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.


Initial diagnosis on Carlson is MCL sprain

Posted by: under Vikings, NFC, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier, Ryan Longwell Updated: July 31, 2012 - 7:19 PM

MANKATO -- Tight end John Carlson, the team's top offseason acquisition at $25 million over five years, went down in practice today with what coach Leslie Frazier said was initially diagnosed as a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL).

Carlson will have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test tonight. The Vikings aren't expecting a torn ligament, nor is surgery expected. But even a sprain could sideline Carlson for a couple of weeks, at least. And that's not good for an offense that's relying on Carlson and Kyle Rudolph, two pass-catching mismatches for defenses, to play in a lot of multi-tight end sets.

"He wouldn't have to have any surgery because that's something that heals by itself," Frazier said. "It's a little bit more of a pain-tolerance thing."

Here's some other highlights from Frazier's post-practice meeting with beat reporters:

  • Frazier put some pressure on rookie kicker Blair Walsh at the end of today's practice. After a full-speed, tackle-to-the-ground period between the offense and defense, Frazier decided to end the workout with a 44-yard field goal attempt. If Walsh made it, the offense would be considered the practice winner. If he missed, the defense would be crowned. Needless to say, the defensive players on the sideline gave Walsh an earful as he lined up for his attempt, which he made. "To finish the practice with Blair coming out and making that field goal with the defense razzing him and giving him a hard time, booing him and calling him names, that was a good, spirited practice," Frazier said. Loudest among the defensive players, as usual, was safety Jamarca Sanford. "A little SEC action going there, with Ole Miss [Sanford] and Georgia [Walsh]," Frazier said.
  • Frazier said he's been impressed with how Walsh has handled the pressure of replacing Ryan Longwell. Of course, the real pressure hasn't even begun yet. But, as Frazier said, "There's no looking back now. He's our kicker now."
  • Frazier wasn't too happy with starting outside linebacker Erin Henderson blitzing through the line and popping starting QB Christian Ponder. "You probably saw me talking to [Henderson]," Frazier said. "We've had these conversations before. Just run by him. They get so enthused and so energetic in those moments that sometimes they forget to keep those red jerseys [worn by the QBs] up."

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