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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
Health issues finally sacked NFL workaholic Mike Zimmer

Health issues finally sacked NFL workaholic Mike Zimmer

Mike Zimmer, like Jerry Kill, paid big for ignoring health issues.
Five extra points: Bradford's hits, Locke's struggles and a wrinkle in the run game

Five extra points: Bradford's hits, Locke's struggles and a wrinkle in the run game

Mark Craig offers his five takeaways from Thursday night's game against the Cowboys.
Craig: Robison's monster effort ruined, and refs don't help

Craig: Robison's monster effort ruined, and refs don't help

A four-play, 4-yard "drive" ruined what should have been defensive end Brian Robison's shining, season-saving moments Thursday night.
Craig: Cowboys owner Jones, Vikings inextricably linked

Craig: Cowboys owner Jones, Vikings inextricably linked

From the Herschel Walker trade to U.S. Bank Stadium, Jerry Jones and the Vikings have a connection.
Vikings looking to take advantage of the Dallas defense

Vikings looking to take advantage of the Dallas defense

The Dallas offense has sparked the team to a 10-1 record, but the Vikings will look to take advantage of the Cowboys' defense, which has been vulnerable.
Craig: Stafford is joining the comeback pack

Craig: Stafford is joining the comeback pack

Matthew Stafford is adding a special season to a strong history.
Five extra points: Interception aside, Vikings doomed by dumb penalties, bad match-ups

Five extra points: Interception aside, Vikings doomed by dumb penalties, bad match-ups

The Vikings had 54 yards rushing on the drive and had first-and-goal from the 10. But that's when left tackle T.J. Clemmings made a backside illegal chop block that was unnecessary on a Wildcat run to the right.
Vikings and Thanksgiving: 1969 snowstorm, Marshall parties, lasting memories

Vikings and Thanksgiving: 1969 snowstorm, Marshall parties, lasting memories

Historically, the Vikings have owned Detroit, including on Thanksgiving in 1969.
On the NFL: 'Thursday Night Football' is making league look bad

On the NFL: 'Thursday Night Football' is making league look bad

"Thursday Night Football" has delivered some real stinkers. And even the players are noticing that it does "kind of hurt the product."

Mark Craig's Week 12 NFL power rankings

The Seahawks, at 7-2-1, have slipped ahead of the 9-1 Cowboys in the rankings.
Vikings leaning on Diggs, regardless of cornerback Peterson's presence

Vikings leaning on Diggs, regardless of cornerback Peterson's presence

Diggs has 26 catches for 244 yards the past two weeks. Peterson, the fifth overall draft pick in 2011, has five Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pro selections.
Craig: Cowboys are thriving where the Vikings are failing

Craig: Cowboys are thriving where the Vikings are failing

The Cowboys play a Dec. 1 Thursday nighter against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Rather than wait a few weeks, let's start the envying process right here and now.

Mark's Craig's NFL Power Rankings

The 5-4 Vikings have fallen to 20th after four consecutive losses.
Craig: Vikings' biggest shortcoming? Just getting a yard

Craig: Vikings' biggest shortcoming? Just getting a yard

The Vikings couldn't keep the lead Sunday because they couldn't convert their first two third-down situations of the second half. For the game, the Vikings had only 47 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Vikings have no idea how Walsh will respond

Vikings have no idea how Walsh will respond

The pressure of a three-game losing streak oozes from the Vikings, whose blueprint for success — winning close, low-scoring games — is threatened by an out-of-sync kicker.
Short and steady is Shurmur's philosophy for Vikings' offense

Short and steady is Shurmur's philosophy for Vikings' offense

Pat Shurmur is a West Coast disciple who learned the quick, rhythmic passing principles during a decade spent under Andy Reid in Philadelphia.
Pressure? Blair Walsh isn't feeling it

Pressure? Blair Walsh isn't feeling it

Asked if the team's kicker tryouts put even more pressure on him, Walsh said, "That's not how I look at it, no. I got to do my job and be dependable for my team. That's how I look at it."
On the NFL: Zimmer trying to pull Vikings out of NFC North tailspin

On the NFL: Zimmer trying to pull Vikings out of NFC North tailspin

The Vikings didn't boot the kicker. Nor should they scrap any division hopes.

Mark Craig's Week 10 NFL power rankings

The Patriots and Cowboys, each at 7-1, have risen to the top.
Five extra points: Vikings offense doesn't take time to dawdle

Five extra points: Vikings offense doesn't take time to dawdle

Takeaways from Sunday's loss to the Lions.
Craig: Vikings should know by now, Matthew Stafford is Mr. Clutch

Craig: Vikings should know by now, Matthew Stafford is Mr. Clutch

Had the Vikings consulted Matthew Stafford's résumé and respected the gunslinger's gigantic right arm, they wouldn't have started celebrating victory 23 seconds too soon.
Craig: Shurmur knows the seat is always hot for NFL coordinators

Craig: Shurmur knows the seat is always hot for NFL coordinators

Pat Shurmer's promotion to Vikings' offensive coordinator could mean he's one day closer to getting fired. Three coordinators have been let go this season already and Norv Turner stepped down.
'Tough day' sees Norv Turner move on from Vikings

'Tough day' sees Norv Turner move on from Vikings

"I think [the Vikings' Mike Zimmer] is as good a coach as I've been around," Turner said. "But it just got to the point where I didn't think it was going to work with me. So I removed myself."
Craig: This time, the Vikings defense was the culprit, too

Craig: This time, the Vikings defense was the culprit, too

Now the Vikings have problems on both sides of the ball as sloppy tackling and poor pursuit angles led to multiple big plays by the Bears. 'We were terrible defensively,' Harrison Smith said.
Mark Craig's Five Extra Points: Bad Bradford was just a start

Mark Craig's Five Extra Points: Bad Bradford was just a start

For whatever reason — perhaps heightened expectations? — quarterback Sam Bradford is regressing after opening his Vikings career with four victories and a 70.4 completion percentage.
Can 1-6 Bears match Eagles' blueprint and beat Vikings?

Can 1-6 Bears match Eagles' blueprint and beat Vikings?

The Eagles got results vs. Vikings by attacking quarterback Sam Bradford, but Vikings coaches say personnel is more of a yardstick than any game plan.
Craig: Loss to Eagles spurs Vikings to bounce back

Craig: Loss to Eagles spurs Vikings to bounce back

The Vikings' first loss of the season last week set off a jolt of distress and motivation.
Craig: Not just the Vikings ­­— overreactions run rampant in NFL

Craig: Not just the Vikings ­­— overreactions run rampant in NFL

Is there cause for concern? You bet. And it's as big as Jake Long, T.J. Clemmings and Jeremiah Sirles rolled into one giant Triangle of Pain for Sam Bradford.

Mark Craig's NFL Power Rankings

The Vikings take a fall - but how far?
On the NFL: Short-yardage failures anger Vikings guard Boone

On the NFL: Short-yardage failures anger Vikings guard Boone

"We needed a couple of inches and we get stopped?" Vikings left guard Alex Boone said. "It doesn't matter if they knew what we were going to do. It's a couple of inches. That's where I lost my cool."
Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

You know things aren't going the Vikings' way when punt returner Marcus Sherels, the team's most consistent performer, messes up and puts the ball on the ground.
On the NFL: Bradford's strong play proving Shurmur a genius

On the NFL: Bradford's strong play proving Shurmur a genius

The tight ends coach is right on the money about all things Sam Bradford.
Vikings QB Bradford has been incredible this season

Vikings QB Bradford has been incredible this season

Sam Bradford has been both steady and spectacular, leading the league in completion percentage while connecting on highlight-reel throws.
Somehow for Vikings-Eagles, it's Bradford vs. Wentz

Somehow for Vikings-Eagles, it's Bradford vs. Wentz

Fifty-two mornings ago, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford left locker rooms and headed to practice fields in Eden Prairie and Philadelphia, respectively. They warmed up 1,167 miles apart, yet were mere moments from their worlds beginning to collide
Craig: Zimmer pushing Vikings defense to be the best

Craig: Zimmer pushing Vikings defense to be the best

Through five games this season, the Vikings haven't allowed more than 16 points in a game. Every other team in the league has given up 20 points or more at least once.
GM Rick Spielman's patches, picks buoy 5-0 Vikings

GM Rick Spielman's patches, picks buoy 5-0 Vikings

In the past 43 days, the Vikings lost a franchise QB, made a risky, expensive but necessary trade for Sam Bradford, won a game with Shaun Hill, and watched $33 million in salary cap space go on IR.
Craig: Vikings use team speed in all facets of the game

Craig: Vikings use team speed in all facets of the game

The league's only undefeated team played at a speed that made the Texans look like a Division I-AA team rather than an NFL division leader.
Vikings takeaways: Big plays, tough reviews and T.J.'s tough day

Vikings takeaways: Big plays, tough reviews and T.J.'s tough day

No team is better without Adrian Peterson. But the loss of a great running back doesn't have to sink a team.
Record pace: Vikings near-perfect 10 on turnovers

Record pace: Vikings near-perfect 10 on turnovers

Minnesota is plus-10 in turnovers, with none committed by the offense. In particular, quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater (seven), Shaun Hill (33) and Sam Bradford (95) have thrown 135 passes without an interception.
Rodgers, Newton, Manning: High-end QBs can't solve Vikings defense

Rodgers, Newton, Manning: High-end QBs can't solve Vikings defense

The Vikings definitely were the only team in the league to spend the first month of the season facing three quarterbacks who have played in four Super Bowls and won three MVPs.
Craig: Grab on, hang on as Vikings take us on a wild ride

Craig: Grab on, hang on as Vikings take us on a wild ride

Jjudging by the noise level inside U.S. Bank Stadium, fans are handing over their hearts to the league's most surprising team. Again. But coach Mike Zimmer has a warning about the road ahead.

Mark Craig's NFL power rankings

The NFL is down to three unbeaten teams, including the 4-0 Vikings.
On the NFL: On improved offensive line, versatile Sirles proving his value

On the NFL: On improved offensive line, versatile Sirles proving his value

With Jeremiah Sirles on the field for the final 52 minutes Monday, the Vikings scored 24 points, didn't give up a sack, finally surpassed 100 yards rushing and scored their first two rushing touchdowns of the season.
'Very small minority' of fans crossed the line during the Ryder Cup

'Very small minority' of fans crossed the line during the Ryder Cup

"Ninety-five percent of the people out there, the American gallery, are absolutely fantastic. They really are," Rory McIlroy said.
Lee Westwood's missed putt costs Europe

Lee Westwood's missed putt costs Europe

The veteran made some tough putts, but a couple of botched easy ones gave the U.S. a point.
Ryder Cup rookie Thomas Pieters was steady for Europe

Ryder Cup rookie Thomas Pieters was steady for Europe

Rafa Cabrera Bello had two hole-winning birdies in his first seven Ryder Cup holes. Rory McIlroy's match-clinching eagle came after rookie partner Thomas Pieters won four holes to McIlroy's three.
Olympic silver doesn't earn Henrik Stenson much respect at Hazeltine

Olympic silver doesn't earn Henrik Stenson much respect at Hazeltine

American golf fans upped the ante heckling-wise during Thursday’s final practice round for this week’s Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. One of the…
Masters champ Willett gets an unexpected earful -- from his brother

Masters champ Willett gets an unexpected earful -- from his brother

Pete Willett went on a rant about American golf fans in a UK golf publication, setting off an unexpected and unwelcome firestorm for Danny Willett and Team Europe.
Craig: Give credit to the Vikings for what they've accomplished

Craig: Give credit to the Vikings for what they've accomplished

Facing two of the NFC's teams to beat, the Vikings became THE team to beat by flustering Aaron Rodgers and flattening Cam Newton.
Hazeltine created with the room to grow

Hazeltine created with the room to grow

Minnesota needed a golf course for modern-day events. Enter Totton Peavey Heffelfinger.
Ryder Cup has flourished into golf's preeminent international contest

Ryder Cup has flourished into golf's preeminent international contest

Through sportsmanship and gamesmanship, from low ebb to intense attention, Ryder Cup grew into a golf goliath.

Mark Craig's NFL power rankings

Here's Mark's weekly power rankings, with only five unbeaten teams remaining in the NFL.
Craig: Vikings special teams on top of their game

Craig: Vikings special teams on top of their game

From punts to returns, the Vikings displayed it all on Sunday.
Sharrif Floyd the latest Vikings starter to have surgery

Sharrif Floyd the latest Vikings starter to have surgery

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean damaged cartilage from his right knee. Floyd had the same procedure done on his left knee last October and missed four games.
Kalil placed on IR; Clemmings shifted to left tackle for Vikings

Kalil placed on IR; Clemmings shifted to left tackle for Vikings

T.J. Clemmings will step in to replace the left tackle, who started 66 consecutive games. Last season, Clemmings stepped in for Phil Loadholt at right tackle.
Tackle Clemmings says he can overcome last season's mistakes

Tackle Clemmings says he can overcome last season's mistakes

T.J. Clemmings started all 17 games at right tackle as a rookie, but was replaced when the Vikings signed Andre Smith via free agency.
Craig: Panthers, Newton are putting the 'O' in Carolina

Craig: Panthers, Newton are putting the 'O' in Carolina

The Vikings' next opponent has scored at least 37 points in seven straight games. And the last time they didn't reach 24 points at home was 13 games ago.
Mark Craig's NFL power rankings

Mark Craig's NFL power rankings

Star Tribune football writer Mark Craig offers his weekly rankings, and you don't have to look too far to find the Vikings.
Craig: Vikings shift philosophy and become a passing team

Craig: Vikings shift philosophy and become a passing team

Sam Bradford turned to slinging the football up and down U.S. Bank Stadium after Adrian Peterson was first ineffective, then injured.
On the NFL: Vikings remain standing during national anthem

On the NFL: Vikings remain standing during national anthem

The team has not discussed any national anthem protest the way other teams have.
Hill or Bradford? Cat-and-mouse game with Vikings QBs continues

Hill or Bradford? Cat-and-mouse game with Vikings QBs continues

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is annoyed, and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is amused by the ongoing speculation at Winter Park about who the Vikings start under center Sunday night.
Craig: Patterson's kickoff returns liven up Vikings-Packers rivalry

Craig: Patterson's kickoff returns liven up Vikings-Packers rivalry

Since the moment Cordarrelle Patterson joined this NFC North rivalry seven games into his 2013 rookie season, kickoffs have been an adventure: Good, bad, ugly or historically great.

Mark Craig's Week 2 NFL power rankings

The Packers, the Vikings' opponent in their home opener Sunday night, are ranked No. 2.
Craig: Hill was fine for Vikings, but expect Bradford to start vs. Packers

Craig: Hill was fine for Vikings, but expect Bradford to start vs. Packers

Expect Sam Bradford to start Sunday night's prime-time home opener against the Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. That's been the plan all along.
Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

Takeaways from the Vikings' 25-16 victory over the Titans from NFL writer Mark Craig.
Vikings OC Turner has experience getting a new QB ready quickly

Vikings OC Turner has experience getting a new QB ready quickly

Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner is giving new QB Sam Bradford a crash course, but he's done it before.
Craig: As NFL season begins, there's a lack of elite QB talent

Craig: As NFL season begins, there's a lack of elite QB talent

The NFL season kicks off Thursday night with a Denver-Carolina Super Bowl rematch. And right now, it's a stretch to say the league has a dozen elite quarterbacks.

Mark Craig's preseason NFL power rankings

The Arizona Cardinals begin the year atop the list.
Craig: Vikings offensive line must make up for loss of Bridgewater

Craig: Vikings offensive line must make up for loss of Bridgewater

Sure, quarterbacks are important. But the Vikings aren't going anywhere if blockers can't clear Adrian Peterson's runway.
Entering 10th season, Vikings' Peterson still chasing Super Bowl dream

Entering 10th season, Vikings' Peterson still chasing Super Bowl dream

Peterson ranks 17th on the NFL's career rushing list. Only three players ahead of him didn't play in a Super Bowl or an NFL championship game. If he's still part of that group upon retirement, he'll view his career as incomplete.
Craig: Vikings didn't mortgage future in getting Bradford

Craig: Vikings didn't mortgage future in getting Bradford

Before Teddy Bridgewater went down because of a season-ending knee injury, the Vikings felt they would draft no higher than the late 20s next spring.

Shaun Hill's career at-a-glance

Since the 2010 season ended, Shaun Hill has started just eight games, in 2014 with St. Louis. He was the Vikings' backup last season but…
Vikings trying to trade veteran Sullivan as team begins cutting players

Vikings trying to trade veteran Sullivan as team begins cutting players

A day after John Sullivan did not play in a 23-10 preseason win over the San Diego Chargers, the Vikings attempted to trade him, an NFL source confirmed. Joe Berger is the likely starter.
Craig: Did Berger take Vikings center job from Sullivan?

Craig: Did Berger take Vikings center job from Sullivan?

With time to decide on a starting offensive line unit running out, Sunday's game was the most significant test to date for the team's No. 1 offseason priority.
Vikings notes: New stadium videoboard grabs attention

Vikings notes: New stadium videoboard grabs attention

Players laughed and teased each other before Friday's practice at the new stadium as a camera panned the warmup lines and projected the Bunyan-sized close-ups on the video­board.
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