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.


Greenway plans to reach out to Winfield

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Antoine Winfield, Chad Greenway, Percy Harvin, Vikings draft Updated: March 20, 2013 - 3:02 PM

Spending part of the morning with Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway as he interacted with children at Hudson  Hosptial & Clinics in Wisconsin was a healthy reminder that most NFL players are decent men who add value to their communities. Unfortunately, they just don't grab the headlines and the spotlight the way the lunkheads do when they get into trouble.

Greenway traveled to Hudson as part of his "Lead The Way Foundation," joking that as a Viking, he "crossed the border, but not very far because we have to tread lightly over here." He and his wife, Jenni, were well-received -- no Cheeseheads were spotted -- during an event in which they unveiled "Chad's Locker," a program that provides patients and their families access to kid-friendly technology during hospital visits.

An actual locker, labeled "Chad's Locker" and all decked out in purple with a photo of Greenway in uniform, was opened to reveal several iPads, video gaming systems, laptops and other items. This was the third hospital in the Twin Cities area that the Greenways have partnered with as they grow their "Chad's Locker" idea.   

Greenway said he was made aware of a similar idea before he had children. He thought it was a good idea. But not as good as when his children came along.

"We've spent a lot of time in the hospital the last year with my dad," said Greenway, whose father is again battling leukemia after a brief remission. "When you're in that moment in time in the hospital, it's huge to have something for your kids to occupy their time. You need them to behave, but it's also unrealistic for them to just sit there for five, six, seven hours with nothing to do."

One of the hospital's care-givers took it to another level, recalling how a young boy was able to use one of the iPads from the locker to distract himself during a lengthy chemotherapy session.

I also caught up with Greenway on a number of hot topics concerning the Vikings. Here's a look:

On the release of veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield: "Obviously, when it comes to free agency, you never know what's going to happen. Even from a personal standpoint, you worry because if your cap number is high, you could possibly be that guy. Antoine didn't see it coming, obviously. To me, he's one of the top players on our football team. Veteran leader. Great guy in the locker room. Hard worker. And even at his age, he plays at such a high level. I really hope they can work something out and get him back on our team because he makes us a lot better.

On reaching out to Winfield to see if he'll return (The Vikings have said the door is open): "I haven't reached out to him yet. It probably would be a good idea for some of us veterans to reach out to him just to say, `Hey, we want you back.' If there's a chance he can work it out to come back, that would be great. It also becomes personal because he's been here nine years. He's had a long career just here. It was unfortunate to see it, but obviously we all understand the type of business it is and the job we're asked to do. Hopefully, I can talk to him. Hopefully, a bunch of guys can talk to him and tell him if he wants to play a couple more years, we'd love for it to be with us. "

On the likelihood that middle linebacker will be manned by a rookie: "we'll have to see how things shake out. We don't know what they'll do. They could move some people around. They could change some positions. It depends on how the draft goes or if they reach out to someone in free agency. Obviously, Erin [Henderson] has experience at that position, so that's something you could think about doing as well. If they want to move me there, I don't know. I'm open to whatever, but I'm not sure that's what they're thinking. But I do know that if it's a young guy who ends up starting there, it can work. Every position at some point you have to go young. So it's a normal process that takes place."

On the Percy Harvin trade: "You look at the move from a football standpoint and he's obviously one of our top players. The output that he was producing at when he was healthy was pretty amazing. The talent he has is amazing. It's hard to see a guy like that go, but obviously management thought it was a good move for our football team. And the things that we got in return for the talent level that he has is pretty deep as well. And picking up Greg [Jennings} helps. We'll be happy not to have to play against him anymore. He's also such a great character addition to our team. Just a great guy all the way around. But it's hard to see Percy go. He could be MVP of the league. Last year, I was stumping for him midseason when he was healthy and doing so well for us. That doesn't change just because he's on another team. He's got some amazing talents."

On whether Harvin's sometimes poor attitude ever spilled over to the locker room: "What he was dealing with when it came to [General Manager] Rick [Spielman] and [Coach] Leslie [Frazier], that was in a private setting. We don't get to hear or know all that's going on. There were a couple of instances with him when [players] were around, but that's something that needs to be kept in the locker room, even from the standpoint that he's now on another team. For Percy, the work ethic he has and the talent he has, he put it all out there for us. As a teammate, you have to appreciate that."

More on Jennings: "Greg's got tremendous ability. I know people question his age, which makes me worry because we're the same age [Greenway is 30, Jennings will be 30 in September]. But he can still get vertical over the top of the defense. And from what I hear and know, he runs excellent routes. He's going to be there to bail out Christian [Ponder] when he needs a bailout option. And he can play the slot as well. There are going to be a lot of things he can do to ease that transition away from Percy. We do lack some depth at receiver right now, but I'm sure we'll be able to pick some guys up. We feel pretty confident about the job that Rick and his staff do."

On the league's decision to outlaw the `peel-back' blocks, making it a penalty for an offensive player to throw a low blindside block on a defender even in the box: "I'm in favor of that rule change. I've caught a couple of those in my day. At that point, when it happens, you're just saying, `Ah, it's part of the game.' That's how it works. You gather yourself and try to go on and play. But if you're talking about health and safety, you have to talk about health and safety of defensive players as well."

On the league's decision to outlaw running backs lowering their heads and delivering a blow with the crown of their helmet outside the tackle box and at least three yards down the field: "It's hard for us when you have running back like Adrian [Peterson]. But I think we've come to find out that if there's a rule that's going to be made, it's going to be administered the same way throughout the league. So it might affect us more than many other teams, but at the same point we're going to get that benefit as well. I don't necessarily agree with it. I don't agree with taking the physical portion of the game away. In any way. But I also realize that it is what it is. I'm not going to go out there and stump and say we should do this and get anything accomplished. I'm better off saying, `If these are the rules, then I'm better off playing within the rules.'"

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Minnesota 17 4th Qtr 12:40
Miami 21
Baltimore 7 3rd Qtr 7:40
Houston 19
Detroit 10 4th Qtr 10:27
Chicago 14
Cleveland 6 4th Qtr 11:22
Carolina 10
Atlanta 20 4th Qtr 9:38
New Orleans 7
Green Bay 13 4th Qtr 3:33
Tampa Bay 3
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NY Jets 16
NY Giants 3:05 PM
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Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 35 2nd Half 8:13
Canisius 53
Southern Miss 40 2nd Half 6:28
Georgia State 56
Western Carolina 44 2nd Half 10:46
UNC-Asheville 55
Creighton 37 2nd Half 9:55
North Texas 51
Maryland 54 2nd Half 8:57
Oklahoma State 41
Cornell 45 2nd Half 11:21
Radford 53
Vermont 40 2nd Half 7:35
Saint Louis 43
Loyola-Maryland 40 2nd Half 7:50
Stony Brook 48
Reinhardt 53 2nd Half 11:39
Winthrop 64
Ark-Little Rock 44 2nd Half 5:29
Green Bay 57
TX-Pan American 51 2nd Half 9:44
Nebraska Omaha 62
Alabama State 57 2nd Half 13:06
Evansville 60
FIU 38 2nd Half 15:54
Hartford 48
Goshen 25 2nd Half
Valparaiso 38
Bryant 9 1st Half 8:28
Denver 4
Austin Peay 12 1st Half 7:46
Lipscomb 23
Tennessee St 5 1st Half 12:10
Middle Tennessee 24
South Dakota 19 1st Half 9:45
Montana 17
ULM 2:25 PM
Samford
Coker 2:30 PM
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USC 3:00 PM
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Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
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North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
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Texas-El Paso
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Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
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Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
(3) Texas 62 2nd Half 4:05
(4) Texas A&M 61
South Florida 45 2nd Half 15:51
Penn State 43
Sam Houston St 36 2nd Half 0:33
TCU 62
Evansville 37 2nd Half 9:37
IUPUI 47
(14) Maryland 92 2nd Half 7:50
Coppin State 45
Mercer 50 2nd Half 10:59
Coll of Charleston 58
NC A&T 21 2nd Half 15:34
Chattanooga 40
Princeton 75 2nd Half 6:48
Monmouth 46
Eastern Illinois 61 2nd Half 4:55
Lehigh 64
Rider 52 2nd Half 9:29
Binghamton 44
SC State 40 2nd Half 7:02
Clemson 48
Fairfield 44 2nd Half 10:00
Iowa State 55
Richmond 61 2nd Half 6:24
Eastern Kentucky 42
Cleveland State 63 2nd Half 6:25
Morehead St 63
Kent State 49 2nd Half 10:44
Colgate 37
South Alabama 35 2nd Half 4:05
UAB 68
Saint Peters 29 2nd Half 5:47
Navy 64
Youngstown St 37 2nd Half 7:47
Pittsburgh 58
NJIT 33 2nd Half 13:34
Lafayette 45
Davidson 22 2nd Half 11:59
Charlotte 61
Indiana State 31 2nd Half
St Johns 24
Southern U 20 2nd Half
Florida 41
Wright State 16 2nd Half 20:00
Purdue 31
(19) Oklahoma St 15 1st Half 7:35
USC 19
Houston 17 1st Half 6:37
Texas Tech 14
Ark-Little Rock 17 1st Half 7:46
Tulsa 13
Dayton 14 1st Half 9:51
Vanderbilt 14
Northern Ariz 13 1st Half 8:20
New Mexico 13
UNC-Asheville 11 1st Half 10:52
USC Upstate 10
North Dakota 12 1st Half 11:40
South Dakota 17
Western Ill 14 1st Half 10:00
Marquette 19
Elon 12 1st Half 11:49
(6) North Carolina 22
Ball State 7 1st Half 11:38
Western Ky 22
(8) Kentucky 12 1st Half 9:15
(13) Duke 21
New Orleans 6 1st Half 9:03
Alabama 31
Chicago State 11 1st Half 9:54
Milwaukee 16
Bowling Green 18 1st Half 11:48
Bradley 7
Ill-Springfield 6 1st Half 15:57
SE Missouri St 6
Northern Ill 10 1st Half 7:40
Northern Iowa 12
(23) Iowa 18 1st Half 11:18
Drake 19
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Minnesota
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Wyoming 3:00 PM
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Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
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(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
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(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
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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 Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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