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.


Vikings lead at the half, but Smith tossed for pushing an official

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Antoine Winfield, Percy Harvin Updated: October 7, 2012 - 4:56 PM

The Vikings are winning the game (13-0), but have lost a starting safety.

Rookie Harrison Smith, who already was establishing himself as an NFL enforcer with a nasty side, was disqualified from today's game against the visiting Titants for pushing an official following an interception by Antoine Winfield with 11 minutes, 24 seconds left in the second quarter. As the Vikings were turning the turnover into a 42-yard Blair Walsh field goal for a 10-0 lead, Smith was walking to the locker room, his fifth NFL game prematurely over.

With Mistral Raymond (ankle) and Andrew Sendejo (ankle) inactive, the Vikings plugged in rookie Robert Blanton, a teammate of Smith's at Notre Dame, in at safety. Blanton and starting strong safety Jamarca Sanford are the only safeties active and eligible at this point. The team's emergency safety is Winfield.

Replays of Smith's actions were shown only once in the press box. The official is seen grabbing Smith and walking him back a few steps. Smith then pushes the official aside.

The Vikings took a 7-0 lead on Percy Harvin's first touchdown of the season. He scored on first-and-goal from the 4 with 2:31 left in the first quarter. Not many 185-pouders can run between the tackles, making one player (linebacker Colin McCarthy) miss at the 4 and then running over two more players at the 2 (cornerback Ryan Mouton) and goal line (cornerback Alterraun Verner).

The run capped a nine-play, 91-yard drive in which quarterback Christian Ponder ran for 15 yards, lofted a perfect pass over the DB's head to Harvin for 45 yards and hit Michael Jenkins for a 12-yard gain on third-and-10 from the Tennessee 16.

Winfield's interception gave the Vikings the ball at the Tennessee 43. With the help of an unnecessary roughness penalty on Sen'Derrick Marks, the Vikings moved into position for Walsh's field goal for a 10-0 lead with 10:27 left in the half.

The Vikings added a 36-yard field goal with 1:52 left in the half.

Ponder's streak of passes without an interception ended at 144 with 15 seconds left when safety Robert Johnson caught a tipped ball inside the Tennessee 5-yard line. It was Ponder's first pick of the year. It also kept the Vikings from attempting what would have been a 42-yard field goal had they not gained another yard.

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 69 4th Qtr 10:01
Phoenix 75
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How should Timberwolves fans greet Kevin Love on Saturday?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT