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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
Linval Joseph says defensive line 'can be as good as we want to be'

Linval Joseph says defensive line 'can be as good as we want to be'

Linval Joseph went from All-Pro front-runner to missing four of the final five regular-season games last season. The run defense suffered noticeably and ended up ranking 17th.
Behind the shades, Sparano gives Vikings offensive line fresh set of eyes

Behind the shades, Sparano gives Vikings offensive line fresh set of eyes

New offensive line coach Tony Sparano is being entrusted to redefine, redevelop and rejuvenate the Vikings' weakest unit as training camp opens on Friday in Mankato.
Vikings notes: Zimmer rewards team by forgoing final minicamp practice

Vikings notes: Zimmer rewards team by forgoing final minicamp practice

On Tuesday, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer joked that his players know when "Daddy's mad." Thursday, Daddy was bursting with pride. Months of hard work…
Vikings' Xavier Rhodes strives for elite cornerback status

Vikings' Xavier Rhodes strives for elite cornerback status

According to Mike Zimmer, Xavier Rhodes is different this offseason. Unlike last year, the 25-year-old corner hasn't had to relearn how to play the position - and is likely due a big payday.
With Boone out at Vikings minicamp, Berger again proves his value

With Boone out at Vikings minicamp, Berger again proves his value

One season after Joe Berger earned high marks while starting all 17 games for injured center John Sullivan, the longtime backup lineman's versatility was displayed again Tuesday.
Tarpley's best defense: Retirement over concussion risk

Tarpley's best defense: Retirement over concussion risk

A.J. Tarpley pursued his NFL dream with a single-minded purpose. But an unshakable sense of risk to his long-term health compelled him to abandon his football career after just one season.
Six teams in two years for the Vikings' Bruce Gaston

Six teams in two years for the Vikings' Bruce Gaston

The Vikings are the defensive tackle's seventh NFL stint and sixth team since leaving Purdue as an undrafted rookie in 2014. He's been with Arizona twice. He spent four days in New England. He's been to Miami and most recently with Green Bay and Chicago last season.
Vikings notes: Walsh says playoff miss 'won't define me'

Vikings notes: Walsh says playoff miss 'won't define me'

Vikings kicker Blair Walsh said he's past being upset about the playoff miss and instead draws confidence from last year's full body of work.
Vikings rookies ready to show what they've got on the field

Vikings rookies ready to show what they've got on the field

No 40-yard dashes, broad jumps or vertical leaps. The stop watches have been put aside in favor of football-related activities for the eight draft choices and a group of undrafted free agents.
Undersized linebacker Brothers plays big, Vikings say

Undersized linebacker Brothers plays big, Vikings say

Standing only 6 feet, 245 pounds and running a 4.82 40-yard dash, Kentrell Brothers lasted until the fifth round despite leading the nation in tackles per game (12.7) in the SEC at Missouri.
Craig: Knee-jerk reaction from the NFL draft

Craig: Knee-jerk reaction from the NFL draft

A look at winners, losers and, of course, the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Vikings first-round pick Treadwell puts himself in Cris Carter's hands

Vikings first-round pick Treadwell puts himself in Cris Carter's hands

Vikings first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell and former receiver Cris Carter, who share the same agent, spent two weeks this spring working out together daily for nearly two hours.
Craig: Can Tunsil recover from draft drop like Vikings' Griffen did?

Craig: Can Tunsil recover from draft drop like Vikings' Griffen did?

Everson Griffen used his draft free fall six years ago as motivation to make his freakish size, speed and athleticism assets to become a valuable member of the Vikings.
Mark Craig's NFL Mock Draft

Mark Craig's NFL Mock Draft

Folks in Los Angeles get to enjoy the fun this year. The Rams have the first pick of the NFL draft that kicks off Thursday night in Chicago. Star Tribune NFL writer Mark Craig weighs in with his full first round predictions. And the first pick is ...
Draft day wish lists for Vikings' NFC North opponents

Draft day wish lists for Vikings' NFC North opponents

Packers hope for an ILB, Lions want line help and the Bears need … a lot.
Vikings notes: Players get rears in gear under new strength coach

Vikings notes: Players get rears in gear under new strength coach

New strength and conditioning coach Brent Salazar is "one of the best in the game that I've seen so far" says Everson Griffen, who noted the new coach works on "glute activation."
Vikings GM Spielman plays it coy with first-round intentions

Vikings GM Spielman plays it coy with first-round intentions

A wideout might make sense, but GM is keeping options open.
Quarterback Carson Wentz is a big, prairie deal as NFL draft approaches

Quarterback Carson Wentz is a big, prairie deal as NFL draft approaches

The legs are nimble and the arm is strong. But it's the head sitting atop North Dakota State's Carson Wentz that has NFL hearts aflutter as the 2016 draft gets set to kick off Thursday.
NDSU tackle Haeg might follow Wentz to NFL

NDSU tackle Haeg might follow Wentz to NFL

The Brainerd product who grew with his QB is expected to be a high pick.
Craig: Vikings GM Spielman can risk taking raw prospects

Craig: Vikings GM Spielman can risk taking raw prospects

Coaching staff's teaching skills give him confidence.
Jared Allen scripts an exit that puts him back in purple with the Vikings

Jared Allen scripts an exit that puts him back in purple with the Vikings

Jared Allen put enough "blood, sweat and tears" into his six-year stint as a Viking to know he wanted to officially retire with the team. So he signed a one-day contract.
Chad Greenway says he'll play one more season

Chad Greenway says he'll play one more season

"Happy to be back," Greenway said in a text to the Star Tribune. "Career goal, and love the organization. Vikes were great through the whole process."
Vikings not playing games with their offensive line

Vikings not playing games with their offensive line

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman is pulling no punches while setting the stage for a Mankato Summer Slam Battle Royale designed to forcibly upgrade an offensive line that has disappointed too many people for far too long.
Vikings' newest lineman evolves from party guy to nasty blocker

Vikings' newest lineman evolves from party guy to nasty blocker

Drinking almost cost Alex Boone his NFL career; now he's found himself and a no-nonsense style.
Loadholt takes pay cut to remain with Vikings

Loadholt takes pay cut to remain with Vikings

Right tackle Phil Loadholt, whose spot on the roster was in doubt because of age, injury and a high salary cap figure, agreed to a pay cut remain with the Vikings on Monday, according to a source.
In NFL free agency, spending wisely is more important than just spending

In NFL free agency, spending wisely is more important than just spending

Just because your favorite team's wallet runneth over doesn't mean they are going to pay chicken-salad salaries for … well, you know.
Offensive line on Spielman's mind with NFL combine on horizon

Offensive line on Spielman's mind with NFL combine on horizon

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman knows where to turn if he needs outside help identifying his team's biggest need.

Broncos free agents

Denver has 17 free agents heading into this offseason.
With title secure, Elway's job now gets tougher

With title secure, Elway's job now gets tougher

Monday morning, Elway was the general manager going back to work on a Denver Broncos team that woke up with the Super Bowl 50 Lombardi Trophy, 17 free agents and a legendary quarterback who isn't expected to return.
On the NFL: Hall-of-Fame-bound Favre found glory with Vikings in 2009

On the NFL: Hall-of-Fame-bound Favre found glory with Vikings in 2009

Brett Favre will go into Canton as a Packers legend, but we will always remember 2009, too.

Chart: Hall of Fame finalists

HALL OF FAME FINALISTSMorten Andersen, K, 1982-2007Steve Atwater, S, 1989-1999Don Coryell, coach, 1973-86Terrell Davis, RB, 1995-2001Edward DeBartolo Jr., owner, 1977-2000

CRAIG'S COUNTDOWN | From XXXVIII to the ER

I've seen it all, from a wardrobe malfunction to (ugh) shellfish
Ex-Viking Remmers up for challenge in Super Bowl

Ex-Viking Remmers up for challenge in Super Bowl

Now at the Super Bowl with Carolina, Mike Remmers is on his fifth team in four years, including a brief stint with the Vikings. His task Sunday: Blocking Denver's Von Miller.
Versatile ex-Viking Webb can't help but smile during Super Bowl week

Versatile ex-Viking Webb can't help but smile during Super Bowl week

Joe Webb is Carolina's third-string QB, the emergency running back, the fifth receiver and a member of every special teams unit.
Panthers have turned into exceptional thieves on defense

Panthers have turned into exceptional thieves on defense

Ever since a low point in 2014, Panthers defensive backs have become masters of the takeaway.
Denver defensive coordinator Phillips aptly follows father's coaching lead

Denver defensive coordinator Phillips aptly follows father's coaching lead

All told, Wade Phillips has had 10 stints with nine NFL teams and has lasted 22 seasons longer than his father, Bum, did.
Former Vikings assistant Fred Pagac dancing happily with Broncos

Former Vikings assistant Fred Pagac dancing happily with Broncos

As Denver's outside linebackers coach, Fred Pagac is passing muster and then some, according to outside linebacker Von Miller.
As sack numbers dwindle, Allen on a quest for elusive Super Bowl ring

As sack numbers dwindle, Allen on a quest for elusive Super Bowl ring

Ex-Vikings DE Jared Allen seeks to cap his career with an elusive title playing on the biggest stage near his hometown.
Super Bowl coaches Kubiak, Rivera know the meaning of comeback

Super Bowl coaches Kubiak, Rivera know the meaning of comeback

Super Bowl 50 has some of the more resilient coaches the NFL has ever seen.
Super Bowl history not always kind to the next big thing

Super Bowl history not always kind to the next big thing

Cam Newton is not the first super man to defy comparisons heading into the Super Bowl.
Mark Craig's five Super Bowl story lines

Mark Craig's five Super Bowl story lines

Mark Craig's list to watch for next Sunday in Super Bowl 50.
Super Bowl 50: Facts and figures

Super Bowl 50: Facts and figures

A need-to-know for next Sunday's big game in Santa Clara.

Super Bowl 50 golden anniversary team

The best of the best from the first 49 Super Bowls
Picking the Super Bowl's best — a fun task, but not easy

Picking the Super Bowl's best — a fun task, but not easy

The Pro Football Hall of Fame's 46-member selection committee was asked by the NFL to choose an all-star Super Bowl lineup featuring the greatest of the greats from the first 49 Super Bowls.
Vikings castoff Coleman joins list of top playoff playmakers

Vikings castoff Coleman joins list of top playoff playmakers

Take a look now at Kurt Coleman, the Vikings castoff from 2014 who became an NFC title-game star.
Hail the unsung heroes in NFL playoff trenches

Hail the unsung heroes in NFL playoff trenches

Drafting the right offensive linemen in the first round always helps. But a look at Sunday's AFC and NFC title games shows it's not necessary to get this far.
A quartet of trends is defining NFL's conference finalists

A quartet of trends is defining NFL's conference finalists

Four thoughts about the four teams still chasing Super Bowl 50, including why Carolina is a pretty good bet to beat Arizona and the secret to Denver's success.
Veteran quarterbacks dominate NFL's final eight

Veteran quarterbacks dominate NFL's final eight

A lot of this week's NFL buzz revolves around some highly decorated quarterbacks
Zimmer expresses support for kicker Walsh

Zimmer expresses support for kicker Walsh

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer spoke to Blair Walsh in a team meeting to express his support for the kicker who missed the 27-yard field goal in the closing seconds of Sunday's wild-card loss to Seattle.
Peterson vows to do something about his fumbling

Peterson vows to do something about his fumbling

Adrian Peterson left Winter Park on Monday vowing to return not only as a better player, but a better fit for Norv Turner's offense. "I think Adrian has shown that he thrives on doubt," fullback Zach Line said.
Fourth-quarter fumble 'will haunt me' through offseason, Peterson says

Fourth-quarter fumble 'will haunt me' through offseason, Peterson says

Adrian Peterson gained only 45 yards on 23 carries against Seattle's elite defense and his fumble in the fourth quarter set up the field goal that gave the Seahawks their 10-9 lead.
Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

Five takeaways from Sunday's playoff loss to Seattle.
Adrian Peterson: 'No excuses for us not going forward in these playoffs'

Adrian Peterson: 'No excuses for us not going forward in these playoffs'

Preparing for his return to the postseason, Adrian Peterson doesn't want to go down as another star player without a playoff pedigree.
On the NFL: Peterson hands off playoff insights to Bridgewater

On the NFL: Peterson hands off playoff insights to Bridgewater

The star running back wants to make sure his young teammate is playoff-ready.
Vikings notes: Peterson prepares, injury concerns minimal

Vikings notes: Peterson prepares, injury concerns minimal

Of the six NFC playoff teams, the Vikings have the second-youngest 53-man roster.
Packers (and Vikings) QB Favre nominated for Hall of Fame

Packers (and Vikings) QB Favre nominated for Hall of Fame

The three-time MVP is on list of modern-era finalists.
Do the Vikings have a chance against Seattle's dominant defense?

Do the Vikings have a chance against Seattle's dominant defense?

When the teams played last months, the Vikings were barely able to move the ball, Adrian Peterson gained only 18 yards and the Vikings fell behind by 35 points.

Chart: Vikings with playoff experience

A look at the Vikings' 53-man roster shows 23 players with playoff experience.
Fill-in center Berger an anchor for Vikings' struggling offensive line

Fill-in center Berger an anchor for Vikings' struggling offensive line

With veteran John Sullivan out for the entire season, the veteran back-up took over the center position and, according to the data, played it as well as anyone in the NFL.
Vikings defense makes up for lack of offense

Vikings defense makes up for lack of offense

Everson Griffen led the charge, but he had plenty of help in turning the tide the Vikings' way.
Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

Five takeaways from Sunday night's Vikings-Packers tilt to decide the NFC North.
Priefer hasn't forgotten Packers' special teams mistakes vs. Seahawks

Priefer hasn't forgotten Packers' special teams mistakes vs. Seahawks

Nearly thirty-two years ago, Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was Packers teenage ball boy Mike Priefer. “The summer of 1984, my dad [Chuck] has…
Protection dejection: Packers try to figure out offensive line woes

Protection dejection: Packers try to figure out offensive line woes

With banged-up offensive line, Packers anxious about keeping Rodgers upright
Whenever Vikings face the Packers, Lacy's yardage climbs

Whenever Vikings face the Packers, Lacy's yardage climbs

Against the rest of the NFL, Eddie Lacy is averaging a relatively tame 64.2 yards rushing per game. Against the Vikings, his average is 106.8 per game.
Vikings-Packers showdown for NFC North title is a clash in styles

Vikings-Packers showdown for NFC North title is a clash in styles

Showdown for the NFC North title pits the Vikings' old-school defense vs. Green Bay's QB-centric offense.

Mark Craig's Week 17 NFL power rankings

Carolina is at the top. Which teams follow?
Harrison Smith's back in the lineup — and into the end zone

Harrison Smith's back in the lineup — and into the end zone

Limited recently by injury, the safety's pick-six turned the tide against the Giants. It was Smith's fourth interception return for a touchdown with the Vikings.
Mark Craig's five extra points

Mark Craig's five extra points

The Giants' struggles defensively are reminiscent of what the Vikings went through in 2011 and 2013 before coach Mike Zimmer was hired to help rebuild the franchise.
Peterson disagrees with Beckham's suspension

Peterson disagrees with Beckham's suspension

Peterson, who fought his own NFL suspension from late last season into the offseason, said Giants receiver and NFL pariah du jour Odell Beckham Jr. shouldn't have been suspended
Craig: Beckham's actions throw NFL deeper into its PR quagmire

Craig: Beckham's actions throw NFL deeper into its PR quagmire

The only decision easier than Monday's one-game suspension of Odell Beckham Jr. would have been Sunday's prompt ejection of Odell Beckham Jr.
Mark Craig's Week 16 NFL Power Rankings

Mark Craig's Week 16 NFL Power Rankings

Unbeaten Carolina sits atop the NFL:
Vikings make visits to red zone pay off

Vikings make visits to red zone pay off

The second-year back scored his first NFL TD.
Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

Five takeaways from Sunday's Vikings game vs. the Bears.
Win over surging Chiefs stands out as Vikings' signature victory

Win over surging Chiefs stands out as Vikings' signature victory

If the Chiefs (8-5) win as a 7 ½-point favorite at Baltimore on Sunday, they will become the first team in NFL history to win eight straight games immediately after losing at least five straight.
Vikings safety Smith longs to play, but bum leg keeps him out

Vikings safety Smith longs to play, but bum leg keeps him out

The strangest injury of Harrison Smith's athletic career will sideline the Vikings' best safety for the third time in the past four games.
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