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 Vikings offense

Report: Vikings homing in on Norv Turner as OC

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated: January 16, 2014 - 8:23 AM

New Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is 57, has coached 35 years, and been an NFL assistant for 20 seasons. But this is his first head coaching job.

It appears he'll probably have an assistant who can fill him in on how to run a team.

Norv Turner, who has been head coach of three NFL teams and offensive coordinator for four, is reported to be near reaching an agreement to be the Vikings offensive coordinator.  Adam Schefter, the NFL "Insider" for ESPN, filed that report this morning, a day after he reported the Vikings got permission to speak to Turner from the Browns.  Turner is the Browns offensive coordinator, but a lame duck  because coach Rob Chudzinski has been fired.

Turner, 61, has been head coach of the Raiders, Chargers and Redskins. He was offensive coordinator on two Dallas teams that won Super Bowls.

The Vikings press conference to "introduce" Zimmer, who was hired yesterday, has been set for Friday morning.

Peterson remains hopeful for Sunday's finale

Posted by: Chip Scoggins Updated: December 26, 2013 - 12:55 PM

Adrian Peterson admits he was "uncomfortable" in Sunday's loss at Cincinnati. Groin and foot injuries have limited his ability to perform, but Peterson said he's hopeful that he will be able to play the season and Metrodome finale Sunday against Detroit.

“I’m feeling OK," he said. "I’ve felt better. My body has been able to rest a little bit. I’m trying to push to Sunday.”

Peterson planned to practice Thursday to see how his body feels. He said that will give him some idea of his availability for Sunday.

“With a couple of more days of rest in front of me, I’ll be able to distinguish if I’ll be able to go out there be productive," he said. "Stay tuned. Right now my mindset is to be out there and finish strong with my teammates.”

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier removed Peterson from the Cincinnati game early in the second half because the Bengals had a big lead and Peterson clearly was not himself. Peterson said the groin injury that's bothered him for weeks actually gave him more trouble than his right foot sprain.

"The foot was a pain that I already had set in my mind that I was going to have to deal with," he said. "Sometimes when I was pushing off, I felt it. I got tackled a couple of times and twisted up and the pain kind of stuck around for a minute. But that’s something I knew I was going to have to deal with. As far as explosion, that kind of hindered me a little bit. The groin as well. So I felt uncomfortable Sunday.”

The Vikings don't expect to have Toby Gerhart available on Sunday. He re-aggravated a hamstring injury chasing down a fumble return on the opening series against the Bengals.

Cassel named 'Air Player of the Week'

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated: December 20, 2013 - 4:08 PM

Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel was named the FedEx Air Player of the Week.

Cassel threw for 382 yards and two touchdowns in the 48-30 victory over Philadelphia. He also rushed for a touchdown.

Since taking over the starting quarterback role on December 1, 2013, vs. Chicago, Cassel has thrown for 890 yards, third-most in the NFL during that span behind Tom Brady (1,153) and Peyton Manning (1,089).

Leslie Frazier: No question on Vikings QB next week

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: December 15, 2013 - 7:02 PM

Without running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, the Vikings offense still racked up 48 points.

So you won't have to wait until Friday to figure out who will be the starting quarterback. Matt Cassel went 26 of 35 for 382 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the 48-30 victory over the Eagles.

"No, no questions," Frazier said on next week's starter. "I don't think there are any questions."

Cassel has taken over the starting position, which belonged to Christian Ponder for most of the season until he suffered a concussion two weeks ago. Since that point, Cassel led the Vikings in the second half to beat the Bears, lose in the final seconds against the Ravens, and now blow out an Eagles team jockeying for a playoff spot.

It took 15 weeks, but perhaps the Vikings have solidified the quarterback position for the final two games.

"I don't look in the past to be completely honest with you," Cassel said. "There are decisions that are made and you never know how they are going to work out. At the same time, I'm excited that I was able to go out there and perform today and I continue to look ahead. I never look behind myself and you continue to just look forward." 

Wide receiver Greg Jennings has benefited from Cassel’s increased role in the offense. He had a career high 11 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown.

"You wonder it, but I remember mentioning something like that to Matt," said Jennings on if Cassel would’ve started the season at quarterback. "And he said, 'We've got three games left. Let's make the best of it.' And I love it because it’s his mindset. He’s not worried about what could’ve, should’ve or possibly been. He stays in the now.”

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.

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