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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
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 1.24…
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.
NFL Week 10 storylines: Can Saints keep it going? And the Jets are .500; say what?

NFL Week 10 storylines: Can Saints keep it going? And the Jets are .500; say what?

What to watch for this week as the NFL season hits double digits.
Craig: Vikings' first-half MVP? Look no further than tackle Reiff

Craig: Vikings' first-half MVP? Look no further than tackle Reiff

Keep this on the down-low: Riley Reiff has not allowed a sack this season
Road to Minneapolis: Battle of Pennsylvania sets up Super Bowl

Road to Minneapolis: Battle of Pennsylvania sets up Super Bowl

Pittsburgh is the No. 1 seed in the AFC, while Philadelphia is the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
NFL Week 10 power rankings: It's test time for Vikings, count Cowboys in with Ezekiel Elliott around

NFL Week 10 power rankings: It's test time for Vikings, count Cowboys in with Ezekiel Elliott around

Sorry, Eagles fans. There's another team at the top.
Randy Moss, TV media star, is one SuperFreaky surprise

Randy Moss, TV media star, is one SuperFreaky surprise

Randy Moss, TV media star, isn't something anyone saw coming. One ESPN executive called it: "one of the most shocking career paths I've ever seen in this business."
NFL midseason superlatives: Biggest disappointment, best rookie and team of the year halfway through

NFL midseason superlatives: Biggest disappointment, best rookie and team of the year halfway through

Pondering awards as we've reached the halfway point of the 2017 season.
In victory, Thielen pleases British crowd (and more importantly his coach)

In victory, Thielen pleases British crowd (and more importantly his coach)

Adam Thielen, named BBC's 'Man of the Match,' constantly comes through in the clutch for the Vikings.
Five extra points: Griffen ties record (but doesn't think London should get a team)

Five extra points: Griffen ties record (but doesn't think London should get a team)

Defensive end Everson Griffen entertained the Brits before and after the game, but that doesn't mean he thinks the NFL should have a team based in London.
NFL Week 8 storylines: Carson Wentz for MVP? Can Bills squeeze their way in?

NFL Week 8 storylines: Carson Wentz for MVP? Can Bills squeeze their way in?

What to watch for this week in the NFL
Vikings' Griffen on a sacks mission - and won't face Thomas

Vikings' Griffen on a sacks mission - and won't face Thomas

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is on track to pick up a sack in the first eight games of a season and Sunday won't have to face Joe Thomas, the 10-time Pro Bowler.
Among castles and cows, Vikings get accustomed in London

Among castles and cows, Vikings get accustomed in London

"I was like, 'Dang, we're practicing outside somebody's house,'" running back Jerick McKinnon said. "But it was good. The energy was good."
Are the Vikings Super Bowl bound? Against Pittsburgh, maybe?

Are the Vikings Super Bowl bound? Against Pittsburgh, maybe?

Despite injuries at quarterback and running back, the Vikings have found a way to keep plugging away -- with a dominant defense.

Road to Minneapolis: Super Bowl miracle, Vikings finish where they started

For the Vikings to reach the Super Bowl … Last week, the focus was on Jerick McKinnon’s fumbles and how he needed to STOP ASAP.…
Craig: Hard-hitting Vikings safeties very aware football has changed

Craig: Hard-hitting Vikings safeties very aware football has changed

Vikings safeties Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo share a defender's thought process in that split-second when they have to consider the NFL's rules against blows to the head.
NFL Week 8 power rankings: Vikings crack Top 5

NFL Week 8 power rankings: Vikings crack Top 5

A look at how the NFL stacks up this week, in the eyes of Mark Craig.
Caffeine-free Vikings: Team gets tips on London travel for Browns game

Caffeine-free Vikings: Team gets tips on London travel for Browns game

Sleep. Rest. And no caffeine on the eight-hour flight. Those were some of the highlights of what players shared with reporters after getting instructions from trainers on things to do and not to do.
Hundley, not Kaepernick, is Packers' back-up plan. But what if ...

Hundley, not Kaepernick, is Packers' back-up plan. But what if ...

Would the Packers rethink signing Colin Kaepernick if current quarterback Brett Hundley gets hurt? They'd almost have to consider him.
Vikings stamped out Ravens' run game, their best chance of winning

Vikings stamped out Ravens' run game, their best chance of winning

Some Vikings believe this is the team's best run defense in the Mike Zimmer era.
Five extra points: Sendejo's hit, Thielen's temper, Treadwell's miss

Five extra points: Sendejo's hit, Thielen's temper, Treadwell's miss

The scariest play of the game came when Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo delivered a crushing blow to the head of former Vikings receiver Mike Wallace.
Zimmer's tales of Woodson prod Smith to new heights

Zimmer's tales of Woodson prod Smith to new heights

Mike Zimmer has seen safety played exactly the way he wants Harrison Smith to play it, and that was by a guy who played for him in Dallas.
Craig's NFL Week 7 storylines: Patriots-Falcons rematch headlines the lineup

Craig's NFL Week 7 storylines: Patriots-Falcons rematch headlines the lineup

A look around the league entering Week 7.
Road to Minneapolis: Mark Craig's hottest Super Bowl contenders

Road to Minneapolis: Mark Craig's hottest Super Bowl contenders

Which of the NFL's 13 two-loss teams have the best chance of reaching the Super Bowl?
Craig: Bridgewater's back today but keep your expectations modest

Craig: Bridgewater's back today but keep your expectations modest

The team's rise or fall this season doesn't hinge on Teddy Bridgewater's return. Remember, the soul of the Vikings right now is their defense.
NFL Power Rankings: How far did the Packers fall ... and the Vikings rise?

NFL Power Rankings: How far did the Packers fall ... and the Vikings rise?

One injury makes a big difference in Mark Craig's latest NFL power rankings.
Craig: Vikings show depth at safety to match Smith's dominance

Craig: Vikings show depth at safety to match Smith's dominance

Harrison Smith played lights out against the Packers, and he was far from alone in that regard.
Five extra points: Keenum is fearless; Zimmer is lucky

Five extra points: Keenum is fearless; Zimmer is lucky

Five takeaways from Sunday's Vikings-Packers game from NFL writer Mark Craig.
Craig: Keenum partnership fits Vikings needs

Craig: Keenum partnership fits Vikings needs

The Vikings had specifics in mind when it shopped for backup quarterback in the offseason, and Case Keenum fits the bill.
NFL Week 6 storylines

NFL Week 6 storylines

What to watch around the league this Sunday.
Craig: Losses part of the NFL game in Week 5

Craig: Losses part of the NFL game in Week 5

It seems everyone lost something during Week 5 of the NFL season.
Extra points: Vikings give and take massive hits, Floyd makes big grab

Extra points: Vikings give and take massive hits, Floyd makes big grab

There are hard hits and then there's what happened to Jerick McKinnon on a checkdown pass on third-and-15 from the Chicago 18
Craig: Griffen's strip sack jolted game's momentum

Craig: Griffen's strip sack jolted game's momentum

Harrison Smith's interception essentially won the game. But it was Everson Griffen's big play that woke the Vikings from their first-half slumber.
Week 5: Two teams from out of the blue

Week 5: Two teams from out of the blue

Mark Craig's weekly Super Bowl possibility projects a team that already has played one Super Bowl in the Twin Cities back here in February.
Vikings' Bradford back at practice

Vikings' Bradford back at practice

Coach Mike Zimmer said the quarterback will play Monday if he is sufficiently recovered from a knee injury.
Can Bears QB Trubisky bring more rookie magic to NFL?

Can Bears QB Trubisky bring more rookie magic to NFL?

If we've learned nothing else about the 2017 season through four weeks, it's this: Don't underestimate the rookies.
Craig: Coordinators like the Vikings' Shurmur see blinders as good idea

Craig: Coordinators like the Vikings' Shurmur see blinders as good idea

Public opinion about offensive coordinators can change in a snap
Craig: One especially bad Keenum decision hurt Vikings' chances

Craig: One especially bad Keenum decision hurt Vikings' chances

"I thought I saw something and got fooled," Case Keenum said of a fourth-quarter play that went bad. "Changed the protection to the wrong protection."
Five extra points: Reiff is a strength for Vikings, Treadwell is a question mark

Five extra points: Reiff is a strength for Vikings, Treadwell is a question mark

Five takeaways from Sunday's game, which dropped the Vikings to 2-2 on the season.
Week 4: Mark Craig's Super Bowl forecast

Week 4: Mark Craig's Super Bowl forecast

Let's just say the Super Bowl possibilities are plentiful. Heading into Week 4, the only teams with a winning streak of two or more games are the Chiefs, Falcons, Patriots, Titans and Redskins.
Craig: Vikings' Cook among rookie runners delivering big stats

Craig: Vikings' Cook among rookie runners delivering big stats

Dalvin Cook is ahead of Adrian Peterson's rookie pace after three games, ranks fourth in combined yards (370) and already has four runs of 20 or more yards.
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