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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
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.
Skateboarding as kid taught balance to Vikings' Kendricks

Skateboarding as kid taught balance to Vikings' Kendricks

The rookie middle linebacker insists his youthful play helped his NFL game.
Adrian Peterson the lone Vikings player named to Pro Bowl

Adrian Peterson the lone Vikings player named to Pro Bowl

Running back Adrian Peterson marked his return to the Vikings after a long NFL suspension by being selected to his seventh career Pro Bowl.
Vikings defensive trio looks close to return

Vikings defensive trio looks close to return

Reinforcements could soon arrive: Linval Joseph, Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr appear close to returning
The Call: Chicago at Vikings

The Call: Chicago at Vikings

One man's prediction for Sunday.
Fumble-prone Peterson focuses on ball security

Fumble-prone Peterson focuses on ball security

After fumbling once in last week's 23-20 loss to the Cardinals, Peterson has seven fumbles, most among non-quarterbacks, losing three of them. Only two running backs have lost more.
All those youngsters starting for Vikings wasn't a planned thing

All those youngsters starting for Vikings wasn't a planned thing

Six rookies started the game against Arizona, the most in the 55-season history of the franchise and moves made out of necessity.
'Hurts so bad, man' — Vikings fumble chance for upset in Arizona

'Hurts so bad, man' — Vikings fumble chance for upset in Arizona

The battered Vikings gave the Cardinals a game in prime-time Thursday. But a late Teddy Bridgewater fumble in the final seconds sealed a loss in Arizona.
Vikings notes: Defensive backs play rotation game

Vikings notes: Defensive backs play rotation game

Injuries at safety forced the Vikings to rearrange their secondary Thursday night against the league-leading offense of the Arizona Cardinals.
Banged-up Vikings face stiff test against soaring Cardinals

Banged-up Vikings face stiff test against soaring Cardinals

Carson Palmer and the Cardinals look to win a shootout in the desert Thursday night. And the shorthanded Vikings, without three of their best defenders because of injuries, might be powerless to stop them.
The Call: Vikings at Arizona

The Call: Vikings at Arizona

One man's prediction for Thursday night's game at Arizona.
Four injured Vikings safeties miss practice, and three others on defense

Four injured Vikings safeties miss practice, and three others on defense

The Vikings practiced without four safeties, two linebackers and a nose tackle on Monday and it'll be at least a few weeks until safety Antone Exum Jr. is back on the field.
Vikings outplayed, embarrassed in loss to Seahawks

Vikings outplayed, embarrassed in loss to Seahawks

Sunday's dud was yet another reminder that the Vikings, even at 8-4 and in a first-place tie with the Packers, need to start beating the big boys in the league if they want to join their ranks.
Peterson's big November results in NFC player of the month award

Peterson's big November results in NFC player of the month award

In November, Adrian Peterson rushed for 634 yards, more than he had in the previous two months combined, to gallop out to a commanding lead in the race for the NFL's rushing title.
Reading, reacting, rewarding: Seahawks' offense causes new issues for Vikings

Reading, reacting, rewarding: Seahawks' offense causes new issues for Vikings

The Seahawks took to the read-option craze early, and they're still reaping the offense's benefits.
It's not pretty, but Vikings happy with being a run-oriented force

It's not pretty, but Vikings happy with being a run-oriented force

The Vikings are winning because of their commitment to the run through all four quarters, even if they aren't scoring many style points
Vikings notes: Safeties Exum, Blanton step up

Vikings notes: Safeties Exum, Blanton step up

The Vikings were already without one starting safety when they boarded the team charter to Atlanta on Saturday. They lost their other one in the second quarter.
The Call: Vikings at Falcons

The Call: Vikings at Falcons

One man's prediction for Sunday's game.
Berger shows his value as Vikings insurance policy

Berger shows his value as Vikings insurance policy

The veteran lineman has rated as one of the NFL's best filling in at center.
Vikings' safety Harrison Smith sits out practice

Vikings' safety Harrison Smith sits out practice

Four days before Sunday's road matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, Harrison Smith downplayed concerns about the severity of his injury.
Vikings hoping to quickly shake off tough loss

Vikings hoping to quickly shake off tough loss

Coach Mike Zimmer doesn't want the Vikings' glum mood to linger.
Reality wreck: Packers rise up, knock off Vikings 30-13 for share of first

Reality wreck: Packers rise up, knock off Vikings 30-13 for share of first

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers aren't quite ready to give up control of the NFC North. The young Vikings weren't poised enough to take it from them either.
The Call: Vikings vs. Packers

The Call: Vikings vs. Packers

One man's prediction for Sunday's game.
Vikings RB coach Kirby Wilson appreciated by his best player

Vikings RB coach Kirby Wilson appreciated by his best player

Adrian Peterson calls Kirby Wilson effective and like a brother to him.
First-place Vikings prepare for slumping Packers

First-place Vikings prepare for slumping Packers

The Vikings know the Packers are still the team to beat in the NFC North despite their current struggles. "The division goes through Green Bay," linebacker Chad Greenway said.
Vikings notes: Greenway gets full-time duty at MLB

Vikings notes: Greenway gets full-time duty at MLB

For the first time in his 10-year career, linebacker Chad Greenway was a full-time man in the middle Sunday.
The Call: Vikings at Raiders

The Call: Vikings at Raiders

One man's prediction for Sunday's game.
Wallace won't whine about role with Vikings

Wallace won't whine about role with Vikings

Ex-Pro Bowl receiver Mike Wallace isn't complaining about his lack of production because the Vikings are winning.
Zimmer confident Bridgewater will be ready to play against Raiders

Zimmer confident Bridgewater will be ready to play against Raiders

Asked Thursday if he had any doubts that Teddy Bridgewater would play, Mike Zimmer replied "no."
Bridgewater vs. Carr: A natural comparison from 2014 NFL draft

Bridgewater vs. Carr: A natural comparison from 2014 NFL draft

Quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr - who square off Sunday in Oakland - are linked by the 2014 draft.
Vikings expect Bridgewater to play vs. Raiders

Vikings expect Bridgewater to play vs. Raiders

Teddy Bridgewater, who suffered a concussion during Sunday's 21-18 win over the St. Louis Rams, passed the first test in the NFL's concussion protocol.
Vikings continue to build offensive line with late-round picks

Vikings continue to build offensive line with late-round picks

Only one member of the Vikings' offensive line was a coveted NFL draft pick. A couple are playing Sundays at new positions.
Rams vs. Vikings: The next (?) Adrian Peterson faces the original

Rams vs. Vikings: The next (?) Adrian Peterson faces the original

Rams rookie Todd Gurley draws apt comparisons to Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson.
Winning is only part of Zimmer's success formula for Vikings

Winning is only part of Zimmer's success formula for Vikings

Next in four-stage ladder is handling success by not letting up as schedule toughens.
Vikings notes: Walsh has another strong game

Vikings notes: Walsh has another strong game

A week after making five field goals in a comeback win against the Lions, Blair Walsh made three more Sunday, including the game-winner as time expired.
The Call: Vikings at Chicago

The Call: Vikings at Chicago

One man's prediction for Sunday's game at Soldier Field.
Bears competing while rebuilding under new coach

Bears competing while rebuilding under new coach

New Chicago coach says quarterback Jay Cutler is improving every week.
Vikings apply lessons learned to rally past Lions

Vikings apply lessons learned to rally past Lions

The Vikings reversed costly mistakes from past losses to the Lions and mounted a stirring comeback after falling behind 14-3.
Vikings notes: Diggs can't hold on to first TD souvenir

Vikings notes: Diggs can't hold on to first TD souvenir

The fifth-round draft pick out of Maryland led the Vikings with six catches for 108 receiving yards Sunday. It was his second consecutive game in triple digits.
Former UCLA standouts Barr, Kendricks tackle the NFL together with Vikings

Former UCLA standouts Barr, Kendricks tackle the NFL together with Vikings

Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr make the other better.
The call: Vikings at Detroit

The call: Vikings at Detroit

One man's prediction for Sunday's game in Detroit.
After down year, Robison back to being difference-maker for Vikings

After down year, Robison back to being difference-maker for Vikings

Mike Zimmer and defensive line coach Andre Patterson sat Brian Robison down after last season, showed him video and pointed out a flaw in his game.
Vikings rookie Diggs makes most of his opportunity

Vikings rookie Diggs makes most of his opportunity

The fifth-round pick from Maryland caught six passes for 87 yards in his debut two weeks ago at Denver. He was even more productive in Sunday's 16-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, leading all players with seven catches and 129 receiving yards in his first career start.
Defense holds on to give Vikings 16-10 victory

Defense holds on to give Vikings 16-10 victory

When the fourth quarter started Sunday, the Vikings had a 13-0 lead that felt like a 30-point difference. But things tightened up at the end.
The Call: Vikings vs. Kansas City

The Call: Vikings vs. Kansas City

The Vikings return from bye week against a struggling Chiefs team.
Vikings tight end Rudolph a half-time blocker

Vikings tight end Rudolph a half-time blocker

Kyle Rudolph has been used as a blocker on nearly half his snaps this season.
Zimmer optimistic Johnson, Wallace can play Sunday for Vikings

Zimmer optimistic Johnson, Wallace can play Sunday for Vikings

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is operating under the assumption that he will have the services of starting wide receivers Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson on Sunday, something that seemed far from a sure thing a few days ago.
Exum might be next up for Vikings at safety

Exum might be next up for Vikings at safety

Antone Exum is a converted cornerback who has been both publicly praised by General Manager Rick Spielman and ripped by coach Mike Zimmer in the past six months.
Vikings rookie linebacker Eric Kendricks moves into lead role

Vikings rookie linebacker Eric Kendricks moves into lead role

The surprising trade that sent linebacker Gerald Hodges to the 49ers last week cleared the way for Kendricks to become an every-down player by his fifth NFL game.
Young Vikings defenders set to confront a legend in Manning

Young Vikings defenders set to confront a legend in Manning

For young Vikings defenders, sharing the field with Peyton Manning will be a first
The Call: Vikings at Denver

The Call: Vikings at Denver

One man's prediction for Sunday's game.
Vikings' Kalil quiets his critics; big game up next

Vikings' Kalil quiets his critics; big game up next

Vikings tackle Matt Kalil has been solid through three games. The toughest test yet comes Sunday in Denver against the Broncos.
Vikings notes: Rhodes should be good to go

Vikings notes: Rhodes should be good to go

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes practiced Wednesday after suffering a concussion in the Vikings' victory over the Chargers on Sunday and is poised to play this weekend against the Broncos.
Vikings get physical, much to their coach's delight

Vikings get physical, much to their coach's delight

Their hard-hitting ways set the tone in dominant victories over San Diego and Detroit.
Defense, Peterson lead Vikings to big victory

Defense, Peterson lead Vikings to big victory

The Vikings defense rattled Philip Rivers and the Chargers with heat and hits in a pressure-filled afternoon. Adrian Peterson rushed for two TDs in the 31-14 victory.
The Call: Chargers at Vikings

The Call: Chargers at Vikings

One man's prediction for Sunday's game.
Vikings notes: Sirles could step in for Fusco

Vikings notes: Sirles could step in for Fusco

If left guard Brandon Fusco is not cleared to play because of concussion symptoms the Vikings could turn to Jeremiah Sirles, who was acquired three weeks ago in a trade with the Chargers.
Sullivan's post-surgery outlook better; center might return this season

Sullivan's post-surgery outlook better; center might return this season

It is still too early for center John Sullivan to say exactly when he will be back on the field, but he did say he is "progressing pretty fast."
Harris makes switch to earn starting spot at guard for Vikings

Harris makes switch to earn starting spot at guard for Vikings

Offensive line coach Jeff Davidson told Mike Harris the Vikings thought enough of him to pencil him in as a starter, albeit at guard, a position he hadn't started at since Pop Warner football.
Peterson makes an impact without even making impact

Peterson makes an impact without even making impact

An early second-quarter play against the Lions on Sunday showed the impact Adrian Peterson has on a defense even when he doesn't touch the ball.
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