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 4 Downs: Bridgewater, playoffs, Sanford, more Bridgewater

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: July 7, 2014 - 12:26 PM

Every Monday morning during the offseason we’ll take four questions from Twitter for our weekly mailbag using the #VikingsST hashtag.

Word is bond. Bridgewater has looked very impressive up to this point and there’s a noticeable difference when he throws the ball compared to Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder. The touch has always been there but his passes don’t flutter out of his hands. It’s a smooth, quick release that even the untrained eye will tell in training camp that Bridgewater throws a better ball than Ponder and Cassel.

As offensive coordinator Norv Turner mentioned during minicamp last month, Bridgewater’s deep ball has been surprisingly good. The biggest issue has actually been overthrowing, not underthrowing, at this point. This will be the biggest position battle in training camp and the winner will have nice set of weapons around him in what should be an exciting offense to watch this year.

At the moment, I’m thinking 6-10 or 7-9, but leaning on the latter for the time being. While the NFL is strangest league where there’s always a team from the bottom that makes the playoffs the following season, but I’d be shocked if the Vikings accomplished that in Zimmer’s first year.

7-9 would be a strong start to Zimmer’s tenure however. My biggest concern is how the Vikings will progress defensively. An improvement is inevitable when it was ranked 31st in total defense last year, but how much can Zimmer fix in one season?

Oof, this is tough. One factor to consider is that Harrison played a lot more near the line of scrimmage during OTAs and minicamp. With that said, it’ll be either Jamarca Sanford or Andrew Sendejo. Both haven’t been full participants this offseason, which gave Robert Blanton and Curt Coleman first team opportunities next to Harrison.

I’d give Sanford a leg up over Sendejo because of the experience at the moment, but it’s not by much. Sendejo played well last season and both will benefit playing in this aggressive defense.

He looks the same. Skinny knees and all. #HowsTeddyLook

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LA Angels - LP: C. Rasmus 6 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: R. Webb 7
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: T. Bauer 2
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 11 FINAL
Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez 4
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 3
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 0
Milwaukee - LP: W. Smith 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: A. Cobb 5
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 4 FINAL
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 0 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: M. Leake 3
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 3 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Baker 4
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 12 FINAL
Texas - LP: N. Martinez 11
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 2 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
Oakland - WP: E. Scribner 7 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 4
Atlanta - LP: A. Varvaro 4 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: B. League 8
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 3
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 1
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Connecticut 80 FINAL
Atlanta 89
Washington 76 FINAL
New York 80
Chicago 74 FINAL
San Antonio 92
Seattle 74 FINAL
Tulsa 80
Los Angeles 69 FINAL
Phoenix 90

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