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.


Farwell's journey: From Vikings practice squad to Super Bowl XLVIII

Posted by: Mark Craig under Super Bowl Updated: January 29, 2014 - 1:04 PM

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Let's just say that Heath Farwell didn't set the bar for his career quite as high as Super Bowl XLVIII.

"Going undrafted by the Vikings in 2005, just to make the practice squad as a rookie coming out of Mankato was a dream come true," said Farwell, the Seahawks' special teams leader. "I remember thinking, `What an unbelievable accomplishment that was."

Five weeks into his rookie season, Farwell was being considered for a promotion from the Vikings' practice squad.

"We had some injuries and some of the older guys, [linebackers] Sam Cowart and Keith Newman, were guys who kind of went into coach [Mike] Tice's office and said, `We should activate this kid. He can help us on special teams,'" Farwell said today during Seattle's media access period at The Westin hotel in Jersey City. "They did it on a one-week, trial basis. I survived the week and I've been active ever since. It's been an unbelievable ride."

It also reached the top of the football world when the Seahawks beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship game two Sundays ago. For Farwell, that win was particularly gratifying because of how the Vikings turned the ball over five times while blowing the NFC title game in overtime at New Orleans during the 2009 season.

"We came so close in '09 and came up so short," Farwell said. "Myself, [quarterback] Tarvaris Jackson, [receiver] Percy Harvin, [receiver] Sidney Rice, even though he's on injured reserve, and [offensive coordinator] Darrell Bevell were all on that team. So when we beat San Francisco, yeah, I think it was a little extra special for us considering how tough that loss in '09 was. I think we all wondered then if we'd ever get another opportunity and here we are. Living the dream."

Farwell said both the '09 Vikings and '13 Seahawks have some similarities, but a lot of differences.

"On that team in 2009, there was a lot of star power, a lot of future Hall of Famers," Farwell said. "This is a younger group here. There are Pro Bowlers here and I'm sure there are future Hall of Famers, too. But we don't have Brett Favre, Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson and some of those guys I played with in Minnesota. It's just a bunch of up and coming superstars who happen to play well together. Top to bottom, the roster is unbelieveable here. The 53rd guy is a heck of a player here."

Farwell isn't sure where he ranks among those 53 players, but he really doesn't care. He's a former Pro Bowl special teamer who is about to play in the Super Bowl.

"I never expected any of this," Farwell said. "I guess that's the beauty of it and why I enjoy it so much. I can't describe how unbelievable this feels."

Farwell also thinks at least one former Viking will have a significant say in what happens against the Broncos on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

"To get Percy on our team is going to pay off, just wait," he said. "He's going to have a heck of a game and make a big impact on the game. I know he's only played two games all year. But Percy with fresh legs in the Super Bowl is going to be scary. Very scary."

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