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.


Notes: Harrison Smith not ready to run with first-string defense -- just yet

Posted by: under Vikings Updated: July 28, 2012 - 6:29 PM

Rookie Harrison Smith figures to be a Vikings starter before long. And the Vikings' internal hope is that he takes control of that job before the Sept. 9 season opener against Jacksonville. Yet at the outset of camp, Smith is taking his reps with the second unit defense as fellow safeties Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond work with the No. 1s. Sanford made 15 starts a year ago. Raymond, who made a conversion from cornerback to safety in his rookie season, played sparingly in 2011, not seeing significant time on defense until December. He started the Vikings’ final five games.

So what’s with Smith’s current place on the depth chart?

“We want him to compete and win that job,” Frazier said. “We’ll see how it plays out over the next few weeks.”

Sidelined

Josh Robinson did not participate in Saturday afternoon’s practice as he nurses the hamstring injury he suffered Friday. The rookie cornerback was in coverage against fellow rookie Jarius Wright on an all-out sprint up the right sideline when he pulled up and began clutching his left hamstring. At this point, Robinson is being labeled as day-to-day. But the Vikings feel as if they dodged a bullet with the rookie only tweaking the hamstring and not suffering any kind of tear.

Fully connected

Get used to seeing the Christian Ponder-to-Kyle Rudolph connection. Through two days of practice in Mankato, Rudolph has been Ponder’s favorite target, catching countless short passes in the flat as well as a handful across the middle. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave continues to laud Rudolph’s size. At 6-foot-6 with a huge catching radius, Rudolph is easy for Ponder to spot. He’s also come to camp this year bulkier but without losing any agility and seems poised for a breakout season with the ways Musgrave is promising to involve his tight ends.

But as much as Musgrave loves Rudolph and John Carlson, he also said Saturday the Vikings will miss Jim Kleinsasser, who retired after last season.

“It may take two players to replace Jim,” Musgrave said. “Because he could do a bunch of great fullback jobs as well as do a superior job on the line of scrimmage controlling a big run-stuffing defensive end. So we’ll want to make sure to run the schemes that fit our personnel and aren’t just our favorite plays because Jim made them successful in the past.”

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Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
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Washington 2 FINAL
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Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
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Portland 120
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Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
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NY Islanders 2
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Detroit 4
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Montreal 3
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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 NoonX13-9

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