ford (foot) -- everyone else practiced.

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