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.


OTA rundown: Simpson's big play, Harvin's absence, Gerhart's bulk

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin Updated: June 6, 2012 - 3:16 PM

The Vikings are in their second week of Organized Team Activities at Winter Park. Today’s workout was open to the media. Here are a handful of noteworthy tidbits from the session.

Highlight reel play

Without question, receiver Jerome Simpson delivered the most impressive play of Wednesday’s OTA during 11-on-11 scrimmage time. With Simpson matched one-on-one with cornerback Chris Cook, quarterback Christian Ponder lofted a pretty bomb up the right sideline. Cook appeared to have perfect coverage. Yet at the last instant, Simpson, jumped over the top of the 6-foot-2, 212-pound defensive back and pulled the ball in over Cook’s head. The play was greeted with impressed howls from players on both sides of the ball. (Here's the video.)

Even head coach Leslie Frazier felt his eyes bug out.

“Anybody that witnessed that play today, you’ve got to get jacked up,” Frazier said. “That was an incredible play and one of the reasons we get excited about him. We’re hoping to see that on Sunday afternoons, plays like that.”

Notable absences

Arguably, the Vikings’ four best players were absent from Wednesday’s workout. Jared Allen, who also missed all of last week’s OTA, was not in attendance. Neither was Adrian Peterson, who is back in Houston this week continuing his knee rehab.

Chad Greenway attended Tuesday’s practice but called Frazier Wednesday morning with news that he had to tend to what the head coach labeled as “a serious matter” in his family.

Finally, receiver Percy Harvin, who attended last week’s OTAs and practiced Tuesday, was a no-show. That, Frazier said, had nothing to do with Harvin’s shoulder, which he had minor arthroscopic surgery on in late-April.

“Nothing that I’m aware of regarding his shoulder,” Frazier said. “Just, it’s a voluntary camp.”

Childs play

Rookie receiver Greg Childs remains out of action dealing with a lingering calf strain that he suffered during rookie mini-camp last month. Childs has attended OTAs but not participated the last two weeks. While in college, Childs’ 2010 season was cut short due to a torn patellar tendon in his right knee, an injury that limited his effectiveness as a senior as well. The Vikings believe that, at full strength, Childs can be a difference maker, possessing an impressive combination of size and speed. But so far, they’ve had very limited opportunity to evaluate Childs up close.

“It’s unfortunate he can’t get some of these reps now,” Frazier said. “But he’ll get caught up.”

The weighting game

Running back Toby Gerhart says he has maintained his playing weight of approximately 230 pounds during this offseason. But Gerhart sure looks bigger in his upper body and said he has made an effort to add more lean mass.

“Just trying to get the guns going a little bit this year,” Gerhart joked after Wednesday’s practice.

With Peterson’s health still an uncertainty, it’s a distinct possibility Gerhart will be the Vikings’ opening day starter on Sept. 9. In the four games Peterson missed due to injury in 2011, Gerhart averaged 18 carries and 73 rushing yards per contest.

As for Gerhart’s increased bulk, the Vikings are doing a bit of offseason experimenting to determine how he can be most effective.

“He’s still a developing guy,” Frazier said. “And there are some things we’re going to find out in these OTAs. Before we send him home and come back to training camp, we’ll give him a prescribed weight. But we wanted to take a look at him at where he is right now and just see how it would affect his quickness. Because there’s a very good chance he’s going to have to really carry the load early on.”

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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