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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
Nowhere to go but up, and Vikings' O-line appears to be doing just that

Nowhere to go but up, and Vikings' O-line appears to be doing just that

On Thursday, after the Vikings wrapped up their offseason workout program, coach Mike Zimmer gushed about the offenseive linemen.
Vikings' Berger puts retirement on hold

Vikings' Berger puts retirement on hold

Joe Berger, the oldest and longest-tenured Vikings offensive lineman, was given no deadline to tell the team whether he planned to continue his career. He ultimately decided to return.
Robison's backup plan with Vikings: Contribute

Robison's backup plan with Vikings: Contribute

Brian Robison might not be a starter in 2017, but he still intends to make an impact. "The bottom line is that I'm here to win football games," he said.
'You live and learn': Alexander sees error of his ways as Vikings rookie

'You live and learn': Alexander sees error of his ways as Vikings rookie

Mackensie Alexander admitted that at times during his rookie year, he tuned out words of wisdom and instructions from Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.
Zimmer: 'One eye or two, it really doesn't matter. I'm going to be back'

Zimmer: 'One eye or two, it really doesn't matter. I'm going to be back'

Mike Zimmer is determined to coach -- whether he loses sight in his eye or not.
Vikings miss stubborn Zimmer, encouraged by determined Bridgewater

Vikings miss stubborn Zimmer, encouraged by determined Bridgewater

General Manager Rick Spielman could only laugh when asked whether it was Zimmer's decision or the team's for the coach to take time away.
Vikings' Floyd back in his comfort zone — on and off the field

Vikings' Floyd back in his comfort zone — on and off the field

Back home in Minnesota and legally cleared to practice with the Vikings, wide receiver Michael Floyd spent the past two days of organized team activities playing catch-up.
Vikings surprise: Bridgewater throws passes during team workout

Vikings surprise: Bridgewater throws passes during team workout

It is believed Tuesday was the first time Teddy Bridgewater was on the field with Vikings teammates since suffering a major knee injury last August.
After eighth eye surgery, Zimmer leaving Vikings for a few weeks to recover

After eighth eye surgery, Zimmer leaving Vikings for a few weeks to recover

Mike Zimmer reluctantly agreed to put his health above his football team as the Vikings this week begin the third and final stage of their voluntary offseason program with the start of organized team activities.
'Time to go to work': Floyd hopes to reboot troubled career with Vikings

'Time to go to work': Floyd hopes to reboot troubled career with Vikings

In Arizona, former Cretin-Derham Hall standout Michael Floyd pleaded guilty to extreme drunken driving on Feb. 17. He had a blood alcohol level of .217, almost three times the legal limit, and is serving a sentence that runs into June.
Vikings draft choice forges ahead with heavy heart

Vikings draft choice forges ahead with heavy heart

On a Sunday morning a few years back, Rodney Adams walked out of his dormitory room to find his position coach sitting there waiting for him with tragic news.
Small college star pursuing his Vikings dream with a heavy heart

Small college star pursuing his Vikings dream with a heavy heart

Among the little-known players on the Winter Park practice fields for the Vikings' rookie camp will be a former Division III standout who arrived with the twin hopes of making the team and honoring his deceased parents.
Draft hurt some, helped some

Draft hurt some, helped some

We already have written about how the 11 players the Vikings drafted will fit into the mix and the important lineup questions that must be…
Vikings exercise option on Barr, but not Bridgewater

Vikings exercise option on Barr, but not Bridgewater

If Teddy Bridgewater doesn't play in 2017, he would be under team control for another season. If he does, the Vikings could still lock him in for 2018 despite the decision.
With NFL draft complete, Vikings face pressing roster questions

With NFL draft complete, Vikings face pressing roster questions

Here are five of the most-pressing roster questions coach Mike Zimmer and his staff must answer in the next four months during spring workouts, training camp and the preseason.
Getting offensive: Vikings attack draft strategically

Getting offensive: Vikings attack draft strategically

The Vikings used five of their first seven draft picks on offensive players, including the top two. It's the first time the Vikings have done the latter since hiring defensive-minded Mike Zimmer in 2014.
Vikings on the clock: Many picks left to meet team needs

Vikings on the clock: Many picks left to meet team needs

In the ultimate Vikings draft preview, we've done a mock draft that is built to fill every one of the Vikings' biggest needs.
Vikings aren't expected to exercise Teddy Bridgewater's 2018 team option, report says

Vikings aren't expected to exercise Teddy Bridgewater's 2018 team option, report says

ESPN report cites team's potential issue with $12.2 million injury guarantee.
Case can be made for Vikings drafting a quarterback in later round

Case can be made for Vikings drafting a quarterback in later round

With Teddy Bridgewater's future uncertain and Sam Bradford signed only through 2017, it's possible the Vikings could attempt to uncover a hidden gem in this week's NFL draft.
Vikings QB Bradford isn't stressing over uncertain contract situation

Vikings QB Bradford isn't stressing over uncertain contract situation

Sam Bradford said Tuesday that "I don't believe" the Vikings had reached out to his agent to start talks about a contract extension. He is not signed beyond this season.
How will the Vikings use their eight draft picks?

How will the Vikings use their eight draft picks?

Slightly-educated-but-mostly-wild guesses on how the draft might go for the Vikings this weekend.
Prospects for Vikings defensive line depend on Floyd's future

Prospects for Vikings defensive line depend on Floyd's future

Leading up to the NFL draft starting Thursday, we'll take an exclusive look at the Vikings' needs at each position and how they'll address them. Today at look at the defensive line. Check for a new story each day.
Vikings' long line of struggles drafting linemen hits critical point

Vikings' long line of struggles drafting linemen hits critical point

Pro schemes, less learning time hindering prospects.
Vikings draft preview: It's not just Treadwell; depth needed at WR, TE

Vikings draft preview: It's not just Treadwell; depth needed at WR, TE

Leading up to the 2017 NFL draft starting Thursday, we'll take an exclusive look at the Vikings' needs at each position and how they'll address them. Depth at receiver could be bolstered from within.
Vikings' playoff aspirations begin (Saints) and end (Bears) at home

Vikings' playoff aspirations begin (Saints) and end (Bears) at home

The Vikings' 2017 schedule features top quarterbacks (Brees, Big Ben, Cam and Rodgers and Stafford twice), rough road games (hello, Atlanta) and a trip to London to face the Browns.
Murray moves in; Vikings and Peterson will move on

Murray moves in; Vikings and Peterson will move on

The Adrian Peterson era in Minnesota came to a quiet close in the early morning hours Thursday. GM Rick Spielman texted the former MVP informing him the Vikings had signed Latavius Murray.
Vikings sign former Oakland running back Latavius Murray

Vikings sign former Oakland running back Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray, 27, agreed to a contract with the Vikings early Thursday morning. He joins a backfield that includes Jerick McKinnon, Bishop Sankey and C.J. Ham but probably not Adrian Peterson.
Torii Hunter's son follows dad's football dream

Torii Hunter's son follows dad's football dream

Before he was an All Star, Torii Hunter's first love was football, and Money Hunter hopes to make it in the NFL out of Arkansas State.
Ex-Lion Reiff fills Vikings' tackle need; Kalil, Locke, Ellison headed out

Ex-Lion Reiff fills Vikings' tackle need; Kalil, Locke, Ellison headed out

Reiff figures to solidify one of their two tackle spots, which was the Vikings' most glaring need and its top priority heading into free agency. The team lost three players and fell short in a bid for a high-profile receiver.
Free agency might be unkind to Peterson

Free agency might be unkind to Peterson

The free-agency negotiating period opens without a clear landing spot for the running back.
Offensive line 'where the weakness is' in NFL draft

Offensive line 'where the weakness is' in NFL draft

Unfortunately for the Vikings, they are not the only team looking to find better blockers. A recent report listed offensive line as a top-three need for about half of the league's teams.
Vikings have ample options to replace Peterson through draft

Vikings have ample options to replace Peterson through draft

At the NFL scouting combine this past week, top Philadelphia Eagles executive Howie Roseman called this stacked running back class "historic."
Leidner gets a little more time to prove himself at NFL combine

Leidner gets a little more time to prove himself at NFL combine

As one of the last passers picked to attend the scouting combine Mitch Leidner was asked by event organizers to be a "throwing quarterback," which means he is doing double duty.
Potential Vikings' draft prospect among those shunned from NFL combine under new policy

Potential Vikings' draft prospect among those shunned from NFL combine under new policy

Combine shuns top prospects with off-field issues, irking some teams.
Three-cone drill, unlike some tests at the combine, actually matters

Three-cone drill, unlike some tests at the combine, actually matters

The scouting combine's three-cone drill can make or break an NFL prospect. Eventual Vikings picks Harrison Smith, Matt Kalil, Anthony Barr and Jerick McKinnon all excelled at the drill.
Peterson's return to Vikings unlikely, team declines $18 million option

Peterson's return to Vikings unlikely, team declines $18 million option

The Vikings are expected to talk with Adrian Peterson's agent at the NFL combine while they also evaluate possible replacements. It's likely he's played his final down with the team.
Spielman has plan to avoid repeating 2016: 'I hate failure with a passion'

Spielman has plan to avoid repeating 2016: 'I hate failure with a passion'

The Vikings have a blueprint for the offseason, and GM Rick Spielman even brought it along - but didn't reveal it - to a meeting with reporters.
Belle Plaine's Dungey reflects on extraordinary dirtbike career

Belle Plaine's Dungey reflects on extraordinary dirtbike career

Ryan Dungey turned an unspectacular amateur career in Minnesota into one of the most prolific professional runs in the history of dirtbike riding.
Vikings hire Darrell Hazell as wide receivers coach

Vikings hire Darrell Hazell as wide receivers coach

The Vikings had been interviewing candidates since George Stewart agreed late last month to become the special teams coordinator for the Chargers.
Vikings playing in Super Bowl in own backyard? It's not out of the question

Vikings playing in Super Bowl in own backyard? It's not out of the question

The Vikings have a lot of work to do. But making next year's Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium a home game is within the realm of possibilities.
Peterson names teams he'd like to join if he doesn't stay with Vikings

Peterson names teams he'd like to join if he doesn't stay with Vikings

But Adrian Peterson wants to stay with the Vikings … and get his $18 million. "I've earned my way up to that, by the way," he said in an interview.
In or out: A position-by-position look at Vikings roster

In or out: A position-by-position look at Vikings roster

The Vikings head into an especially uncertain offseason. The core of the squad that had Super Bowl hopes in September will remain intact, but the Vikings could say goodbye to a couple of franchise cornerstones.
Vikings' Zimmer not betting against Bridgewater, but endorses Bradford

Vikings' Zimmer not betting against Bridgewater, but endorses Bradford

Coach affirmed QB's status going forward in a Vikings offense full of questions.
Laquon Treadwell on his rookie year: 'The whole season was disappointing'

Laquon Treadwell on his rookie year: 'The whole season was disappointing'

Top pick Laquon Treadwell, the wide receiver who caught only one pass in his disappointing rookie season, vowed Monday as he emptied out his locker stall at Winter Park that he will "come back ready next year."
Vikings put some shine on season finale with blowout over Bears

Vikings put some shine on season finale with blowout over Bears

Flashes of the Vikings' 5-0 start came together Sunday as Minnesota forced five Chicago turnovers and ended the year on a high note.
The Call: Previewing Sunday's Vikings-Bears game

The Call: Previewing Sunday's Vikings-Bears game

The Vikings might finish the season 8-8 ... or they might not.
Five burning questions for the Vikings this offseason

Five burning questions for the Vikings this offseason

Some issues the Vikings will have to ponder after the 2016 season ends Sunday.
Verdict still out on Vikings' Sam Bradford gamble

Verdict still out on Vikings' Sam Bradford gamble

The Vikings gave up a lot for quarterback Sam Bradford. In the end, was it worth it?
Stay or leave: 12 Vikings on the bubble

Stay or leave: 12 Vikings on the bubble

With a bunch of free agents and a few overpriced veterans on the books, there will be a lot of locker stalls vacated at Winter…
Bradford 'all for' Shurmur's return as Vikings offensive coordinator

Bradford 'all for' Shurmur's return as Vikings offensive coordinator

Sam Bradford's four highest passing yardage totals this season have come since Pat Shurmur took over as offensive coordinator in November.
Vikings say miscommunication led to assignment rift

Vikings say miscommunication led to assignment rift

Coach said deviation from plan lasted only one series.
From 5-0 to no postseason, Vikings fall hard to Packers

From 5-0 to no postseason, Vikings fall hard to Packers

The 38-25 loss at Lambeau Field dropped the Vikings below .500 for the first time this season and eliminated them from playoff contention.
Vikings back to having much ground to make up on rival Green Bay

Vikings back to having much ground to make up on rival Green Bay

Last year in Green Bay, the Vikings were in celebration mode. Now they go to Lambeau needing a win just to stay alive.
The Call: Packers in position to make power play on Vikings

The Call: Packers in position to make power play on Vikings

The last time the Vikings went to Lambeau Field, they held off a Packers rally to win the NFC North. On this trip, they are fighting just to have something to play for in Week 17.
Griffen, Smith, Rhodes and Patterson selected to Pro Bowl

Griffen, Smith, Rhodes and Patterson selected to Pro Bowl

Everson Griffen and Harrison Smith both earned their second straight Pro Bowl selections, which are based on voting from coaches, players and fans.
Zimmer, searching for a fix, says he needs to get Vikings 'on point'

Zimmer, searching for a fix, says he needs to get Vikings 'on point'

Mike Zimmer is staring down one of the toughest challenges of his tenure — picking up the pieces of Sunday's embarrassing loss to the Colts
Adrian Peterson returns, but Colts still have Luck [The Call]

Adrian Peterson returns, but Colts still have Luck [The Call]

After an ugly win over the Jaguars last weekend, the Vikings must keep it going Sunday against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
Vikings' Rudolph adheres to strict regimen to get from game to game

Vikings' Rudolph adheres to strict regimen to get from game to game

Durable Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph swears by his weekly routine to recover and get ready for the next game. We take a detailed look.
Peterson practices again; 'extremely hungry' to play

Peterson practices again; 'extremely hungry' to play

Adrian Peterson was feeling good Thursday after his first two practices since his September knee surgery "went pretty smoothly."
Adrian Peterson returns to a vastly different Vikings offense

Adrian Peterson returns to a vastly different Vikings offense

When the air horn sounded Wednesday afternoon, signaling the start of the first Vikings practice of the week, Peterson reclaimed his old spot at the front of the team stretch
Vikings head to London in 2017 to face Browns

Vikings head to London in 2017 to face Browns

The 2017 matchup will be a Cleveland home game.
Fusco is latest Vikings offensive lineman to suffer concussion

Fusco is latest Vikings offensive lineman to suffer concussion

Right guard Brandon Fusco on Sunday suffered his second concussion of the season.
The Call: Vikings need a win, and Jacksonville looks beatable

The Call: Vikings need a win, and Jacksonville looks beatable

A look inside the Vikings' matchup with the Jaguars.
Vikings' Kendricks finds it in himself to forgive once-absent father

Vikings' Kendricks finds it in himself to forgive once-absent father

Marvin Hendricks found God and sobriety, and son Eric found the ability to forgive him for many mistakes.
Peterson plans to play this season -- only if Vikings have shot at playoffs

Peterson plans to play this season -- only if Vikings have shot at playoffs

Adrian Peterson, out since a Week 2 knee injury, wants to return later this month with the hope of leading the Vikings into the postseason. But he won't play 'for obvious reasons' if the team has been eliminated.
Diggs approaching statistical milestones with Vikings

Diggs approaching statistical milestones with Vikings

Stefon Diggs, with 806 receiving yards and four games left, is on pace for 1,128. And with 75 catches in 10 games, he is within striking distance of 100.
In Peterson's possible return to Vikings, is it 'Yo, Adrian,' or 'No, Adrian'?

In Peterson's possible return to Vikings, is it 'Yo, Adrian,' or 'No, Adrian'?

With the Vikings' once-promising season on the brink and another staredown over his contract looming in the offseason, does it make sense for Adrian Peterson to return to action?
Three takeaways from Thursday's Vikings-Cowboys game

Three takeaways from Thursday's Vikings-Cowboys game

The Vikings defensive front rose to the occasion against the NFL's best offensive line.
Vikings fall 2 points short against Dallas when final-minute rally fails

Vikings fall 2 points short against Dallas when final-minute rally fails

The Vikings missed their head coach, and much in the way of offensive production until a touchdown on the final drive. But the conversion try to tie the game fell incomplete.
Zimmer's season outlook uncertain as he deals with dangerous eye injury

Zimmer's season outlook uncertain as he deals with dangerous eye injury

General manager Rick Spielman would not say whether there is potential for head coach Mike Zimmer to miss multiple games. The team will reassess the situation Friday.
Vikings take the field vs. Dallas without Mike Zimmer as coach

Vikings take the field vs. Dallas without Mike Zimmer as coach

Even with a crucial game against Dallas, "the most important thing is the concern for Coach Zimmer and his health," General Manager Rick Spielman said. Special teams coach Mike Priefer is filling in.
Vikings' Zimmer has emergency eye surgery

Vikings' Zimmer has emergency eye surgery

The head coach's status for Thursday's game at home vs. Dallas is uncertain. In a statement, GM Rick Spielman said the team has a contingency plan in place.
Cowboys' Prescott, Elliott pack a punch Vikings must face head-on

Cowboys' Prescott, Elliott pack a punch Vikings must face head-on

Dallas rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have reinvigorated a franchise back to the status as the NFC's best team. The Cowboys can make it 11 wins in a row with a win over the Vikings.
Treadwell's time has come as Zimmer cites improvement

Treadwell's time has come as Zimmer cites improvement

Laquon Treadwell made his first career start, in place of the injured Stefon Diggs, in Thursday's loss to the Detroit Lions and played a career-high 34 snaps on offense.
Several key Vikings players miss Sunday practice

Several key Vikings players miss Sunday practice

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs, safety Harrison Smith, cornerbacks Captain Munnerlyn and Marcus Sherels, middle linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd stretched with the team inside the practice facility, then ducked out toward the locker room when drills began. Center Joe Berger, who has a concussion, was not spotted at all.
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