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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
Road to Minneapolis: Hottest Super Bowl contenders

Road to Minneapolis: Hottest Super Bowl contenders

For the Vikings to reach the Super BowlLast week, I suggested the Vikings continue bumping their takeaway total up to enhance their chances on the…
Brett Hundley, not Colin Kaepernick, has long been Mike McCarthy's emergency plan, but what if ...

Brett Hundley, not Colin Kaepernick, has long been Mike McCarthy's emergency plan, but what if ...

on the nfl mark craigThe question seemed jinx-proof on Oct. 11. After all, back on Oct. 11, the Packers had started Brett Favre or Aaron…
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.
Vikings took care of priority: Keeping handle on Bucs' McCoy

Vikings took care of priority: Keeping handle on Bucs' McCoy

On Sunday, the Vikings wrecked Tampa Bay's 6-4, 300-pound wrecking ball.
Five extra points: Thielen's grab, a free play and Robison's young man's day

Five extra points: Thielen's grab, a free play and Robison's young man's day

The catch of the year so far came on the third play of Sunday's game 34-17 win over the Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Week 3 Road to Minneapolis: A silver and black attack

Week 3 Road to Minneapolis: A silver and black attack

Each week of the NFL season, football writer Mark Craig checks in with his outlook for February's Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Road to Minneapolis: Today's NFL tackles out-manned by pass-rushing specialists

Road to Minneapolis: Today's NFL tackles out-manned by pass-rushing specialists

Over-simplified protection schemes in college and an NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement that has reduced practice time are popular notions why O-linemen can't keep up with pass rushers.
ACL injuries like Bradford's cause conflict in medical ranks

ACL injuries like Bradford's cause conflict in medical ranks

NFL seasons can rise and fall on the health of what the dictionary calls a "short band of tough, flexible, fibrous connective tissue" in the middle of a star player's knee.
Craig: Amid NFL angst from Vikings and beyond, Cutler is all smiles

Craig: Amid NFL angst from Vikings and beyond, Cutler is all smiles

Jay Cutler's situation, in which he put off the start of a broadcasting career to join the Dolphins for a one-year, $10 million contract, exemplifies the quarterbacking problems in the NFL.
NFL Week 3 Power Rankings: There's an NFC North team in the top 10 and it's not the Packers

NFL Week 3 Power Rankings: There's an NFC North team in the top 10 and it's not the Packers

The biggest jump in Mark Craig's Power Rankings? The Broncos, climbing from No. 20 to No. 3. The biggest fall: Giants from No. 12 to No. 26.
Craig: Steelers find other answers after Rhodes put clamps on Brown

Craig: Steelers find other answers after Rhodes put clamps on Brown

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is savvy enough to embrace the opportunities that sprout up elsewhere when Antonio Brown preoccupies a team's shutdown corner.
Vikings five extra points: Kicker woes, a sensible fake punt attempt and other key observations

Vikings five extra points: Kicker woes, a sensible fake punt attempt and other key observations

NFL writer Mark Craig with a look at key moments from Sunday's Vikings game.
Road to Minneapolis: Mark Craig's Week 2 Super Bowl forecast

Road to Minneapolis: Mark Craig's Week 2 Super Bowl forecast

A weekly look around the NFL, with some thoughts on who might be the two teams left standing on Feb. 4.
Road to Minneapolis: Can Packers defense handle Falcons?

Road to Minneapolis: Can Packers defense handle Falcons?

Holding Seattle to three field goals while riding the defense to victory in Lambeau Field was impressive. But can the Packers handle the encore in Atlanta, where they surrendered 44 points in the NFC title game?
Craig: Defenses boast upper-hand in NFL Week 1 of truly odd twists

Craig: Defenses boast upper-hand in NFL Week 1 of truly odd twists

It's safe to say the first leg on the NFL's Road to Minneapolis supplied its share of unexpected twists and a serious lean in favor of the defenses.
Ring of Honor induction means Randy Moss will stay a Viking

Ring of Honor induction means Randy Moss will stay a Viking

The ceremony reunited a gifted receiver who just wanted to play with an organization that never really wanted him to leave.
Craig: NFL quarterback upheaval abounds, be thankful if you have a good one

Craig: NFL quarterback upheaval abounds, be thankful if you have a good one

As the Road to Minneapolis begins to unfold, it's obvious why the Super Bowl LII favorites are led by guys with names such as Brady, Roethlisberger, Rodgers, Ryan, Manning and Wilson.
With Vikings, special teams bar is raised to superstar status

With Vikings, special teams bar is raised to superstar status

Under the guidance of coach Mike Priefer, the dirty work is a popular task.
Randy Moss: Ring of Honor now, is first-ballot Hall of Fame next?

Randy Moss: Ring of Honor now, is first-ballot Hall of Fame next?

The Vikings great, set to enter their Ring of Honor, believes he is worthy of HOF induction.
Craig: Can Vikings' defense slam the door on the Packers in NFC North?

Craig: Can Vikings' defense slam the door on the Packers in NFC North?

With Brett Favre followed by Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have won nine of 15 NFC North titles. But, defensively, the Vikings again have what it takes to unseat the Packers for the second time in three years.
Last stop, Minneapolis? Favored Patriots start Super Bowl journey

Last stop, Minneapolis? Favored Patriots start Super Bowl journey

The build-up to Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium starts now. Everybody ready? The Patriots begin their quest to defend the Super Bowl title tonight against Kansas City.

Bold predictions: Star Tribune experts make AFC, NFC and Super Bowl picks

Five Star Tribunbe football writers give their thoughts on who might be playing for a Super Bowl title in Minneapolis.
Suspended Viking isn't banned from training facility

Suspended Viking isn't banned from training facility

Michael Floyd's four-game suspension after an extreme DUI arrest has pushed his NFL career to the brink of extinction if there's another slip-up in his personal life.
When will Teddy play? Contract interpretations could play a role

When will Teddy play? Contract interpretations could play a role

One year after his sudden and devastating knee injury, Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater is still rehabbing, and long-term questions linger.
Craig: No reason Vikings offensive line should look this troubled

Craig: No reason Vikings offensive line should look this troubled

This season, like last season, will rise or fall with the offensive line. And this revamped line had an all-too-familiar look of constipation to it.
Craig: Vikings have to cut down on their red-zone penalties this season

Craig: Vikings have to cut down on their red-zone penalties this season

The Vikings were flagged a league-high 19 times in the red zone in 2016. Eighteen of those were accepted.
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?
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