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 Leslie Frazier

Peterson, Gerhart, Cook listed as questionable

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated: December 13, 2013 - 2:51 PM

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has listed running back Adrian Peterson as "questionable," meaning the guy we all assumed would miss Sunday's game against the Eagles, now has a 50-50 chance of playing.

Once again, we may find out that assuming the worst for Adrian Peterson isn't a wise thing to do.

Peterson practiced today for the first time this week. According to Frazier, Peterson planted and showed good burst off the right foot that he sprained early in the second quarter of last week's game at Baltimore.

"It was impressive when you consider the early diagnosis," Frazier said. "He's unique. Very unique. He's so different than everybody else when it comes to recovering from injuries. We've been in situations in the past where you thought he wouldn't make it and he made it. So it was always in the back of my mind the chance he would make it. He's amazing."

Frazier sounded optimistic, but was not willing to go beyond listing Peterson as questionable in part because he'll need to see how Peterson's foot responds tomorrow after going through today's workout. Frazier also indicated it could be a game-time decision on whehter to play Peterson.

Meanwhile, running back Toby Gerhart, who suffered a hamstring injury in last week's game, also returned to practice today for the first time this week. Frazier said Gerhart looked good, but was kept from testing the hamstring with the kind of cuts and burst he would typically use in a game.

Cornerback Chris Cook (knee) was a surprise addition to the injury report today. He was limited in practice and has been listed as questionable.

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and right guard Brandon Fusco (knee) did not practice and were listed as doubtful. Marcus Sherels would start for Rhodes while Joe Berger would start for Fusco.

And, finally, tight end John Carlson still has not passed the NFL protocol for returning from the concussion he suffered last week. Rhett Ellison will get the start. Chase Ford also would be available.

Linebackers Larry Dean (knee) and Chad Greenway (wrist) are listed as probable.

In other news, barring an unlikely setback on Saturday, free safety Harrison Smith will be activated from injured reserve on Saturday and will have a role in Sunday's game. Smith has been on injured reserve the past eight weeks because of a turf toe injury. He returned to practice two weeks ago.

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.

Adrian Peterson (foot) status unknown; Kyle Rudolph (foot) to IR

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: December 9, 2013 - 2:17 PM

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier didn't have an update on the status of running back Adrian Peterson, who suffered a sprained right foot in Sunday's 29-26 loss to the Ravens.

Peterson will see a foot specialist on Monday as further evaluation along with more X-rays and a CT scan.

"Well, it’s a little painful," Peterson said. "Obviously it kept me out of the game. The MRI came back great so that’s good. Just got to get a CT scan to make sure the bone is OK."

Peterson said a Lisfranc injury has been ruled out. The foot was still sore in the locker room, but Peterson said it didn't swell up too much. 

"Initially you don’t know exactly what’s going on when you’re feeling it," Peterson said. "That initial contact definitely didn’t feel good. I was kind of worried. But kind of cleared up a little bit after getting the MRI. I’ll see how things play out after the CT scan."

Peterson wants to play, but Frazier said the team’s record, 3-9-1, will factor into whether the running back returns this season.

“Depending on what we find out, it’ll factor in,” Frazier said. “We’ll find out more this afternoon and make a decision from there, but you can’t ignore that fact.”

Tight end Kyle Rudolph was placed on injured reserve, Frazer announced. He suffered a broken foot on Nov. 3 against the Cowboys and was expected to return in 4-6 weeks. The team hoped Rudolph would practice this week, but he wasn’t ready to make that step.

Quarterback Christian Ponder was cleared to practice on Monday after suffering a concussion last week against the Bears. Frazier didn’t announce a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Eagles.

Running back Toby Gehart strained his hamstring at the end of Sunday’s loss, Frazier said, and will be day-to-day.

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle), guard Brandon Fusco (knee) and tight end John Carlson (concussion) are all day-to-day. Rhodes was still walking around in crutches in the locker room, but he was not wearing a boot.

Wide receiver Greg Childs was placed on the physically unable to perform list.

Vikings' Frazier: Christian Ponder (concussion) only injury concern

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: December 2, 2013 - 1:25 PM

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said quarterback Christian Ponder is the team's only injury concern after Sunday's win over the Bears. Ponder left the game with a concussion that he suffered just before halftime.

"We’ll have to see how things go with him over the next few days with the NFL protocol regarding concussions," Frazier said.

Due to Ponder's injury, Frazier didn't announce the starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Ravens. Matt Cassel replaced Ponder and went 20 of 33 for 243 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

"There’s no reason at this point on Monday at 12:40 [p.m.] that we have to make a decision," Frazier said. "We can talk it through and do what’s best. But Matt did a terrific job in relief yesterday afternoon leading our team to victory."

Frazier said Ponder missing practice time or meeting sessions because he hasn't passed the concussion tests could factor into the decision at quarterback. Frazier didn't rule out Josh Freeman if Ponder can't play Sunday.

Linebacker Chad Greenway left Sunday's game after aggravating a fractured wrist injury he's played with for over a month. Frazier doesn't expect Greenway to miss Sunday's game however and feels he'll be back on the field after a few days.

Vikings cornerback A.J. Jefferson released after arrest

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated: November 25, 2013 - 12:46 PM

Cornerback A.J. Jefferson was released by the Vikings this morning.

He was jailed this morning at the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility after being arrested on a domestic assault complaint in Eden Prairie.

The Eden Prairie police department released this statement:

At approximately 4:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 22, a 23-year-old female reported to Eden Prairie Police that she was a victim of domestic assault.

Police arrested Anthony Ray Jefferson, 25, at his residence in Eden Prairie and he is now being held in the Hennepin County Jail on probable cause for domestic assault.

The case is currently under investigation and no further details are available at this time.

Jefferson was in his fourth NFL season.  He suffered a neck injury in yesterday's 26-26 tie at Green Bay.

The team announced Jefferson's release in a news release. Coach Leslie Frazier said "I can't really comment on his release or what happens from now on, but we did release him." Frazier also declined to comment when asked followup questions; the Vikings traditionally wait for the legal process to play out before cutting players.

It was the second arrest this month of a Vikings player. Receiver Jerome Simpson was arrested for drunken driving on Nov. 9. Simpson's case is still be kicked around by the NFL office, as he was suspended at the start of last season after a felony drug arrest.

Jefferson was acquired from Arizona last season and played in 15 games, starting seven.  He struggled for most of this season with injuries and ineffective play.

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