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Mark Craig

Reporter/Columnist | Vikings/NFL
phone: 612-673-7011
Mark Craig covers the NFL and the Vikings.
Recent content from Mark Craig
Vikings are close to full strength for Sunday practice

Vikings are close to full strength for Sunday practice

The Vikings returned to practice Sunday and were closer to full strength than they have been all summer.
Craig: Is this a here-we-go-again scenario for Vikings offensive line?

Craig: Is this a here-we-go-again scenario for Vikings offensive line?

At this point, one has to wonder if the starting five will get any game time together before the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the Saints.
With speed to burn, rookie receiver Coley showing his value

With speed to burn, rookie receiver Coley showing his value

Suddenly, a lot of people want to talk to Stacy Coley, a rookie seventh-round draft pick, backup receiver and Vikings roster bubble battler.
Last load on the road: Vikings haul stuff from Mankato one final time

Last load on the road: Vikings haul stuff from Mankato one final time

Vikings equipment manager Dennis Ryan has loaded the trucks leaving Mankato for the final time after 52 years. "I'll miss the people. I won't miss much else."
Last day of the last camp: 52 years of the Vikings in Mankato ends

Last day of the last camp: 52 years of the Vikings in Mankato ends

As the franchise's time in Mankato comes to its end, players, coaches and personnel of past and present Vikings teams say the memories they've made aren't going anywhere.
Vikings rookie Cook continues standing out during Mankato practices

Vikings rookie Cook continues standing out during Mankato practices

It's been in the less-celebrated areas of his game, though — particularly his pass protection — where Cook has perhaps stood out the most.
Injury revealed: Back problem keeping Reiff from practicing

Injury revealed: Back problem keeping Reiff from practicing

Riley Reiff had been on the Vikings' sideline in recent days but wasn't seen during either the team's morning walk-through or afternoon practice.
Muscle up: Vikings cornerbacks getting first shots on wide receivers

Muscle up: Vikings cornerbacks getting first shots on wide receivers

Under league rules, teams can't practice bump-and-run press coverage until Day 3 of training camp. And that's not an ideal thing for young cornerbacks in a Mike Zimmer-coached defense.
Sankey is rookie Cook's best (and only) Vikings competition these days

Sankey is rookie Cook's best (and only) Vikings competition these days

Former Titans castoff running back Bishop Sankey is in good health, and taking first-team reps in Mankato despite being a longshot to make the team.
Bradford and Treadwell work on their timing together

Bradford and Treadwell work on their timing together

Quarterback Sam Bradford said the chemistry between the two is still a work in progress because they got so little practice time together last season.
Craig: Vikings' expectations soaring, but questions lurking

Craig: Vikings' expectations soaring, but questions lurking

Vikings players expect a lot of themselves, as most teams do in July. But is it realistic?
Players want to know more after brain injury study that included four ex-Vikings

Players want to know more after brain injury study that included four ex-Vikings

Among the 111 deceased NFL players whose brains were studied as part of a report released this week, the disease CTE was discovered in all but one.
Craig: Vikings' C.J. Ham sees fullback as the route to a roster spot

Craig: Vikings' C.J. Ham sees fullback as the route to a roster spot

The former Division II standout at Augustana College says, "it's pretty much a competition within myself."
As golf industry sags, pros get creative to boost bottom line

As golf industry sags, pros get creative to boost bottom line

A slump in the golf industry has forced veteran teaching pros to reinvent themselves, even dabbling in non-golf activities to survive and preserve a club's financial health.
Vikings pushing hard to get Jim Marshall into Hall of Fame

Vikings pushing hard to get Jim Marshall into Hall of Fame

"Just give me the names and I'll do whatever it takes," was 90-year-old former coach Bud Grant's reaction when asked to spearhead communication with voters. "I love Jim Marshall."
Kicker Forbath, punter Quigley far from Vikings special teams shoo-ins

Kicker Forbath, punter Quigley far from Vikings special teams shoo-ins

Special teams coach Mike Priefer noted that Kai Forbath didn't exactly win the six-kicker tryout the Vikings held last Nov. 8, a week before cutting Walsh.
Hazeltine gets '19 women's PGA with other big events 'as soon as possible'

Hazeltine gets '19 women's PGA with other big events 'as soon as possible'

The 2019 Women's PGA Championship will be Hazeltine's eighth professional major. And there's likely more big events to come.
Craig: Before Vikings, Tagaloa spent time at San Quentin — as an intern

Craig: Before Vikings, Tagaloa spent time at San Quentin — as an intern

Freddie Tagaloa's greatest strength? It's perseverance, and the Vikings noticed it from the 6-8, 316-pound tackle who also happens to be a criminal justice major.
Bud Grant celebrates 90th birthday with humor, tips on his longevity

Bud Grant celebrates 90th birthday with humor, tips on his longevity

The legendary Vikings coach will celebrate his 90th birthday Saturday around family. "One great-grandchild lives in Seattle," Grant said. "Everyone else lives within a half-hour of my house. That's pretty good."
New Vikings coach Polamalu, rookie Cook 'off to something special'

New Vikings coach Polamalu, rookie Cook 'off to something special'

Journeyman position coach Kennedy Polamalu is embracing the role of grooming Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook.
Vikings rookie Cook deftly sidesteps questions about starting

Vikings rookie Cook deftly sidesteps questions about starting

Desperate for a running game, the Vikings invested their top draft pick on Dalvin Cook. At rookie minicamp Friday, Cook had the quickest feet on the field and took on questions.
Craig: Draft shows contenders still chasing the Patriots

Craig: Draft shows contenders still chasing the Patriots

As other teams made their moves over the three-day NFL draft process, Patriots' coach Bill Belichick and Co. already were a step ahead
Craig: Cook's presence improves Vikings offensive line

Craig: Cook's presence improves Vikings offensive line

In Dalvin Cook, the Vikings landed a dynamic 21-year-old playmaker with "great eye discipline" who understands blocking schemes.
NFL first-round draft winners and losers

NFL first-round draft winners and losers

You want draft-day winners? How about quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson? All taken in the top 12 picks (and they're not going to Cleveland).
Will Vikings 'red dot' Mixon, a scarlet letter for high-risk draft prospects?

Will Vikings 'red dot' Mixon, a scarlet letter for high-risk draft prospects?

Days ahead of the NFL draft the Vikings are weighing character concerns of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and other top draft prospects.
Adrian Peterson, Saints closing in on a contract

Adrian Peterson, Saints closing in on a contract

The ex-Vikings star could return as an opponent to begin the 2017 season.
The top 25 players in the 2017 NFL draft, period

The top 25 players in the 2017 NFL draft, period

Our NFL Insider ranks the NFL draft's top 25 players, regardless of position, team or projection.
Every team's greatest need in the NFL draft

Every team's greatest need in the NFL draft

Nineteen of the NFL's 32 teams are heading toward the draft with a top defensive need.
For Vikings, linebacker isn't a big draft need, but they could take one late

For Vikings, linebacker isn't a big draft need, but they could take one late

Leading up to the 2017 NFL draft starting April 27, we'll take an exclusive look at the Vikings' needs at each position and how they'll address them. Check for a new story each day.Vikings GM Rick Spielman likes to draft linebackers, but this could be the year he passes, at least early.
Vikings set goal to play in hometown Super Bowl

Vikings set goal to play in hometown Super Bowl

That's never been done, of course. The Vikings are 0-4 in Super Bowls, while the league is 0-for-51 when it comes to teams playing the big game in their home venue.
Right guard stands out as a need for Vikings as draft approaches

Right guard stands out as a need for Vikings as draft approaches

The team would like to keep Joe Berger at center and bring in another quality player to compete at right guard
When Teddy Bridgewater returns, Vikings could face QB conundrum

When Teddy Bridgewater returns, Vikings could face QB conundrum

There's no quarterback controversy in Minnesota. At least not as long as there apparently remains no hint of a timetable for Teddy Bridgewater's return.
Praise abounds for Peterson, so why doesn't he have a job yet?

Praise abounds for Peterson, so why doesn't he have a job yet?

Many teams could use a back with Adrian Peterson's skills. So why are other running backs being signed while Peterson is still without a team for 2017?
Ex-Viking Boyd doubts concussion settlement will make up for shattered life

Ex-Viking Boyd doubts concussion settlement will make up for shattered life

Brent Boyd, who played in the 1980s, is skeptical that he'll get the $2 million he's entitled to in the NFL concussion settlement.
Vikings GM Spielman hasn't lost faith in himself or his system

Vikings GM Spielman hasn't lost faith in himself or his system

Rick Spielman is "very confident" the Vikings are on the right course to end a playoff victory drought dating to 2010.
Raiders relocating to Las Vegas after NFL owners vote in favor of move

Raiders relocating to Las Vegas after NFL owners vote in favor of move

While Vegas stadium is built, the team still must play at least two more seasons in Oakland.
Point of emphasis: NFL preparing to take aim at dangerous hits

Point of emphasis: NFL preparing to take aim at dangerous hits

The league's competition committee will step up efforts this week to warn teams that the NFL is prepared to increase ejections and suspensions of egregious illegal hits in 2017.
Second-guessing on NFL sidelines could look a lot different next season

Second-guessing on NFL sidelines could look a lot different next season

Owners will vote on changes related to reviewing penalties and number of coach challenges. Pace-of-play tweaks also will be considered at meeting.

NFLPA to discuss marijuana policy during annual meeting

More than 100 players are expected to attend the meeting that's open to all active players, said George Atallah, assistant executive director of external affairs for the players' association.
Free agency: Vikings probably didn't strike gold (or get stuck with garbage)

Free agency: Vikings probably didn't strike gold (or get stuck with garbage)

We'll never know the pecking order on General Manager Rick Spielman's wish list, but also keep in mind that free agency is a two-way street. Sometimes, a guy wants to go to Carolina to play with his brother.
Vikings' 2008 memo plays part in painkiller lawsuit

Vikings' 2008 memo plays part in painkiller lawsuit

Team's monitoring of prescription drugs shown in trainer's communication.
Vikings' Greenway honors father, family and football in NFL retirement

Vikings' Greenway honors father, family and football in NFL retirement

Choking back tears, Chad Greenway called it a career and credited his parents for the values they instilled.
Craig: Moss deserves Hall of Fame spot on first ballot

Craig: Moss deserves Hall of Fame spot on first ballot

In about 51 weeks, I'll be asked to present the opening argument for Moss. He's not my favorite person, but that doesn't matter. I do think he's worthy of being one of the few receivers not named Jerry Rice to enter the Hall on his first ballot.
First-ballot Hall of Famer receivers

First-ballot Hall of Famer receivers

A list of receivers Randy Moss hopes he'll join in 2018.
Fitzgerald motivated by much more than stats and fame

Fitzgerald motivated by much more than stats and fame

This is the second time in his 13-year career Larry Fitzgerald Jr. has been a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, which is considered the league's highest honor off the field.
Belichick looks for one thing in assistants — 'little Bills'

Belichick looks for one thing in assistants — 'little Bills'

Bill Belichick lives for football; his uniquely qualified staff does the same
As Brady nears 40, brain training hones his edge

As Brady nears 40, brain training hones his edge

New England QB Tom Brady says his brain is faster than it's ever been and believes it's making him a better quarterback. Not exactly the news the NFL's 31 other teams are looking for.
Gopher ball: Super Bowl is grand stage for Hageman, Campbell

Gopher ball: Super Bowl is grand stage for Hageman, Campbell

The Falcons have Matt Ryan, sure. But they also have two former Gophers contributing on defense.
Craig: For Falcons' Ryan, stats and NFL history aren't on his side

Craig: For Falcons' Ryan, stats and NFL history aren't on his side

Matt Ryan is the likely NFL MVP. But sorry, Matt: MVP quarterbacks often meet their match in the Super Bowl.

Trust us, there are 10 really good reasons to watch Super Bowl LI

The Falcons and Patriots in Super Bowl LI doesn't scream grudge match, but the storylines are plentiful.
A Super Bowl curse for NFL's high-scoring MVPs?

A Super Bowl curse for NFL's high-scoring MVPs?

Matt Ryan is the likely NFL MVP, but that doesn't guarantee success in the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl facts

What you need to know about next Sunday's big game.
Craig: What's in Belichick's way? One nasty Falcons buzz saw

Craig: What's in Belichick's way? One nasty Falcons buzz saw

Even the Patriots, with the league's No. 1 scoring defense, will need every cranny of coach Bill Belichick's brain for the Patriots to snuff out high-scoring Atlanta.
Craig: Since '92 Super Bowl, NFL has turned on its head

Craig: Since '92 Super Bowl, NFL has turned on its head

Thursday is the 25th anniversary of the 26th Super Bowl, the only one to be held in Minnesota. But Super Bowl LII is fast approaching.
Changes in the NFL since 1992

Changes in the NFL since 1992

Take a trip down memory lane, since the last time Minneapolis hosted a Super Bowl
A predictably unpredictable formula for the 2018 NFL playoff field

A predictably unpredictable formula for the 2018 NFL playoff field

If history repeats itself, seeding-wise, a year from now we'll be looking at the Giants, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Chiefs as the final four teams.
Elite QB leading hot teams in NFL playoffs? We've seen this before

Elite QB leading hot teams in NFL playoffs? We've seen this before

We should be in for a treat Sunday, with four of the best QBs in the NFL playing for two spots in the Super Bowl.
Craig: Playoff kickers are nothing to mess (or miss) with

Craig: Playoff kickers are nothing to mess (or miss) with

Kickers are 33-for-33 in this year's playoffs and — look away, Vikings fans — 64-for-66 (.970) since Blair Walsh duck-hooked his 27-yarder last season against Seattle.
NFL playoff pressure tightens grip around contenders

NFL playoff pressure tightens grip around contenders

As we head into this weekend's NFL divisional playoff round, here are the hottest pressure points in the four games
Craig: Can NFL turn wild-card duds into divisional delights?

Craig: Can NFL turn wild-card duds into divisional delights?

Maybe the divisional round will offer some gripping competition, after a slate of sleepy letdowns.

Mark Craig's NFL playoff picks: Super Bowl LI has familiar feel

Find out who our NFL writer projects to make it to the Super Bowl.
With big payout from Vikings unlikely, new reality awaits Peterson

With big payout from Vikings unlikely, new reality awaits Peterson

Be it here or elsewhere, star running back Adrian Peterson faces a big pay cut for the 2017 season. "Sometimes, you're able to work things about with business and sometimes you're not," Peterson said.
Road to Houston: NFL playoffs bound to trip up anyone en route to Super Bowl LI

Road to Houston: NFL playoffs bound to trip up anyone en route to Super Bowl LI

There's a treacherous road between here and the Lombardi Trophy and it starts with the unpredictablity of wild card weekend.
NFL playoff field loaded with finishers, with two battling at Lambeau Field

NFL playoff field loaded with finishers, with two battling at Lambeau Field

The 12-team NFL playoff field, which begins postseason play with four wild-card games Saturday and Sunday, is littered with finishers sporting the kinds of brains Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he wants to pick
On the NFL: Peterson might want elite veteran treatment, but he has aging veteran status

On the NFL: Peterson might want elite veteran treatment, but he has aging veteran status

The running back has always defied the odds, but age is a relentless foe and will shape his future – with or without the Vikings.
Craig: Patterson hopes he's proven his worth to Vikings

Craig: Patterson hopes he's proven his worth to Vikings

Cordarrelle Patterson says not getting a fifth-year option didn't serve as any sort of motivation.
Thielen not worried about stats, happy to make blocks

Thielen not worried about stats, happy to make blocks

Five extra points from Sunday's Vikings-Bears game.
Lions' Matthew Stafford could be one comeback away from NFL MVP

Lions' Matthew Stafford could be one comeback away from NFL MVP

Leading the Lions to the NFC North title could put Matthew Stafford over the top.
Vikings' Hunter tipped expectation scales this season

Vikings' Hunter tipped expectation scales this season

Danielle Hunter's team-high 12 sacks rank third in the NFL behind Atlanta outside linebacker Vic Beasley (14½) and Denver outside linebacker Von Miller (13½).
Returning for more: Vikings' Patterson on verge of setting NFL record

Returning for more: Vikings' Patterson on verge of setting NFL record

No player has led the NFL in kickoff return average more than twice since 1942. That could change Sunday if the Vikings' Cordarrelle Patterson maintains his comfortable lead

Teddy Bridgewater says knee injury has helped him 'spiritually and mentally'

Teddy Bridgewater is the recipient of the team's Ed Block Courage Award.
Randy's return, roof collapse, Favre's finale: Vikings season isn't as odd as 2010

Randy's return, roof collapse, Favre's finale: Vikings season isn't as odd as 2010

You think 2016 has been a train wreck for the Vikings? 2010 has it beat - when the team, the coach and even the stadium collapsed.
On the NFL: Shaun Hill's legacy? He's lasted

On the NFL: Shaun Hill's legacy? He's lasted

Shaun Hill might be at the end of a career that was much longer than expected.

Mark Craig's Week 17 NFL power rankings

The Vikings have plummeted to 23rd -- one spot behind the Bills, who just fired their coach.
Craig: Vikings playoff hopes go poof thanks to Matthews

Craig: Vikings playoff hopes go poof thanks to Matthews

The game clock ticked down to 1 minute left in the second quarter when there was a feeling the Vikings might actually have a chance to upset the Packers. Enter Clay Matthews.
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