Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Christian Ponder, Jared Allen both probable for Sunday's game

Posted by: under Injury report, Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Antoine Winfield, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier Updated: October 5, 2012 - 2:03 PM

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder and defensive end Jared Allen are both probable to play Sunday at Mall of America Field against Tennessee.

Ponder is still dealing with some lingering soreness in his right knee and was limited in practice throughout the week. The knee seemed to be giving Ponder the most trouble at Wednesday's practice. But the coaching staff feels he turned a corner on Thursday and Friday.

"We're comfortable," Leslie Frazier said this afternoon. "He moved around well yesterday. He moved around well today. There were no ill effects at all. So that's good."

Allen has a groin injury he suffered during the fourth quarter in Detroit. Allen sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned on Friday. He should have the green light for Sunday, though Frazier admitted that Everson Griffen might see the field more in Allen's place as a precaution.

"We'll have to see how Jared does," Frazier said. "We're expecting him to play and play well on Sunday. But we'll have to monitor how he's doing and where he is over the course of the game and be smart about how we use him in this ballgame, knowing that he's missed a couple days of practice."

Linebacker Erin Henderson is also expected to return to action after missing the past two games with a concussion. Henderson will start but Jasper Brinkley will remain the team's middle linebacker in nickel packages.

The Vikings will keep an eye on Henderson as he gets back into the mix.

"That first contact will help him," Frazier said. "Once he collides with someone and doesn't have any ringing or anything that causes problems for him, I think that will help his confidence. Until that happens, it's in the back of your mind: 'What's that first contact going to be like?' We'll have to get through those first few plays for him so that he can gain his confidence and know that everything is fine."

Other Vikings on this week's injury report: 

  • Out: Mistral Raymond (ankle), Andrew Sendejo (ankle)
  • Doubtful: Marvin Mitchell (calf)
  • Questionable: Erin Henderson (concussion), Michael Jenkins (ribs)
  • Probable: Antoine Winfield (knee), Charlie Johnson (low back), Marcus Sherels (quadriceps)

Avoiding the trap

The Vikings are 6.5-point favorites for Sunday. Which means they're a crisp performance away from improving to 4-1. And their opponent in Week 5, the Titans, have been outscored 76-24 in their two road games. Seems like the proverbial trap game for the Vikings doesn't it?

Frazier is guarding against that.

"You keep harping on it to our players about preparation and how important it is to stay focused on the task at hand -- the Tennessee Titans and coming away with a win at home. You keep hitting that message over and over again. And hopefully that resonates. I think it will with our players. They're hungry. They want to have success."

Now that's what I call stretching

The Vikings opened the stretching portion of their Friday practice with a rambunctious soundtrack: "Gangnam Style" and "Party Rock Anthem."

Frazier made it known that wasn't his playlist.

"Not in my iPod," he said.

Frazier added later, "There were a group of guys [who picked that]," Frazier said. "I don't know if you'll get a repeat. There were a lot of guys voicing their displeasure. So I don't know if that will be repeated."

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