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.


Kluwe: It was worth it

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Vikings, Vikings defense, Vikings players, Brian Robison, Chris Kluwe, Vikings special teams Updated: December 12, 2012 - 1:44 PM

 Kluwe: It was worth it

The final price tag for Vikings punter Chris Kluwe having voiced his opinion: $5,250.

And it was worth every penny.

Last Sunday NFL uniforms sported a patch celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Kluwe taped to cover the patch, then wrote, “Vote Ray Guy” on it. His point was that no punters were in the Hall of Fame, and that Guy certainly deserves to be the first.

Kluwe, who became a rather famous advocate for same sex marriage this fall, has now gone from Gay rights to Guy rights. And it cost him an NFL fine, standard issue for first-time uniform infractions.

Kluwe knew the fine would be coming, and it was worth it, he said, though he did have to get his wife to sign off on the protest beforehand. “It got people talking about it,” Kluwe said. “I heard the broadcast team talked about it for a bit. And hopefully people will realize, ‘Hey, punters aren’t in the Hall of Fame, maybe we should do something about that.’ ‘’

As usual, Kluwe took to Twitter to announce his fine, tweeting, “The good news is all the money goes to support former players through the NFL charity programs. Maybe they’ll vote for Ray Guy.”

So has Kluwe talked with Guy, whose cause he has taken up? “I haven’t talked with him,” Kluwe said. “Hopefully I’ll get to talk to him when he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

 

Enough talking

It’s not that there has been a shift in emphasis in the locker room. The goals the Vikings defense enter each game with haven’t changed. But, with a playoff push in progress, defensive end  Brian Robison said there were some discussions last week on what the defense needed to do down the stretch.

“To us, it doesn’t matter what the offense does,” he said. “In our minds, we have to out-play the other team’s defense. That’s what it comes down to, the team that makes the most stops wins the games. .. We’ve always depended on ourselves to do that, to be the best defense on the field that day. But we haven’t always played like that. We came out last week and we said, ‘You know what? Enough talking about it, we gotta be about it.’ That’s what we did last week, we out-played them on defense, we scored on defense, we created turnovers, and we want to do the things that put our offense in the best position to be successful. Now we have to do that again.”

One area in which the defense has definitely improved is against the run. After a stretch in which the Vikings were gashed on the ground, the run defense has been good in three of the last four games.

During that four-game stretch Minnesota has allowed 133.3 yards per game, but just 2.6 yards per rush. This week the Vikings will see Steven Jackson, the Rams running back who is 71 yards from reaching 10,000 for his career.

“He looks awesome on film,” safety Harrison Smith said. “He’s a beast – tough to tackle, big, good runner. He’s patient. He gets his blocks and runs off them.”

 

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2014 preseason     
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