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.


Brandon Fusco losing his grip on right guard position

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier Updated: November 26, 2012 - 1:33 PM

The first Geoff Schwartz sighting came in Week 6 at Washington with the veteran guard worked into the mix in place of Brandon Fusco for 11 of 84 snaps. At the time, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier explained that cameo away as the coaching staff’s desire to have some in-game action from Schwartz to review. But it was clear coaches were losing a bit of confidence in Fusco.

And with each passing week, Fusco's inconsistency has had the Vikings using Schwartz more extensively at right guard. In Sunday's loss in Chicago, Schwartz was actually on the field more than Fusco for the first time, playing 36 of the Vikings' 66 offensive snaps.

So is a permanent change on the horizon?

With Fusco struggling now late in his first year as a starter, Frazier was asked Monday what's going wrong.

“It’s more the footwork and sometimes getting top heavy,” Frazier said. “[He’s] leaning a little bit too much one way or the other. And he’s just losing some of his fundamentals as an offensive guard. There are some things that technically he’ll get off on at times. And then it creates problems for our offense."

Keep in mind, the Vikings first play Sunday was a disaster. With an empty backfield and five receiving options spread wide, Christian Ponder had barely caught the shotgun snap when he was mauled by Henry Melton for a 9-yard loss. Melton had found his way to Ponder with little obstruction, plowing right around Fusco for an easy sack.

It was the latest example of Fusco's struggles killing the offensive attack.

“When he’s on, he’s a very good player,” Frazier said. “But there are moments where he’s just a little bit off from a fundamental standpoint.”

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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
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Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
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Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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