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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Spielman Part I: On Peterson's recovery, a playoff chase, building through the draft

Posted by: under Vikings, NFL draft, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Kevin Williams, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin, Vikings draft Updated: November 14, 2012 - 11:46 AM

In a 40-minute session with print reporters Wednesday morning, Vikings general manager delivered what amounted to a casual “state of the team” address. Spielman discussed everything from Adrian Peterson’s incredible recovery to the Vikings’ potential playoff push to the contract situations of receiver Percy Harvin and head coach Leslie Frazier. Here are some Spielman highlights from that session, in the first of three parts.


On what he saw in Peterson heading into the 2007 NFL Draft …

“You knew the unique skill set that you saw scouting him. There was no question about that. And then the more we spent time around him at the combine and we had him here for a top-30 visit, as talented as he was, he had all those extra elements that came with the talent to make him potentially be something unique in this league. Because you see a lot of guys who are more than talented enough to excel at this level but that ancillary thing -- the drive to be successful, the drive to be the best, the drive to win a championship -- all those things came out when we interviewed him. I don't know how those rumors got out about his collar bone before the draft. But we were very fortunate that he did slip to No. 7 because he was, at the time, the No. 1 player on our board that year. To get the opportunity to get someone with that skill set and that mental makeup we were very fortunate.”

On what Peterson has shown in rushing for more than 1,100 yards in his first 10 backs after major ACL and MCL rehab … 

“The biggest thing was, I knew when we spoke to him and the injury occurred, the first thing that came out of his mouth was 'I'm going to get better than I was before this injury.' No one ever envisioned that. But that's what makes Adrian so unique and so special. He put in his mind that he was going to come back and not only come back but be better than he was before the injury. As we go through this last part of the season and how he's performed so far, he seems to be getting better and better each week. I think over the last two or three weeks he is a better player than he was before the injury.I think he sets a great example of what he did this off-season and how determined he was. I think that filters down. But I also know physically he's probably unique in how he was able to come back

On how a 2012 Vikings team with such low outside expectations is now in a playoff chase …

“I think coming into this season, no one had high expectations for this football team. But I know internally we had very high expectations for ourselves. I think every year you go into training camp you better have high expectations for your football team or why are you in this? Why do you want to play the games? But I think the one thing you've got to credit, I think you have to credit the coaching staff because we knew we were going to have a young team. We knew we were going to have a lot of first and second year players playing for us. I think you have to credit the veteran leadership on this team –the Jared Allens, the Antoine Winfields, the Kevin Williams of the world – knowing they are going to bring these young guys along as well. So I think it's a combination of things, and we've done some good things this season, but I know there's some room that we still [can get better]. And Leslie has talked about it, we still need to improve and we still need to get better. And I still think, what I said in the beginning of the season was you want to see and evaluate each week kind of where you are at. And you are going to have some setbacks, you are going to have some growing pains. We've gone through some of that. But are the guys continuing to progress? Are we a better team in Week 1? Are we a better team Week 5? Are we a better team Week 10? Are we going to be even a better team at the end of the season? And that's kind of what you are hoping to see as we go through this thing. But we still have a ways to go to get better. We still need to get improvement. That's the attitude you have to have, I think.”

On whether he was tempted to wheel and deal before the Week 8 trade deadline passed …

“No, I think our philosophy and my philosophy that I believe in is that you continue to build this through the draft. We're looking forward -- I know our scouts are coming down to our final couple weeks here on the fall scouting. Our scouts are coming in in December, we're getting ready to start our meetings for the draft. Every year, this is the time of year your stomach starts to get excited because you know what's coming up here -- not only during the season, but what's coming up this offseason. With the systems that we have in place and some of the stuff we’ve implemented over the last two years and last year, I'm very excited about continuing and getting ready to improve this roster.”


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
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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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