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.


NFL's replacement officials add to an embarrassing preseason

Posted by: Mark Craig under Off the field, Vikings, NFC, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Chris Kluwe, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin Updated: August 24, 2012 - 11:47 PM

Here's a sneak peak at our notebook for tomorrow ...

By Mark Craig 

 

The NFL’s replacement officials continued their preseason struggles in embarrassing fashion during the second quarter of the Vikings’ 12-10 loss to the Chargers at Mall of America Field on Friday night.

Both blunders went against the Chargers, causing coach Norv Turner to waste two of his challenges within four minutes. Teams get two challenges to start the game and receive only one extra challenge if they win their first two. Turner easily won both of his challenges and never needed a third.

With 12 minutes, 27 seconds left in the half, Vikings running back Lex Hilliard clearly fumbled the ball away. But the closest official ruled him down.

A disgusted Turner whipped his red challenge flag high into the air before the Vikings had a chance to snap the next play into action. The ruling was overturned, giving the Chargers got the ball at the Vikings’ 31-yard line. Seven plays later, they kicked a 34-yard field goal to take a 6-0 lead.

Four minutes later, at the 8:32 mark of the quarter, the officials blew another easy call when they ruled an interception by Chargers defensive back DeAndre Presley an incompletion. Presley was one of two defensive backs who jumped Christian Ponder’s pass to Percy Harvin. There was no doubt the ball was caught by Presley. So Turner threw his flag again, this time just lobbing underhand onto the field.

Meanwhile, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier lost when he challenged a fumble by Derrick Coleman with 12:06 left in the game.

 

Vikings punter Chris Kluwe may have put it best after the game when he morphed back into @ChrisWarcraft and tweeted: "The NFL really needs to kiss and make up with the refs. These replacements are horrible. Frankly, it's kind of embarrassing." 

Dire situation at safety

Starting safeties Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford were still on the field at the end of a meaningless preseason game because, well, the Vikings had no other healthy safeties to put out there.

Mistral Raymond experience lower-back tightness during pregame warmups and didn’t play. Rookie Robert Blanton, who recently returned to practice after a hamstring injury, was held out and will get extra reps in Thursday’s preseason finale at Houston.

Meanwhile, safeties Eric Frampton (groin) and Andrew Sendejo (ankle) also were injured. Also hurt Friday night were tight end Rhett Ellison (knee) and cornerbacks Josh Robinson (concussion) and Marcus Sherels (ankle). Frazier didn’t know the severity of the injuries Friday night.

 

Smith can expect a fine

Smith was called for unnecessary roughness for a helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Mike Willie with 1:35 left in the game. He can expect a fine from the league sometime in the near future.

"I thought maybe I could go for the ball, then I realized I should go for the hit, so I kind of got caught in the middle," Smith said. "I wish I didn’t get the penalty. Maybe I could have played it differently. I’ll watch the film. It’s easy to watch on TV and say, `You should hit him here or there.’"

 

Chargers take a dive

After losing running back Ryan Mathews and receiver Vincent Brown to significant injuries in each of the first two preseason games, the Chargers deactivated 18 players, including seven starters, before Friday night’s game. Six offensive starters didn’t play, including quarterback Philip Rivers. Charlie Whitehurst started at quarterback.

Other starters inactive for San Diego were tight end Antonio Gates and the entire left side of the offensive line, including center Nick Hardwick, left guard Tyronne Greene and left tackle Jared Gaither. Rookie seventh-round draft pick David Molk started at center, while undrafted rookie Mike Harris started at left tackle.

"When you’re playing against backups, you should dominate as a defense, and we did," defensive end Jared Allen said.

The Vikings had six sacks. Allen and linebacker Jasper Brinkley had two apiece.

As hard as they tried to avoid the weekly injury bug, the Chargers might have lost another key player. Linebacker Melvin Ingram, the 18th overall pick, had to be helped off the field with what the team called a thigh bruise. 

 

Quick hits

--Deactivated before the game for the Vikings were receiver Kamar Jorden, cornerback Chris Cook, fullback Ryan D’Imperio, running back Adrian Peterson, tight end John Carlson, defensive tackle Letroy Guion and guards Bridger Buche and Geoff Schwartz. Chris Carr started in place of Cook at left cornerback. Eight other players didn’t play, including offensive tackle DeMarcus Love (pectoral) and linebacker Larry Dean (shoulder).

--Peterson went through pre-game warmups in full pads before changing to watch the game from the sideline.

--Rookie Jarius Wright had the team’s longest punt return of the preseason, a 24-yarder to the Chargers’ 28-yard line, late in the second half. It led to a 29-yard field goal.

--Receiver Devin Aromashodu had his first catches of the preseason, finishing with three for 28 yards.

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Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Utah 100
Sacramento 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Denver 112 FINAL
Golden State 119
Portland 99 FINAL
LA Clippers 89
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Colorado 7
Carolina 3 FINAL
Edmonton 6
Columbus 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
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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 Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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