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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Posts about Vikings management

Vikings group tours Metrodome

Posted by: Updated: July 12, 2011 - 11:18 AM

Here is the Star Tribune's story from Monday with news that the Metrodome roof is expected to be inflated this week.

A group of Vikings officials, including owner/president Mark Wilf, toured the Metrodome on Tuesday morning to inspect the progress made in fixing the roof. Wilf talked about the Dome and several other subjects in an interview with KFAN after his tour.

"I think it looks great," Wilf said. "We did just walk through and I'm happy to see that the roof inflation is ahead of schedule and the Commission [Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission] tells us the roof will be inflated sometime this week. So we're very thankful to the Commission and to all the workers who have worked so hard on this. We're excited we're going to have a place for our fans to watch Vikings football this year."

Wilf also was asked about the Arden Hills stadium proposal, but he reiterated that any stadium talk or movement is on hold during the state shutdown. 

"It's coming along well but of course we're very mindful and respectful of what's going on with the budget situation with the state," Wilf said. "We're always said that the stadium is not going to come before a budget solution. We're in a good position to be part of a special session. We look forward to being there and we have great partners with the governor, the Legislature and Ramsey County. We're hopeful but obviously we know that the budget comes first and the state comes first."


Vikings needed help finding preseason opponent

Posted by: Updated: April 8, 2011 - 2:21 PM

Lester Bagley, the Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development, made an appearance on PFT Live on Friday and provided an interesting detail regarding the team's quest to get a new stadium.

Bagley said the team had to get help from the league in finding a preseason opponent that would agree to play at the Metrodome, which is having its roof repaired after its collapse in December.

"We couldn’t even get a preseason game scheduled this year,” Bagley told host Mike Florio. “We could not get a partner and the league had to step in and help us get a preseason game scheduled because of that facility. . . . [T]he facility is no longer viable and we’ve got to resolve the issue.”

Here is the latest update on the stadium bill proposal that was introduced on Friday.



Vikings discussing how to vote on kickoff change

Posted by: Updated: March 21, 2011 - 10:48 AM

NEW ORLEANS -- The labor situation might be the big focus of the NFL meetings, but there also is the matter of one significant rule change that could be approved by the owners over the next two days.

The league's competition committee is proposing altering the rules for kickoffs. Done largely because of injury concerns, kickoffs would be moved from the 30-yard line to the 35; only the kicker would be able to line up more than 5 yards from the ball; touchbacks would place the ball on the 25 instead of the 20; and the wedge block, including the two-man wedge, would be eliminated.

This would be bad news for elite kickoff returners -- this includes the Vikings' Percy Harvin -- and clearly would alter strategy to a certain degree.

"There will be a lot of discussion over the next couple days about it, and I’m anxious to hear the competition committee’s argument for it, as well as what myself and other coaches will have to say for it or against it," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "So, it’ll be a lot of discussion. I know special teams coaches are wondering. It would definitely change the NFL as we know it. It would have a major impact on special teams -- in particular one of the most exciting plays in pro football, the kickoff return. Some weeks you’d be glad, because it’s not available when you play [Chicago's Devin] Hester or somebody."

Asked how he would balance his thinking when it comes to helping decide how the Vikings should vote, Frazier said: "You want to think about what’s best for the game as a whole. I think that’s how I would approach it, and I think that’s how our organization would approach it -- what’s best for the game."

In order to pass, the proposal will need to get at least 24 yes votes from the 32 owners. Zygi Wilf will cast the Vikings vote.

Rick Spielman, the Vikings' vice president of player personnel, said Sunday the matter would be discussed internally.

“We’ll discuss it with our ownership and we’ll kind of finalize where we’re at on that over the next 24 hours here," Spielman said. “ ... I know we’re going to be hearing all the pros and cons of it as we go through the process, but it can have a dramatic effect on how you approach that. From a kicker’s standpoint, from a returner’s standpoint. They’ll give us a lot of detail on that as we go through here the next couple of days.”

Vikings expect younger roster next season

Posted by: Updated: February 17, 2011 - 10:24 AM

The Vikings entered the 2010 season with all 22 starters and their three specialists back from the previous season. Several players -- Sidney Rice, Cedric Griffin -- had injury issues in camp, but the team expected them to be on the field at some point. 

That continuity won't be the case this season. With 19 potential free agents and an older roster, Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman has made it clear the roster will look significantly different and much younger next season.

“We’re going to be a younger team for sure going into next season," Spielman said this week. "Rookies are going to get forced into action. They are going to have to step up and play. I also have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff and their history of developing young guys and getting them ready to play.”
The Vikings need to have a solid draft in order to replenish their roster and fill holes. They need this next draft class to make an immediate impact.

“Last year’s draft was done because we had everybody back," Spielman said. "It was done for ... I wouldn’t say depth, it was done for the future. Some of those guys -- when you had as much depth as we had, you had the veteran roster we had -- those guys were going to be role players for you.
"We had some injuries and some guys had to step in. When the guys did step in, we were very excited about some of the stuff Chris DeGeare showed at the end of the season and how he progressed in his first start to where he was at the end of the season. The Joe Webbs. Toby Gerhart got better and better as the season went along. Everyone can see the Green Bay game, but what Chris Cook did in those other games when he played against the Calvin Johnsons of the world, we were very encouraged about the signs he showed.
"We’re pretty excited about the class last year. The Everson Griffens of the world and what he showed on special teams and some of the stuff he did coming off the edge as a pass rusher. They didn’t have as many opportunities as some of the veterans we had in front of them. Those guys we are relying on next year to take that step, plus what’s coming in in this year’s draft class.”

The team's college scouts returned to Winter Park last weekend to being preparing their draft board and to get ready for the scouting combine in Indianapolis next week.
"This year you’re going to have to bring in new players and younger talent," Spielman said. "It’s exciting, it’s a challenge. I know it’s something the coaches and our scouts and [director of college scouting Scott] Studwell’s down there with our college guys, we’re sitting there hacking away at all these guys. With so many guys potentially not being here next year, these [rookies] are going to have to step up and fill in and play for you.”


New staff brings new perspective

Posted by: Updated: February 16, 2011 - 11:06 AM

Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman gave an update Tuesday on the team's preparations for the scouting combine, draft and free agency (assuming it takes place at some point after a new CBA is finalized).

Spielman said one of the initial steps was for the personnel department and coaching staff to evaluate the current roster as a whole, not just the 19 potential restricted and unrestricted free agents.

Spielman said it was interesting and helpful to hear different opinions and perspective from the new assistant coaches hired by Leslie Frazier.

“It’s always good to get an outside perspective on your talent and I know that listening through, I know we have a lot of pretty explosive pieces on the offensive side of the ball," he said. "Again, there are some holes or some things that we know we have to get filled on offense but I think everybody came out with pretty much the same scenario because we did this process before they came in and we actually did the process again after they came in and got them a chance to get familiar a little bit. Just from a tape standpoint … there wasn’t too many differences at all or opinions on where we need to go.”
Spielman said the team created a free agent board much like their draft board.
"We wrote over 700 guys up," he said. "We actually implemented guys on our current roster, not only our free agents but guys that are under contract to see how they stacked with what’s potentially out there in free agency, if we do have free agency. It was a very smooth, easy process. Leslie was very good as far as the communication in the meetings, talking back and forth, throwing out different ideas. Very smooth from that process."
Spielman said the new coaches input is important because of their background with many of the free agents.
"A lot of these guys coached some of these guys that we talked about in free agency or know them inside and out because they played against them twice a year," Spielman said. "It was a benefit to have some new coaches come in and [give] some of the insight and knowledge that maybe we wouldn’t have if they weren’t here because they coached some of these players in the past."
Both Frazier and Spielman have talked numerous times in interviews about the need to tailor the offensive scheme to the talent. One of the common criticisms with former coach Brad Childress was that he was too rigid with his West Coast offense.
New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said his scheme will use facets of different systems he's familiar with, but he said the concepts also must fit with the talent at his disposal.
"I know Bill and the offensive staff have been very open to trying to get the best players in here and utilizing the skill set we can get in here to kind of tailor the scheme to what the player’s skill set is," Spielman said.
Spielman said that philosophy "opens your options as you look at players."
"It makes it an easy and smooth working relationship with Leslie and the new staff as far as, ‘OK, I know what you’re telling me what his strengths and weaknesses are,’" Spielman said. "Now they’re going to say, ‘Hey, this is how it’s going to work for us.’"



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