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 Bears

Reviewing the Vikings' 2010 NFL Draft

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: February 25, 2014 - 10:48 AM

The Vikings made eight selections in the 2010 NFL Draft following a 12-4 season that ended a win away from a spot in Super Bowl XLIV. Only four of those players selected were on the roster last season and all will be free agents this season.

The team has since gone 24-39-1 with more coaching changes, two, than playoff games, one.

The Vikings didn’t operate with a general manager at the time but general manager Rick Spielman was Vice President of player personnel and handled the draft, but former head coach Brad Childress had final veto power on all personnel moves. Spielman didn't have the final say as he does now.

“Different philosophy back then,” Spielman said. “It was a different structure back then. Some haven’t panned and some have, but I think what we’ve done since then is go back and assess and analyze and I know exactly what went wrong with the ones that didn’t make it and what went right with ‘em. But we’ve used that as we’ve gone forward especially over the last two draft classes. Basically that’s my total responsibility now."

Well, a lot didn’t pan out. When asked about the philosophy in the draft, Spielman repeated, “I’ll just leave it at that it was a different philosophy.”

It’s a big reason why the Vikings have struggled to remain consistent and now have an emphasis to build through the draft. Here’s a look at who they picked and some notable players they missed in each round.

First Round

The Vikings traded their 30th overall selection to the Lions for a second (34th) and seventh (214th) pick. They also swapped fourth round selections.

The Lions drafted Cal running back Jahvid Best, who retired due to his concussion history.

Noteworthy players after selection: OT Rodger Saffold to the Rams (33rd overall pick; second round)

Second Round

With the second pick in the second round acquired from Detroit, the Vikings selected Virginia cornerback Chris Cook. The team needed a cornerback and Cook had the size and athleticism listed at 6-2 and 212 pounds at the time, but he turned out to be a bust.

Cook hits free agency without an interception in four seasons with the Vikings. He missed the final 10 games in 2011 due to an ongoing domestic assault arrest that was he was later found not guilty. He was cleared on gun charges that same year prior to the arrest.

On the field, Cook couldn’t stay healthy. He played 12 games last season, a career-high, but he wasn’t productive. He was ejected in Week 13 against the Bears after making contact with an official after allowing a 46-yard touchdown catch to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who previously had an 80-touchdown against Cook and set the franchise record with 249 receiving yards.

Noteworthy players after selection: S T.J. Ward to the Browns (38th overall); TE Rob Gronkowski to the Patriots (42nd overall); LB Daryl Washington to the Cardinals (47th overall)

The Vikings traded up to the 51st overall pick, swapping second round picks with the Texans and giving their third round pick, to select Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.

He served as Adrian Peterson’s backup and had his most productive season when Peterson tore his ACL in 2011. Gerhart has a career-high 109 carries for 531 yards.

Both Cook and Gerhart are free agents this offseason and it doesn’t appear that either will return. Gerhart wasn’t a bust however and will draw some interest from other teams as a possible starting running back.

Noteworthy players after selection: DE Carlos Dunlap to the Bengals (54th overall); LB Sean Lee to the Cowboys (55th overall);

Third Round

The Vikings didn’t have a third round pick due to the Gerhart trade.

Noteworthy players after selection: WR Brandon LaFell to the Panthers (78th overall); WR Eric Decker to the Broncos (87th overall); LB NaVorro Bowman to the 49ers (91st overall); TE Jimmy Graham to the Saints (95th overall)

Fourth Round

After swapping fourth round selections with the Lions, the Vikings drafted USC defensive end Everson Griffen with the 100th overall selection.

He was considered to be a first round pick but there were questions about his effort and off the field issues. Following his rookie season, Griffen was arrested twice in three days for public intoxications and driving with an invalid driver’s license.

Griffen made just one start in four seasons behind defensive ends Brian Robison and Jared Allen. He’s so versatile that the Vikings used him at all four positions on the defensive line during his tenure.

Griffen and Gerhart were clearly the two best players the Vikings selected in the draft but both were primarily backups over the last four years. Though Griffen has expressed interest to return, the Vikings will have a difficult time bringing him back. There aren’t many good 4-3 defensive ends in the draft and free agency.

Noteworthy players after selection: CB Alterraun Verner to the Titans (104th overall); TE Aaron Hernandez to the Patriots (113th overall); TE Dennis Pitta to the Ravens (114th overall); DT Geno Atkins to the Bengals (120th overall): S Kam Chancellor to the Seahawks (133rd overall; fifth round); WR Riley Cooper to the Eagles (159th overall; fifth round)

Fifth Round

With the 161st overall selection, the Vikings drafted Wake Forest offensive tackle Chris DeGeare. He was wavied and signed to the practice squad in 2011 and released right before the start of the 2012 season. He spent that season on the Titans’ practice squad.

DeGeare has signed a reserve/future contract with the Giants in January.

The Vikings also had a compensatory pick and selected Gophers linebacker Nathan Triplett with the 167th overall pick. He was cut in preseason and spent three seasons with four teams after the Vikings. He wasn’t signed with a team last season.

Noteworthy players after selection: DE Greg Hardy to the Panthers (175t5th overall; sixth round); RB James Starks to the Packers (193 overall; sixth round); WR Antonio Brown to the Steelers (195th overall; sixth round); WR Trindon Holliday to the Texans (197th overall; sixth round)

Sixth Round

With the 199th overall pick, the Vikings selected UAB quarterback Joe Webb. The team got good value for Webb, who served as a wide receiver, running back, quarterback and special teams.

However, his tenure with the Vikings will be remembered for his performance in the franchise’s last playoff game. He was the starting quarterback in the 2012 NFC Wild Card matchup against the Packers due to a deep tricep bruise quarterback Christian Ponder suffered in the final regular season game against Green Bay.

Webb became the fourth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to start a postseason game after not starting in the regular season. He went 11 of 30 for 180 yards with an interception and a fumble in the 24-10 loss.

Noteworthy players after selection: WR Marc Mariani to the Titans (222nd overall; seventh round);  DE George Selvie to the Rams (226th overall; seventh round)

Seventh Round

The Vikings selected Penn State tight end Mickey Shuler Jr. with the 214th overall pick and Rutgers linebacker Ryan D’Imperio with the 237th overall selection. Shuler Jr. was cut twice by the Vikings in 2010 and 2012. He spent last season on the Falcons practice squad.

D’Imperio switched from linebacker to fullback was cut in 2012 by the Vikings. He retired before the start of last season after signing with the Giants.

Vikings' Cordarrelle Patterson named to All-NFL team

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: January 13, 2014 - 12:22 PM

Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was selected on the Pro Football Writers Association All-NFL and All-NFC teams as a kick returner.

He was one of 17 first-time All-NFL honorees by the PFWA. Patterson was the only player selected on either team from the Vikings.

It's been a pretty nice start to his offseason so far for the rookie. Patterson was named into the Pro Bowl as a return specialist and also earned the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Month honors for December to go along with the PFWA's selection. He's one of five candidates up for Rookie of the Year (fans can vote here on the award)

Here's the complete All-NFL and All-NFC teams:

2013 PFWA ALL-NFL TEAM
Offense
QB – Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
RB – Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs; LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
WR – Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns ; Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
TE – Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
C – Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers
G – Evan Mathis, Philadelphia Eagles; Louis Vasquez, Denver Broncos
T – Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers; Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
Defense
DE – Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams; J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
DT – Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions
OLB – Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Robert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts
MLB – Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
CB – Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks; Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals
S – Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs; Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks
Special Teams
PK – Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
P – Johnny Hekker, St. Louis Rams
KR – Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings
PR – Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs
ST – Justin Bethel, Arizona Cardinals

2013 PFWA ALL-NFC TEAM
Offense
QB – Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
RB – Matt Forte, Chicago Bears; LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
WR – Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions; Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
TE – Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
C – Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers
G – Evan Mathis, Philadelphia Eagles; Josh Sitton, Green Bay Packers
T – Jason Peters, Philadelphia Eagles; Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers
Defense
DE – Greg Hardy, Carolina Panthers; Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams
DT – Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions
OLB – Ahmad Brooks, San Francisco 49ers; Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
MLB – Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
CB – Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals; Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
S – Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks; Donte Whitner, San Francisco 49ers
Special Teams
PK – Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks
P – Johnny Hekker, St. Louis Rams
KR – Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings
PR – Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
ST – Justin Bethel, Arizona Cardinals

Dungy among 15 modern-era finalists for Hall of Fame

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated: January 9, 2014 - 8:46 PM

Tony Dungy, the former Gophers quarterback and Vikings defensive coordinator who went on to become the first African American head coach to win the Super Bowl, took another step toward the Pro Football Hall of Fame by making this year’s list of 15 modern-era finalists in his first year of eligibility, the Hall of Fame announced on Thursday night.

Joining Dungy as first-year eligible finalists are two players he coached – Buccaneers 11-time Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks and Colts receiver Marvin Harrison, who ranks third in NFL history in receptions (1,102) and fifth in receiving touchdowns (128) – as well as Seahawks nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones. Another former player of Dungy's -- Buccaneers safety John Lynch -- also made the final 15.

"This would be something beyond belief," Dungy said on the NFL Network when asked what it feel like to enter the Hall of Fame alongside Brooks, Harrison and Lynch, who is in his second year of eligibility. "When we [got to Tampa Bay], we just talked about building a structure and getting a team that could win some games. I got to Indianapolis and saw Marvin Harrison operate. ... To see him practice and do what he does and be the focal point to the point where everybody was trying to stop him. We didn't put him in motion, we didn't move him around. We put him on the right side. You could triple cover him if you wanted to, and to catch 140 to 150 balls every year, it was just phenomenal. So I am looking forward to all three of these young men go into the Hall of Fame."

Also selected from the list of 25 modern-era semifinalists were: kicker  Morten Andersen, running back Jerome Bettis, receiver Tim Brown, owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., linebacker Kevin Greene, defensive end Charles Haley, receiver Andre Reed, guard Will Shields, defensive end Michael Strahan and safety Aeneas Williams.

The group of finalists will be joined by two senior nominees, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey, for consideration for the Class of 2014. The entire 46-member Selection Committee will meet on Feb. 1 in New York City to hold its annual selection meeting on the eve of the next day’s Super Bowl in New York. Between four and seven new Hall of Famers are chosen each year. No more than five modern era finalists can be chosen.

Dungy, 58, spent four years as a Gophers quarterback, but joined Chuck Noll’s Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty as a safety from 1977 to 1978. He won a Super Bowl before moving on to the 49ers in 1979 and a brief stint with the Giants before being released before the 1980 season.

Dungy spent the 1980 season coaching defensive backs at the University of Minnesota before moving back to the NFL as Steelers defensive backs coach (1981 to ’83) and defensive coordinator (1984 to ’88). He went on to be Chiefs defensive backs coach from 1989 to ’91 and Vikings defensive coordinator from 1992 to ’95 before getting his first head coaching job.

In 13 seasons as an NFL head coach in Tampa Bay (1996 to 2001) and Indianapolis (2002 to ’08), Dungy’s only losing season was his first in Tampa Bay. He posted a 148-79 record (.652), including a 9-10 postseason mark that included a 29-17 win over the Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

Anderson played 25 seasons, finishing his career with the Vikings in 2004.

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.”

Peterson, Gerhart miss practice; Cassel to start; injury report

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated: December 11, 2013 - 3:47 PM

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said injured running backs Adrian Peterson (foot sprain) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) will not practice today and probably won't practice until Friday, if at all. He also said he's more hopeful that Gerhart will be able to practice on Friday than Peterson.

Frazier said Peterson already has assured him that he'll be ready to play, but added that the team will "err on the side of caution," keeping in mind Peterson's long-term value and the fact that the team is mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture at 3-9-1. Frazier also said Peterson would have to practice on Friday before the team would play him in the game on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Frazier officially announced Matt Cassel as the starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Eagles at Mall of America Field. It will be Cassel's fourth start of the season and second straight start. It will be the first time he's started after losing a start the previous week. But his turnover-free effort in the wild 29-26 loss at Baltimore on Sunday was enough to earn a second straight starting opportunity. Cassel is 1-2 as a starter, but did play the second half of the comeback win over the Bears two weeks ago.

Christian Ponder, who has been cleared from the concussion that sidelined him last week, will serve as the backup. Josh Freeman will be the No. 3 QB.

In other news, tight end John Carlson still has not passed the concussion protocol and cannot practice until he does.

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and guard Brandon Fusco (knee) are day-to-day, Frazier said.

Here is the updated practice/injury report:

Vikings: TE John  Carlson (concussion), RB Adrian Peterson (foot), RB Toby Gerhart (hamstring), G Brandon Fusco (knee), CB Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and CB Josh Robinson (chest) did not practice. LB Larry Dean (knee) was limited. LB Chad Greenway (wrist) was a full participant.

Eagles: LB Najee Goode (hamstring) did not practice. S Earl Wolff (knee) was limited. CB Brandon Boykin (hip) was a full participant.

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT