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 coaching staff invades Gophers pro day

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Vikings Updated: March 3, 2014 - 3:07 PM

Nineteen NFL scouts were on hand at Gophers pro day on Monday. That doesn’t include the Vikings, who brought an army to watch prospects like Gophers defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, Gophers defensive back Brock Vereen and Concordia defensive end Zach Moore. (Gophers beat writer Joe Christensen has more on how the prospects did at pro day on the Gophers blog.)

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, head coach Mike Zimmer, offensive coordinator Norv Turner and defensive coordinator George Edwards were just some of the Vikings on hand along with a number of position coaches and scouts. They arrived right before players began position drills and helped with that portion of the event. They also received a tour of TCF Bank Stadium after Pro Day, where the Vikings will play for the next two seasons.

“I was kidding these coaches all that I know they can do right now is watch tape,” Spielman said. “I haven’t seen them coach yet, so they were all excited that they got an opportunity to get up here and get on the field a little bit.

“That tells you what coach Zimmer is about. We have to go through our process, but I can’t wait until we’re about to get out on the field because I know him and just to see our coaches out there working with the kids and working on technique and things like that. That’s what they’re here for.”

Hageman, Vereen and Moore only participated in the position drills since they participated in the rest of the activities at the NFL Combine last week, but Spielman said the team treats this Pro Day like a local workout. The Vikings have previously invited players that partcipated at Gophers Pro Day to rookie mini-camp and even training camp, including wide receiver Adam Thielen, who was in attendance on Monday.

“You never know what you’ll find, but there’s a lot of hidden talent up in these areas that you never know what you’re going to come across,” Spielman said.

Other notes from today:

*Spielman again said he doesn’t expect the Vikings to use their franchise tag. The deadline to apply the tag is at 3 p.m. CT.

Three players have been tagged so far: Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy and Jets kicker Nick Folk. Redskins reportedly will tag linebacker Brian Orakpo if they can’t reach a deal before the deadline.

*Spielman said the Vikings will make at least nine Pro Day trips in March. Here’s a few notable Pro Days to watch for this month:

March 5: Texas A&M, Wisconsin

March 6: Clemson, Missouri, Nebraska

March 7: Northern Illinois, Ohio State

March 11: Michigan State

March 12: Alabama, Oklahoma, USC,, Michigan

March 13: Oklahoma State, Oregon

March 15: Florida

March 18: Florida State

March 19: Baylor, Lidenwood, Virginia Tech

March 20: Notre Dame, Stanford

March 25: North Carolina

March 26: Texas

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