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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
As Eagles look back, Vikings fans can finally look forward again

As Eagles look back, Vikings fans can finally look forward again

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles may not be looking ahead. But that's the only sensible direction for Vikings fans to look after watching the last couple of weeks.
Eagles defense still makes key plays in sea of offense

Eagles defense still makes key plays in sea of offense

In a championship game that featured 1,151 total yards, 74 points and one punt, the Eagles made three defensive stops that were every bit as valuable as their quarterback throwing for 374 yards and three TDs.
Catch rule controversy rears its ugly head

Catch rule controversy rears its ugly head

Did the NFL take the easy way out during a replay review in Sunday's Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium?
Craig: Greatest pro football coach ever? Belichick part of great debate

Craig: Greatest pro football coach ever? Belichick part of great debate

Is Patriots coach Bill Belichick the best ever in the NFL? He's up there with such greats as George Halas and Vince Lombardi.

Super Bowl predictions from Minnesota

Patriots 27, Eagles 24Yeah, I've heard how Doug Pederson has become an RPO (run-pass option) guru. I've heard how Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is…
Randy Moss, first-ballot Hall of Famer? 'I call myself the greatest'

Randy Moss, first-ballot Hall of Famer? 'I call myself the greatest'

Randy Moss says he's the best, 'hands-down, all day.' Will Pro Football Hall of Fame voters on Saturday agree?
Ex-Viking Hutchinson has high hopes for Hall of Fame induction

Ex-Viking Hutchinson has high hopes for Hall of Fame induction

Steve Hutchinson, a five-time All-Pro and on the 2000s All-Decade team, is a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist.
Nobody matches Patriots' Brady for sustained greatness

Nobody matches Patriots' Brady for sustained greatness

The 18-year veteran is expected to win his third league MVP award Saturday night on the 16th anniversary of his first Super Bowl victory. Think about that.
The 10 greatest moments in Super Bowl history

The 10 greatest moments in Super Bowl history

Before Bill & Tom create their next unbelievable, where-were-you-when moment, here are Mark Craig's top 10 Super Bowl moments heading into Sunday night's game at U.S. Bank Stadium:
Forgotten stars: Minnesota's first NFL team wasn't the Vikings

Forgotten stars: Minnesota's first NFL team wasn't the Vikings

The Vikings were predated by a Minneapolis pro football team called the Marines (1921-24) and Red Jackets (1929-30); and a Duluth team called the Kelleys (1923-25) and Eskimos (1926-27).
Former Vikings assistant was early Brady believer

Former Vikings assistant was early Brady believer

Tom Brady's first big believer, Dick Rehbein, didn't live to see him succeed.
Vikings' vaunted defense puzzled by its ineptness

Vikings' vaunted defense puzzled by its ineptness

What happened? The Eagles on Sunday tagged the Vikings defense with season highs in points, yards and third-down conversions (10 of 14 with two TDs).
Who's the MVP of the Vikings' defense? Argue away

Who's the MVP of the Vikings' defense? Argue away

Be it Smith, Rhodes, Griffen, Joseph or someone else, the Vikings have multiple candidates. And you can make a bunch of interesting arguments.
Keenum, Foles: The quarterbacks crashing Tom Brady's playoff party

Keenum, Foles: The quarterbacks crashing Tom Brady's playoff party

Tom Brady has the pedigree, rings and records. In other words, he's the opposite of Case Keenum and Nick Foles, as well as Jacksonville's Blake Bortles.
Craig: Eagles believe their defense on par with Vikings' - and they're not wrong

Craig: Eagles believe their defense on par with Vikings' - and they're not wrong

"We always have the mind-set every week that we are the best," Philadelphia defensive end and sacks leader Brandon Graham said.
Craig: Minnetonka's Allen has turned his family into Philly fanatics

Craig: Minnetonka's Allen has turned his family into Philly fanatics

Beau Allen's dad loved the Vikings and his mom the Packers. But now they're all in on the Eagles.
Craig: Will the Philly 'dog bite, or just bark?

Craig: Will the Philly 'dog bite, or just bark?

Hidden behind Eagles' canine masks is rabid motivation.
Five Extra Points: Eagles were superb in every way

Five Extra Points: Eagles were superb in every way

Five takeaways from Sunday's game from NFL writer Mark Craig
Craig: Third-down stop gives Vikings one last chance

Craig: Third-down stop gives Vikings one last chance

The third-down stop that forced Wil Lutz's field goal came with enough time for the Modern Miracle at the Bank, a 61-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs as time expired.
Five extra points: Thielen blocks like a champ, Griffen trumps Jordan

Five extra points: Thielen blocks like a champ, Griffen trumps Jordan

Five takeaways from Sunday's dramatic Vikings' victory over the Saints.
These 'Zim Reapers' need playoff wins to match 'Purple People Eaters'

These 'Zim Reapers' need playoff wins to match 'Purple People Eaters'

Vikings defense has performed at a level unseen since days of Purple People Eaters, but without a similar catchy nickname
Craig: Vikings have a fan in Brett Favre

Craig: Vikings have a fan in Brett Favre

The quarterback of the last Vikings team to face the Saints says he'll be watching - and rooting for his former team.
Griffen vs. Jordan: Battle of top pass rushers (and trash talkers)

Griffen vs. Jordan: Battle of top pass rushers (and trash talkers)

Neither player lacks confidence. Early this season, Griffen called Lions left tackle Greg Robinson "lazy." On Sunday, Jordan mocked Panthers left tackle Matt Kalil, calling him "Speedbump McGee"
Craig: Zimmer says 'there is no damn curse' and Vikings will show why

Craig: Zimmer says 'there is no damn curse' and Vikings will show why

The Vikings have a bye in the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2009. History hasn't always been on their side. Pro football writer Mark Craig takes you down the road that should lead the Vikings to Super Bowl LII.
NFL playoff preview: An up-close look at each AFC, NFC team with Super Bowl LII in sight

NFL playoff preview: An up-close look at each AFC, NFC team with Super Bowl LII in sight

Here is a closer look at the 12-team playoff field …

Super Bowl odds and ends

This and that as the playoffs set to begin.
Passer rating differential is a stat that matters

Passer rating differential is a stat that matters

In a pass-happy league, it makes sense that a team's passer rating differential (the difference between a team's passer rating and its opponents' passer rating) is vital.
On the NFL: Is Vikings QB coach Stefanski nearing a coordinator job?

On the NFL: Is Vikings QB coach Stefanski nearing a coordinator job?

If Shurmur moves on, would Stefanski move up?
Craig: Vikings flex 'muscle' on offensive line vs. Bears

Craig: Vikings flex 'muscle' on offensive line vs. Bears

Using their "muscle" formations, the Vikings used a handful of unheralded players up front against the Bears. The results were better than anyone could have imagined.
Vikings' five extra points: Murray is 'Most Improved,' Keenum makes undrafted QB history

Vikings' five extra points: Murray is 'Most Improved,' Keenum makes undrafted QB history

Five takeaways from Sunday's regular-season finale
Shurmur pulls all the right strings in first full season as Vikings OC

Shurmur pulls all the right strings in first full season as Vikings OC

With many NFL teams expected to change coaches after Sunday's action, Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur probably will be looked at as a possible replacement by multiple general managers.

Mark Craig's Week 17 NFL power rankings

The 49ers made the biggest jump from No. 21 to No. 16, while the Packers took the biggest fall from No. 17 to No. 22.
Lucky 13! Vikings eye more than milestone win

Lucky 13! Vikings eye more than milestone win

Victory total can lead to success but not ensure it.
Vikings' quarterback situation stickiest among playoff teams

Vikings' quarterback situation stickiest among playoff teams

Four teams — Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Jacksonville and the Vikings — heading toward the playoffs while vying for the league's most intriguing situation at quarterback.
Craig: Keenum goes from NFL afterthought to best bargain since 1972

Craig: Keenum goes from NFL afterthought to best bargain since 1972

Case Keenum is being discussed around the league now, unlike when the Vikings signed him.
Five extra points: Harrison Smith highlights team's third-down dominance

Five extra points: Harrison Smith highlights team's third-down dominance

The Vikings went into Saturday's game at Lambeau Field ranked first in the league in third-down defense.
Super Bowl LII: Chiefs can lock up AFC West, Falcons pushing for NFC South

Super Bowl LII: Chiefs can lock up AFC West, Falcons pushing for NFC South

The Chiefs, like the Vikings last season, started the year 5-0. But Kansas City hopes to avoid being locked out of the playoffs. Meanwhile, Super Bowl runner-up Atlanta has two tough games to win to claim the NFC South.
Rudolph the red-zone regular having a very shiny year for Vikings

Rudolph the red-zone regular having a very shiny year for Vikings

Veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph has seven touchdown receptions when his team is inside the 20, almost one-quarter iof the Vikings' red-zone scores.

NFL Week 16 power rankings: Patriots can pack for Super Bowl, Vikings aren't slowing down

Biggest jump: Chiefs No. 15 to No. 10 • Biggest fall: Chargers No. 11 to No. 151. Patriots, 11-3 (Last week: 2)If you cover…
Crafty Zimmer shows how to fool a team familiar with his defense

Crafty Zimmer shows how to fool a team familiar with his defense

Cincinnati's humiliation began with six minutes left in the opening quarter when quarterback Andy Dalton Dalton surveyed Zimmer's defense on a third-and-6 play.
Five Extra Points: No problem for Vikings on goal-to-go downs

Five Extra Points: No problem for Vikings on goal-to-go downs

Five takeaways from Sunday's game vs. Cincinnati
Mike Zimmer's fingerprints remain all over the Bengals' defense he left behind

Mike Zimmer's fingerprints remain all over the Bengals' defense he left behind

Defensive schemes took root during Bengals days.
Top NFL Week 15 storylines: Steelers, Patriots battle for homefield advantage, Eagles move on without Carson Wentz

Top NFL Week 15 storylines: Steelers, Patriots battle for homefield advantage, Eagles move on without Carson Wentz

Will Steelers snap Pats' stranglehold?Home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs likely will be decided in Pittsburgh. If the Patriots win, they'll be tied with Pittsburgh…
Uh-oh, Aaron Rodgers is back and the Packers aren't out of playoff contention

Uh-oh, Aaron Rodgers is back and the Packers aren't out of playoff contention

Think Green Bay is doomed at 7-6? History says otherwise
Jaguars vs. Rams: The Super Bowl LII matchup no one imagined

Jaguars vs. Rams: The Super Bowl LII matchup no one imagined

For the Vikings to reach the big game … Last week, I said Case Keenum needed to keep the team’s INT percentage down in the…
Famed Vikings trash-talker Randle tells players to ignore boorish fans

Famed Vikings trash-talker Randle tells players to ignore boorish fans

Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson could have used that advice from the Hall of Fame defensive tackle Sunday in Jacksonville after he was ejected for fighting.
Power rankings: Vikings fall, Steelers climb, everyone jockeys for playoff position

Power rankings: Vikings fall, Steelers climb, everyone jockeys for playoff position

The Chiefs make the biggest climb; the Jets take the biggest fall.
How the Panthers found a weakness in Vikings' run defense

How the Panthers found a weakness in Vikings' run defense

Carolina had 1,540 pounds of manhood focused on the right side of its line, including an out-of-position Matt Kalil, on the play when Jonathan Stewart ran 60-yards for a touchdown..
Five extra points: Keenum is Tarkentonesque, Diggs gets his way

Five extra points: Keenum is Tarkentonesque, Diggs gets his way

Five takeaways from Sunday's Vikings loss to the Panthers include a rare drop for Kyle Rudolph, Latavius Murray shut down and Case Keenum's elusiveness
Craig: We've seen good Panthers and bad Panthers since Super Bowl loss

Craig: We've seen good Panthers and bad Panthers since Super Bowl loss

The Panthers have had an uneven ride since Super Bowl 50.
Vikings, Steelers on path to Super Bowl LII

Vikings, Steelers on path to Super Bowl LII

Every week, Mark Craig projects the hottest two teams on the Road to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. The Vikings haven't slowed down yet, and the Steelers appear to be the only team capable of stopping the Patriots.
Success of Vikings, Saints accentuates fall of Adrian Peterson

Success of Vikings, Saints accentuates fall of Adrian Peterson

Peterson's worth was undeniable five years ago when he won NFL Most Valuable Player award while carrying the Vikings into the playoffs. Sadly, his value today is equally unmistakable.
Week 14 power rankings: It's safe to believe, Vikings fans; It's safe to hope, Packers fans

Week 14 power rankings: It's safe to believe, Vikings fans; It's safe to hope, Packers fans

The Vikings crept up to No. 3. Find out who they're still chasing.
Craig: Will Falcons shake typical Super Bowl-loss blues?

Craig: Will Falcons shake typical Super Bowl-loss blues?

Most teams that lose a Super Bowl don't win a playoff game the next year
Biggest Vikings' statement: Stopping Atlanta's third-down excellence

Biggest Vikings' statement: Stopping Atlanta's third-down excellence

The Falcons, lauded for their third-down conversion rate, were dominated by the Vikings' third-down defense during Sunday's 14-9 Minnesota victory.
Vikings five extra points: Rudolph makes key move and a Thielen fake-out

Vikings five extra points: Rudolph makes key move and a Thielen fake-out

Five takeaways from Sunday's Vikings game in Atlanta.
Vikings' Kendricks specializes in lost art of wrap-up, take-down tackles

Vikings' Kendricks specializes in lost art of wrap-up, take-down tackles

Eric Kendricks' approach produces mayhem and plenty of tackles for the Vikings.
NFL Week 13 story lines: Who'll take NFC South, and can the Eagles stay this hot?

NFL Week 13 story lines: Who'll take NFC South, and can the Eagles stay this hot?

What to watch for in the NFL this week
Week 13 Super Bowl LII meter: Heading for a Patriots vs. Eagles collision

Week 13 Super Bowl LII meter: Heading for a Patriots vs. Eagles collision

Carson Wentz is guiding the Eagles to a super season. Tom Brady and the Patriots are handling business as usual. Could the Road to Minneapolis end with them meeting in Super Bowl LII?
Craig: Carson Wentz's Eagles are good, but how good are they?

Craig: Carson Wentz's Eagles are good, but how good are they?

The Eagles on Sunday became only the fourth NFL team since 1953 to outscore four straight opponents by at least 23 points. But take a look at who they've been pummeling.
Power Rankings: Vikings put heat on shaky Steelers; who else is ahead of them?

Power Rankings: Vikings put heat on shaky Steelers; who else is ahead of them?

Sunday is moving day for the Vikings and Falcons in the NFC.
Craig: 1991 was three stadiums ago for Falcons

Craig: 1991 was three stadiums ago for Falcons

This NFL reporter who has watched games in 54 buildings has observed an evolution
NFL Week 12 storylines: Is this the end for the Packers?

NFL Week 12 storylines: Is this the end for the Packers?

What to watch for this week in the NFL
Will Saints come marching into Minneapolis?

Will Saints come marching into Minneapolis?

For the Vikings to reach the big game … Last week, we asked for even greater caution for the team that had the third-fewest penalties…
Craig: Vikings' motor doesn't stall in Detroit

Craig: Vikings' motor doesn't stall in Detroit

The Vikings aren't used to scoring points or converting third downs against the Lions. That changed in the 30-23 win.
Vikings five extra points vs Lions: Waynes shows toughness, Barr shows smarts

Vikings five extra points vs Lions: Waynes shows toughness, Barr shows smarts

Five takeaways from Thursday's game
Buckle up and expect some bumps in Vikings' ride toward playoffs

Buckle up and expect some bumps in Vikings' ride toward playoffs

The Vikings seem sturdy enough to survive the stretch coming their way, but the NFC contenders still have trouble ahead.
Former Vikings Moss, Hutchinson move step closer to Hall of Fame

Former Vikings Moss, Hutchinson move step closer to Hall of Fame

Star receiver, lineman in first year of eligibility; ex-Gopher Mecklenburg back on the list.
NFL Power Rankings: Panthers could put heat on Saints; Steelers threatening Patriots

NFL Power Rankings: Panthers could put heat on Saints; Steelers threatening Patriots

The Chargers (up) and the Chiefs (down) made the biggest moves in the rankings this week.

Vikings in the home stretch

A few things to watch for in the Purple's final six games:
Vikings' biggest plays came from two unlikely sources

Vikings' biggest plays came from two unlikely sources

Anthony Harris' goal-line takeaway on Sunday swung the momentum away from the Rams, one play after fellow sub Stephen Weatherly stuffed Todd Gurley for a loss
Vikings' five extra points: Murray shows power, Newman shows football IQ

Vikings' five extra points: Murray shows power, Newman shows football IQ

Five takeaways from Sunday's statement victory by the Vikings over the Rams.
Week 11 Power Rankings: Vikings, Rams in Top 5 tussle; Packers find a pulse

Week 11 Power Rankings: Vikings, Rams in Top 5 tussle; Packers find a pulse

The Patriots and Eagles continue to run 1-2 in the rankings.
Seven-minute drive tells tale of two very different Vikings seasons

Seven-minute drive tells tale of two very different Vikings seasons

Case Keenum did what the Vikings didn't last year against Washington: closed the deal. It wasn't the Vikings' flashiest scoring drive of the day, but it had to have been the gutsiest
Five extra points: How Thielen got loose and Sendejo shook loose a potential TD

Five extra points: How Thielen got loose and Sendejo shook loose a potential TD

A look at five takeaways from Sunday's Vikings victory over Washington.
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