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Matt Vensel

Reporter | Vikings
phone: 612-673-7966
Matt Vensel has been a Vikings beat reporter for The Minneapolis Star Tribune since March 2014. He joined the Star Tribune after six years covering the Baltimore Ravens for The Baltimore Sun Media Group. When he isn't covering the Vikings, you can probably find him on an ice rink or at a local coffeehouse. Matt is a native of the Pittsburgh area.
Recent content from Matt Vensel
Vikings QB coach Turner making a name for himself

Vikings QB coach Turner making a name for himself

Like his father, Scott Turner is integral in developing QB Teddy Bridgewater.
Vikings notes: Tight end Ellison back practicing

Vikings notes: Tight end Ellison back practicing

Tight end Rhett Ellison cleared another major hurdle in his attempt to return from a major knee injury
Nickelbacks, the Vikings' Captain Munnerlyn has your backs

Nickelbacks, the Vikings' Captain Munnerlyn has your backs

The Vikings' Captain Munnerlyn wants the slot cornerback to get its due as a Pro Bowl position.
Vikings O-line takes step forward vs. Seattle, with room to improve

Vikings O-line takes step forward vs. Seattle, with room to improve

The pass protection was better vs. Seattle, but the run game has work to do.
Zimmer keeps Bridgewater on bench in Vikings' win at Seattle

Zimmer keeps Bridgewater on bench in Vikings' win at Seattle

The biggest question of the night was why coach Mike Zimmer decided not to play Teddy Bridgewater, who watched while Shaun Hill and Joel Stave ran the offense.
Andre Smith gets start over Clemmings at right tackle for Vikings

Andre Smith gets start over Clemmings at right tackle for Vikings

Smith struggled last Friday in his first game with the Vikings, leading coach Mike Zimmer to say the position battle had not yet been settled.
Can Cordarrelle Patterson save his career with the Vikings?

Can Cordarrelle Patterson save his career with the Vikings?

Cordarrelle Patterson arrived in Mankato determination to show the Vikings and a growing hoard of naysayers that a wake-up call had been answered.
Another Matt Birk? Harvard center making case with the Vikings

Another Matt Birk? Harvard center making case with the Vikings

Nick Easton knows he's got a ways to go to secure a roster spot. But the last Harvard center the Vikings used turned out pretty well.
Amid ups and downs, Vikings top Bengals in preseason opener

Amid ups and downs, Vikings top Bengals in preseason opener

In Friday's preseason opener, the Vikings' starting offense found immediate improvement. The starting defense provided less satisfaction.
Vikings notes: Zimmer wants Waynes to cover receivers closer

Vikings notes: Zimmer wants Waynes to cover receivers closer

Friday night, Trae Waynes made four tackles and had one pass break-up. He was targeted in coverage six times and allowed four receptions for 46 yards.
Zimmer happy with joint practices with Bengals

Zimmer happy with joint practices with Bengals

There were no fisticuffs, no major injuries and no regrets for Mike Zimmer and the Vikings on Thursday as they wrapped up joint practices with the Bengals.
Vikings defense gets a good test drive against Cincinnati

Vikings defense gets a good test drive against Cincinnati

The mostly dominant performance was a continuation of what was seen in Mankato, especially from the defensive line, which flustered Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
Vikings notes: Waynes struggles in the heat; Price takes advantage

Vikings notes: Waynes struggles in the heat; Price takes advantage

With Trae Waynes temporarily out of the mix at Wednesday's steamy practice, Jabari Price was the third cornerback in the nickel defense
Vikings linebacker Greenway enters a season he'll surely savor

Vikings linebacker Greenway enters a season he'll surely savor

While Chad Greenway has left himself a small sliver of wiggle room, the plan is for the 2016 season, his 11th with the Vikings, to be his last.
Vikings receiver Diggs is making a great second impression

Vikings receiver Diggs is making a great second impression

In the 10 days since the Vikings reported to Mankato, wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been by far the most impressive offensive player.
Exum battling for coach Mike Zimmer's trust, starting spot at safety

Exum battling for coach Mike Zimmer's trust, starting spot at safety

Inconsistent play in practices and games is why Zimmer, who called Antone Exum his most athletic safety other than Harrison Smith, has been reluctant to elevate Exum.
Harrison Smith takes flight on and off the field

Harrison Smith takes flight on and off the field

At Notre Dame and into his early years in Minnesota, star Vikings safety Harrison Smith felt a gripping anxiety whenever he flew to games on official team charters. Here's what he did about it.
For Vikings tackle Andre Smith, it's prove-it time

For Vikings tackle Andre Smith, it's prove-it time

Andre Smith, in his first year with the Vikings, is trying to resurrect his career after some inconsistent seasons with the Bengals.
Offense gets a hard look during Vikings' first practice

Offense gets a hard look during Vikings' first practice

Overhauling the NFL's 29th-ranked offense from a season ago was the top offseason priority for a Vikings team looking to compete for a Super Bowl.
After rejections, Zimmer digs in for long haul with Vikings

After rejections, Zimmer digs in for long haul with Vikings

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who just signed a contract extension, has won over the Vikings with aggressive schemes and a straightforward management style.
'We learned how to win last year': Q&A with Vikings coach Mike Zimmer

'We learned how to win last year': Q&A with Vikings coach Mike Zimmer

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer sits down to give his thoughts on Teddy Bridgewater, the new stadium and how close the Vikings are to finally grabbing the Lombardi Trophy.
Five questions as the Vikings report to training camp

Five questions as the Vikings report to training camp

After an offseason of optimism, the Vikings prepare for the 2016 season. Players report to Mankato on Thursday with the first practice of training camp set for Friday.
Injury setback prompts Vikings tackle Loadholt to retire

Injury setback prompts Vikings tackle Loadholt to retire

The towering lineman had been a punishing run blocker and one of the NFL's finest right tackles before a string of injuries brought his career to a halt.
With Treadwell on the field, Vikings may go to 'Bang 8' route more

With Treadwell on the field, Vikings may go to 'Bang 8' route more

Rookie Laquon Treadwell seems an ideal fit for the game-altering pass play offensive coordinator Norv Turner is associated with.
Wired for the 360 experience

Wired for the 360 experience

On any given Sunday, fans attending a Vikings game at U.S. Bank Stadium can tap into top-notch technology to enhance their game-day experience.
Zimmer seeing more focused Cordarrelle Patterson

Zimmer seeing more focused Cordarrelle Patterson

"He's not making mental errors — very, very few mental errors," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said of wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Bridgewater works on conquering his throwing-deep issue

Bridgewater works on conquering his throwing-deep issue

In 2015, Teddy Bridgewater was accurate on only 37.5 percent of passes that went at least 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, which ranked 23rd in the NFL.
Agent in Harrison Smith deal has working relationship with Vikings

Agent in Harrison Smith deal has working relationship with Vikings

Agent Brian Murphy's connection with Vikings GM Rick Spielman got the wheels turning on Smith's deal.
Harrison Smith buys more motivation with new contract

Harrison Smith buys more motivation with new contract

The Vikings made Smith the NFL's highest-paid safety. Now he is putting pressure on himself to make them look good for doing it.
New contract makes Harrison Smith NFL's highest-paid safety

New contract makes Harrison Smith NFL's highest-paid safety

Harrison Smith, fresh off his first Pro Bowl season, is one of the NFL's best safeties. On Monday morning, the Vikings agreed to start paying him like one.
Munnerlyn ready to face challenge from Vikings rookie Alexander

Munnerlyn ready to face challenge from Vikings rookie Alexander

"When they drafted that guy, it lit a fire under me again," Vikings veteran cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said of Minnesota selecting Mackensie Alexander in the second round of the draft.
Stave puts passing issues in past at Vikings camp

Stave puts passing issues in past at Vikings camp

Former Wisconsin QB Joel Stave was not selected during last month's NFL draft, but the Vikings made it a priority to sign him as a rookie free agent.
Seeking more playing time, Peterson hopes to improve from shotgun

Seeking more playing time, Peterson hopes to improve from shotgun

Last season, Adrian Peterson was named a first-team All-Pro because he again led the league in rushing. But on critical third-down plays when the Vikings needed to pass, he often stood on the sideline.
Vikings draft pick Alexander, and family, no strangers to hard work

Vikings draft pick Alexander, and family, no strangers to hard work

Mackensie Alexander joined his immigrant parents in the fields on weekends during his teenage years, sometimes working 18-hour shifts just to take home a modest payday.
Vikings pick up options for Floyd, Rhodes, but not Patterson

Vikings pick up options for Floyd, Rhodes, but not Patterson

The options will keep Xavier Rhodes and Sharrif Floyd under team control through 2017. But Cordarrelle Patterson will be a free agent after this season.
Beyond Treadwell, Vikings use draft to plant seeds for the future

Beyond Treadwell, Vikings use draft to plant seeds for the future

Rick Spielman acquired a pair of midround picks in next year's draft and several players who probably will see the field in 2016 only if they stand out on special teams.
Vikings' draft extends their drive for offense this offseason

Vikings' draft extends their drive for offense this offseason

The Vikings' clear focus was improving Teddy Bridgewater's supporting cast after coach Mike Zimmer's defense pulled the Vikings and their 29th-ranked offense as far as they could go in 2015.
Vikings second-round pick touts his 'sick work ethic'

Vikings second-round pick touts his 'sick work ethic'

In Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander, the Vikings are getting a confident cover man who declared at the NFL scouting combine that he was the best cornerback in the draft.
Vikings select wide receiver Treadwell with 23rd pick

Vikings select wide receiver Treadwell with 23rd pick

Mississippi's Laquon Treadwell had 82 catches for 1,153 yards last year as a junior, including three touchdowns against Oklahoma State in a Sugar Bowl victory.
'With the 23rd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Vikings select ... '

'With the 23rd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Vikings select ... '

The obvious choice is for the Vikings to take a wide receiver in Thursday night's first round of the NFL draft. But here's a look at other areas where the team has needs.
Solving their safety problem could be a Vikings draft priority

Solving their safety problem could be a Vikings draft priority

At one safety spot, the Vikings have one of the NFL's best in Harrison Smith, a versatile playmaker who soon could be among the league's highest paid, too. That other spot, though, has been a source of frustration
The Vikings' route to drafting the right receiver

The Vikings' route to drafting the right receiver

Pass-catchers are a tricky lot. They're not always what they seem.
Vikings schedule: Stadium opener vs. Packers, Thanksgiving in Detroit

Vikings schedule: Stadium opener vs. Packers, Thanksgiving in Detroit

The home opener is one of five scheduled national games for the Vikings in 2016. That includes four games in prime time, three of them at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Zimmer sees new Vikings offensive line as a big boost

The Vikings' revamped offensive line was the most popular topic of conversation for coach Mike Zimmer on Wednesday as the NFL owners meetings wrapped up…
Playing, winning, coaching led to Smith signing

Playing, winning, coaching led to Smith signing

Andre Smith couldn't pin down one reason why he signed with the Vikings.Speaking on a conference call Friday, Smith first said he was just…
'Minneapolis, here I come' Smith's arrival sets up battle at tackle

'Minneapolis, here I come' Smith's arrival sets up battle at tackle

The Vikings added another proven starter to the mix on their offensive line, setting up what could be a three-way battle at right tackle.
Ex-Viking Wallace signs with Ravens, says 'I need a good quarterback'

Ex-Viking Wallace signs with Ravens, says 'I need a good quarterback'

Mike Wallace didn't grumble about his role in the NFL's 29th-ranked offense or his quarterback during his underwhelming 2015 season with the Vikings. But…
Big steak, new stadium: But Vikings can't get Smith to sign during visit

Big steak, new stadium: But Vikings can't get Smith to sign during visit

Smith could still end up agreeing to join the Vikings. But the free-agent offensive tackle plans to visit Arizona first. Tampa Bay is reportedly interested in him, too.
Playing for Mike Zimmer drew Emmanuel Lamur to Vikings

Playing for Mike Zimmer drew Emmanuel Lamur to Vikings

"It's simple as that," Lamur said of why he became a Viking. The 6-4, 245-pound linebacker was a backup at both outside spots under Zimmer in their one full season together and had a role in the nickel package.
Vikings add two likely starters as football's free agency begins

Vikings add two likely starters as football's free agency begins

The Vikings might not have made one cannonball-type signing, but on the first day of the 2016 league year, they added four new players.
Wallace's release gives Vikings more than $30M to spend on free agents

Wallace's release gives Vikings more than $30M to spend on free agents

Wide receiver Mike Wallace's release gave the Vikings more than enough salary cap space to sign a few significant free agents, should they choose to do so.
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.
Regional combine at Winter Park gives overlooked players another look

Regional combine at Winter Park gives overlooked players another look

They arrived at Winter Park mostly from little-known schools such as American International, Knox and Hobart. They squeezed into purple spandex shirts with only a…
Judging NFL-ready offensive linemen becomes more complex in spread era

Judging NFL-ready offensive linemen becomes more complex in spread era

Since few NFL teams follow the college craze, analysis is a pro challenge.
Vikings looking at all receivers during NFL combine - big or small

Vikings looking at all receivers during NFL combine - big or small

The Vikings will be looking for playmakers of any shape and size this offseason after they ranked 31st in both passing yards and touchdown passes in 2015.
Everson Griffen won't need surgery on shoulder

Everson Griffen won't need surgery on shoulder

The doctor who examined Everson Griffen after the Pro Bowl decided that surgery was not necessary at this time.
Vikings have combine drills down to a science

Vikings have combine drills down to a science

Vikings GM Rick Spielman relies on analytics at the NFL combine, which is underway in Indianapolis.
Notebook: Spielman calls defensive linemen group at combine 'one of the strongest'

Notebook: Spielman calls defensive linemen group at combine 'one of the strongest'

Vikings GM Rick Spielman said the Vikings spent nearly 13 hours in one day evaluating this year's class of pas rushers.
Offensive linemen top Vikings' draft shopping list

Offensive linemen top Vikings' draft shopping list

For the first time in six years, the Vikings come to the scouting combine as reigning NFC North champs. Holes on the roster remain, though, starting with an underperforming offensive line.
For Vikings in the offseason, there's work to do

For Vikings in the offseason, there's work to do

The Super Bowl is over, so here are seven pressing questions for the Vikings as the offseason officially kicks off.
Loadholt's Achilles' tendon injury nearly healed

Loadholt's Achilles' tendon injury nearly healed

Vikings tackle says he'll be ready by spring, despite uncertain contract status.
Smith, Bridgewater, Barr added to Pro Bowl roster

Smith, Bridgewater, Barr added to Pro Bowl roster

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, outside linebacker Anthony Barr and safety Harrison Smith were added to the Pro Bowl roster as injury replacements on Monday.
Vikings add Shurmur to staff, although his role isn't clear

Vikings add Shurmur to staff, although his role isn't clear

It's unclear what the former Browns head coach will do for Mike Zimmer.
Zimmer starts offensive overhaul by firing line coach

Zimmer starts offensive overhaul by firing line coach

The head coach expects better results on that side of the ball after the Vikings finished 29th in total yards and 16th in scoring this past season.
The Call: Seattle at Vikings

The Call: Seattle at Vikings

One man's prediction for Sunday's wild-card playoff game.
Vikings defense set for 2nd chance at Seahawks

Vikings defense set for 2nd chance at Seahawks

Vikings unit is out to redeem itself, weeks after Seattle shredded a depleted corps.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer hopeful Linval Joseph can return

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer hopeful Linval Joseph can return

Linval Joseph returned to practice on Wednesday, and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is hopeful that his big nose tackle will be able to play in Sunday's wild-card round game.
Quick starts are crucial for Vikings QB Bridgewater

Quick starts are crucial for Vikings QB Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater completed only one of his first five passes in the season finale and never seemed to recover.
Vikings notes: Thielen injured; Joseph does not play

Vikings notes: Thielen injured; Joseph does not play

Adam Thielen left the Vikings' 20-13 victory over the Packers on Sunday when he aggravated a left shoulder injury, but not before making two big plays for his team.
Vikings' safety Smith seeks his place in NFL lore

Vikings' safety Smith seeks his place in NFL lore

Harrison Smith still does not get much recognition nationally, though that could soon change with the Vikings set to make their first playoff appearance since his rookie season.
The Call: Vikings at Green Bay

The Call: Vikings at Green Bay

One man's prediction for Sunday night's game.
Rookie cornerback Waynes had learning year with Vikings

Rookie cornerback Waynes had learning year with Vikings

Waynes did not see the field on defense in four of his first seven NFL games. But in his past seven games, he has averaged 20.3 defensive snaps per game.
Bridgewater's skills as Vikings QB continue to grow

Bridgewater's skills as Vikings QB continue to grow

Teddy Bridgewater's evolving game buoys the Vikings' hopes against the Packers
Vikings are in right frame of mind

Vikings are in right frame of mind

The team knows what it needs to do to win at Green Bay on Sunday.
The Call: N.Y. Giants at Vikings

The Call: N.Y. Giants at Vikings

The Vikings are playing their final regular-season game at TCF Bank Stadium against a Giants team with nothing to play for and without its star receiver.
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