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.


Adrian Peterson will sit out practice Wednesday as a precaution

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier Updated: October 17, 2012 - 2:31 PM

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will not practice this afternoon as he continues to deal with some tenderness in his left ankle. Peterson hurt the ankle early during the Vikings’ Week 5 game with Tennessee and is still dealing with some soreness, particularly after a 24-touch, 129-yard day in Sunday’s loss at Washington.

That said, coach Leslie Frazier said resting Peterson today was simply a precaution.

“He’ll be fine for Sunday,” Frazier said.

As for the Vikings’ other injured starter? Receiver Jerome Simpson’s status for this week is still a bit iffy with Frazier wanting to see how Simpson progresses through the week of practice. Simpson again expressed his agitation Wednesday at being declared inactive for Sunday’s game with the Redskins. Now the plan is to get him back to full strength for this week’s game with Arizona.

The Vikings will continue to monitor Simpson’s health. He has a back issue that surfaced Oct. 7 which caused tightness and numbness in his leg.

Said Frazier: “He’s a competitor. He’s a guy who wants to be out there. We want him out there as well. He feels like he’ll be ready to go this afternoon. We’re looking forward to getting him out there, getting him back and involved in our offense. He’s a weapon that we’d sorely love to have on the field. He has big play capabilities. And we want to use his abilities.”

As for Frazier’s latest explanation for why Simpson sat Sunday?

“Last Thursday and Friday when he worked, and even in talking with him, we realized he couldn’t push off the way he wanted to,” Frazier said. “[He] wasn’t comfortable mentally, completely with where he was. And the way he plays, he’s an energetic guy who has such a passion for the game, if you take some of that away, some of his elusiveness, even after the catch, you’ve affected his game. I just wanted to be smart, give him a little more time. It’s a long season.

In other quick highlights from Frazier’s Wednesday press conference:

  • The Vikings will play their eighth game next Thursday, just four games after the Cardinals contest. But Frazier insisted he had blinders on this week, unwilling to start thinking too much about Week 8 during Week 7, even with the quick turnaround looming. “I did mention to our guys that we will have two games in a short span. And we’re going to have both of those games at home. But it starts with Arizona. That’s where our focus has to be. We need to get this win at home for a lot of reason.” As for doing advanced game-planning on Tampa Bay, Frazier said, “Some guys are able to move ahead. I’m not one of them. Never was, even as an assistant. It’s hard for me to even think about another team. Some guys on our staff may be able to do that. And maybe a few guys will try to jump ahead. I didn’t discourage that. But I just want to make sure we all understand that there is no game more important than this week’s game.”
  • Frazier was impressed with the resolve quarterback Christian Ponder showed through his struggles in Washington. That Ponder threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter was certainly heartening on a roller coaster day. “His leadership shows up,” Frazier said. “Even though things weren’t perfect on Sunday for us, by no means, to see him bounce back and help get us back in that ballgame in the fourth quarter, that’s what you like to see out of your quarterback. … He never got down on himself, never took himself out of the game mentally and that’s a sign of his maturation as a player.”
  • Frazier noted the challenges that Cardinals defensive linemen Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell will present of the offensive line this week. Of the 6-foot-8, 300-pound Campbell, he said: “His size alone creates problems. He has great strength and great athleticism.”

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