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 lead at the half, but Smith tossed for pushing an official

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Antoine Winfield, Percy Harvin Updated: October 7, 2012 - 4:56 PM

The Vikings are winning the game (13-0), but have lost a starting safety.

Rookie Harrison Smith, who already was establishing himself as an NFL enforcer with a nasty side, was disqualified from today's game against the visiting Titants for pushing an official following an interception by Antoine Winfield with 11 minutes, 24 seconds left in the second quarter. As the Vikings were turning the turnover into a 42-yard Blair Walsh field goal for a 10-0 lead, Smith was walking to the locker room, his fifth NFL game prematurely over.

With Mistral Raymond (ankle) and Andrew Sendejo (ankle) inactive, the Vikings plugged in rookie Robert Blanton, a teammate of Smith's at Notre Dame, in at safety. Blanton and starting strong safety Jamarca Sanford are the only safeties active and eligible at this point. The team's emergency safety is Winfield.

Replays of Smith's actions were shown only once in the press box. The official is seen grabbing Smith and walking him back a few steps. Smith then pushes the official aside.

The Vikings took a 7-0 lead on Percy Harvin's first touchdown of the season. He scored on first-and-goal from the 4 with 2:31 left in the first quarter. Not many 185-pouders can run between the tackles, making one player (linebacker Colin McCarthy) miss at the 4 and then running over two more players at the 2 (cornerback Ryan Mouton) and goal line (cornerback Alterraun Verner).

The run capped a nine-play, 91-yard drive in which quarterback Christian Ponder ran for 15 yards, lofted a perfect pass over the DB's head to Harvin for 45 yards and hit Michael Jenkins for a 12-yard gain on third-and-10 from the Tennessee 16.

Winfield's interception gave the Vikings the ball at the Tennessee 43. With the help of an unnecessary roughness penalty on Sen'Derrick Marks, the Vikings moved into position for Walsh's field goal for a 10-0 lead with 10:27 left in the half.

The Vikings added a 36-yard field goal with 1:52 left in the half.

Ponder's streak of passes without an interception ended at 144 with 15 seconds left when safety Robert Johnson caught a tipped ball inside the Tennessee 5-yard line. It was Ponder's first pick of the year. It also kept the Vikings from attempting what would have been a 42-yard field goal had they not gained another yard.

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NY Mets 2 FINAL
Washington 0
Pittsburgh 7 FINAL
Detroit 3
Miami 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Boston - WP: K. Couch 11 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Reavis 8
NY Yankees - LP: M. Tanaka 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: T. Milone 3
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Philadelphia 6 FINAL
Toronto 10
Chicago Cubs 15 FINAL
Texas 10
Cincinnati - WP: M. Lorenzen 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Chicago WSox 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Seattle 6 FINAL
Cleveland 8
Oakland - WP: J. Fuller 13 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: B. Loconsole 10
Texas 7 FINAL
Arizona 8
Houston 8 FINAL
Atlanta 5
Kansas City 4 FINAL
San Diego 1
Atlanta 95 FINAL
Detroit 105
Indiana 106 FINAL
Brooklyn 111
San Antonio 95 FINAL
Miami 81
Golden State 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 106
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 3
Carolina 2 FINAL
Washington 4
Florida 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
Toronto 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
UT Martin 66 FINAL
Evansville 79
Miami-Florida 60 FINAL
Temple 57
NJIT 61 FINAL
Northern Ariz 68
Stanford 67 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
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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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