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: Rookies starting, Kluwe, 3-4 defense, alternate uniforms

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Rookies, Vikings Updated: July 21, 2014 - 3:54 PM

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

I’ve thought since the time Bridgewater played his last game at Louisville, he’d be a guy that could start Week 1. Seeing him person hasn’t changed that opinion. Will the Vikings do so is an entirely different conversation.

It’s very reasonable to expect Bridgewater to start at some point this season. He’s been nothing short of impressive since rookie minicamp. Bridgewater was well prepared at Louisville to become an NFL caliber quarterback with the ability to read defenses, go through progressions and look off safeties. It’s one thing to see this during minicamp and another when Bridgewater actually performs in pads. Whenever he does start, there will be an adjustment period. But he’s very mature for a 21-year-old and already on par with the other options at quarterback in terms of ability. If he starts early on this season, naturally the comparisons will be drawn to when Christian Ponder started 10 games his rookie season. I don’t think that’s necessarily fair to Bridgewater, who shouldn't be held back because of the way Ponder's career has played out.

Barr is more difficult to predict. There’s still some growth he has to make at understanding the position before the Vikings feel comfortable to start him. Barr only spent two seasons at linebacker at UCLA, but he did noticeably improve in that span. If he’s also a quick learner on this level then mid-season could be possible. But unless there’s a significant injury, I’d ease him in and allow him to develop. May seem contradicting, but unlike Bridgewater, Barr is still a raw talent and not as polished. He’ll be used in pass rushing situations because of his size and athleticism but even as bleak as the situation looks at linebacker at the moment, it’s best not to rush him into a starting role.

Outside of special teams coordinator Mike Priefer’s three game suspension, that can be reduced to two games at the team’s discretion, it won’t. And it shouldn’t.

The distraction will linger over the team at least through the start of training camp and possibly into the season depending on how this plays out in court. That’s something both sides said they hoped to avoid but failed to accomplish. There will be some players that could get asked about the investigation in training camp but that’s not an excuse for a bad performance in practice, preseason or regular season. Yes, the situation is getting nastier by the week but the players should focus on football. And they will.

Down the road, it could be a possibility but this is a 4-3 base defense at the moment. It’s what Zimmer has done for most of his career as a defensive coordinator, except for two seasons with the Cowboys under Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells. Zimmer said Parcells waited two years to get the proper personnel before switching over to the 3-4 defense, in which they drafted defense end Demarcus Ware and defensive tackle Marcus Spears.

A selection like Barr, who played in a 3-4 defense at UCLA, makes the transition down the road a possibility. Zimmer seems intrigued with the idea of having a defense that can play multiple fronts so don’t be surprised if there are pockets of a 3-4 front incorporated this year to throw teams off. Buut the Vikings have been a 4-3 base defense up to this point.

It’s a good thing the Vikings opted not to make them.

Uni Watch revealed sketches of prototype Vikings jerseys designed by Reebok in 2003. It included two sketches of a black alternate jersey and they're pretty bad.

Look, I like fashion. I’m probably into uniform designs more than I should be. I like crazy looks for some teams (like my alma mater, Arizona State) but others should stick to what they’re known for. The Vikings are one of those teams. Purple home jerseys and white road jerseys – nothing more, nothing less. It's iconic and looks good.

The Vikings didn't produce the black jerseys and did a great job updating their jerseys and logos with Nike last year, so they're 2-for-2 in my book.

Look good, play good. Eat good, die good.

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Golden State 6:00 PM
Orlando
Brooklyn 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Portland 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Washington 6:00 PM
Cleveland
LA Clippers 6:30 PM
Detroit
New York 6:30 PM
Dallas
Toronto 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Milwaukee 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Sacramento 7:00 PM
Houston
Utah 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Indiana 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Denver 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Memphis 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Detroit
NY Rangers 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 6:30 PM
Florida
Toronto 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Chicago 8:00 PM
Colorado
Calgary 9:30 PM
San Jose
Robert Morris 11:00 AM
Chattanooga
Rochester College 11:00 AM
Eastern Mich
Marist 11:00 AM
Fresno State
Butler 11:00 AM
North Carolina
Liberty 12:30 PM
Morgan State
Denver 1:00 PM
Belmont
American Univ 1:00 PM
Hampton
Sacred Heart 1:00 PM
James Madison
Northeastern 1:00 PM
Massachusetts
Samford 1:00 PM
Kennesaw St
ULM 1:30 PM
Coastal Carolina
Hawaii 1:30 PM
East Carolina
UCLA 1:30 PM
Oklahoma
Missouri 1:30 PM
Chaminade
North Florida 3:00 PM
Elon
Oral Roberts 3:00 PM
Milwaukee
Chicago State 3:30 PM
Western Carolina
Purdue 4:00 PM
BYU
Furman 4:00 PM
Duke
San Francisco 5:00 PM
Evansville
Wisconsin 6:00 PM
UAB
Davidson 6:00 PM
UCF
Albany 6:00 PM
Colgate
Canisius 6:00 PM
Cornell
Longwood 6:00 PM
George Washington
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Iona
Trinity Baptist 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Louisville
St Johns 6:00 PM
Minnesota
PSU-Harrisburg 6:00 PM
Navy
Richmond 6:00 PM
NC State
Grambling St 6:00 PM
Notre Dame
Georgia State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Campbell 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Goucher 6:00 PM
Towson
Bryant 6:00 PM
Vermont
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Mount St Marys 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Yale
UMKC 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Kansas State 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Va Military 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Lehigh 7:00 PM
DePaul
UC Riverside 7:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Marshall
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
North Texas
UNC-Asheville 7:00 PM
South Carolina
Tenn Tech 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Texas Southern 7:00 PM
SMU
Radford 7:00 PM
TCU
TX-Pan American 7:00 PM
Utah
Wayne St-NE 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Northern Ill 7:30 PM
Iowa
Fla Gulf Coast 7:30 PM
Green Bay
Carroll (MT) 8:00 PM
Montana
Florida A&M 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Auburn 8:00 PM
Oregon State
Eastern Ky 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Stetson 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Northern Ky 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Utah Valley U 8:05 PM
Idaho State
Florida 8:30 PM
Georgetown
Georgia 8:30 PM
Gonzaga
Northwestern 8:30 PM
Northern Iowa
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
California
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Utah State 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Alabama State 9:30 PM
North Dakota
Portland State 10:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Tulsa 10:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Pacific 10:30 PM
Alaska-Anchorage
Missouri State 11/27/14 1:00 AM
Colorado State
Ohio U 24 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 21
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Kennesaw St 11:00 AM
Seton Hall
Northern Ill 12:00 PM
Eastern Illinois
Illinois-Chicago 12:00 PM
Northwestern
UT Martin 12:30 PM
Samford
Niagara 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Radford 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
East Tenn St 1:00 PM
Indiana
North Dakota 2:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
LSU 2:30 PM
Texas-El Paso
Marshall 4:00 PM
Cornell
Kansas State 5:00 PM
Santa Clara
Oral Roberts 5:00 PM
Ark-Little Rock
Boise State 5:30 PM
Yale
Evansville 6:00 PM
(22) West Virginia
(4) Tennessee 6:00 PM
Chattanooga
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Bradley 6:00 PM
Columbia
Providence 6:00 PM
Dayton
Presbyterian 6:00 PM
Xavier
Albany 6:00 PM
Canisius
VA Commonwealth 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Alabama A&M 6:00 PM
Alabama
Colgate 6:00 PM
(22) Georgia
Memphis 6:05 PM
Southern Ill
Oakland 6:30 PM
(16) Michigan State
Utah Valley U 6:45 PM
UC Davis
Butler 7:00 PM
BYU
TX-Pan American 7:00 PM
(6) Texas
McNeese State 7:00 PM
(7) Texas A&M
Milwaukee 7:00 PM
Marquette
Northern Ariz 7:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Jackson State 7:05 PM
Chicago State
Indiana State 7:05 PM
South Alabama
Long Beach St 8:00 PM
Alaska-Anchorage
Iona 8:00 PM
Kansas
Fresno Pacific 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will the Gophers bring home The Axe?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT