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.


Rookie could have punter job 'Locke-d up' by Monday

Posted by: Updated: May 3, 2013 - 1:46 PM

 

Shortly after drafting left-footed punter Jeff Locke in the fifth round last weekend, General Manager Rick Spielman insisted the move was made to bring in competition for eight-year vet Chris Kluwe and not necessarily to replace him immediately.
“When we’re making decisions, we’re purely making them in trying to bring in the best competition possible regardless of position,” Spielman said. 
But that so-called punter “competition” may end this weekend with only Locke on the practice field for rookie mini-camp.
As a reference point, after drafting kicker Blair Walsh in Round 6 in 2012, Spielman closely tracked Walsh during the team’s rookie mini-camp to make certain he could absorb some coaching while handling the pressure of kicking with all eyes on him.
Walsh did just fine. And the day after the rookie mini-camp finished, veteran Ryan Longwell was released.
So read between the lines when coach Leslie Frazier said Friday that this weekend’s monitoring of Locke is “very similar” to last year’s procedure with Walsh.
“We just want to put him in different situations and see how he can respond,” Frazier said.
Because the Vikings' rookie mini-camp was moved indoors due to weather Friday, Locke spent the morning down at Mall of America Field punting with special teams coach Mike Priefer away from any audience. So we have no early eyewitness report on how he kicked.
But assuming he doesn’t suffer an injury or experience a mental breakdown this weekend, he should have the punting job all to himself soon. Maybe as soon as Monday evening.
It’s no surprise Kluwe is already looking ahead to life elsewhere. He will meet with Spielman on Monday and both sides have agreed that if Locke is the preference – and the rookie would sure seem to have the inside track given his draft status – there will be no point in dragging out the break-up.
Cutting Kluwe sooner rather than later would give him greater opportunity to catch on elsewhere. It would also allow the Vikings to provide quick closure to a storyline that could prove controversial and annoying if it’s drawn out too long.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 65 3rd Qtr
Cleveland 60
Phoenix 54 3rd Qtr
Charlotte 61
Dallas 32 2nd Qtr 10:49
Detroit 32
Utah 33 2nd Qtr
Miami 16
Orlando 31 2nd Qtr 10:50
Boston 29
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Toronto
Memphis 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Portland
Houston 9:30 PM
Denver
Indiana 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Ottawa 1 2nd Prd 18:31
New Jersey 0
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 30 2nd Half
Ball State 23
SIU Edwardsville 30 2nd Half
Campbell 37
St Francis-PA 40 2nd Half 17:08
Duquesne 27
North Florida 29 2nd Half
Florida State 43
Catawba 39 2nd Half 19:09
George Mason 47
Ferrum 22 2nd Half
High Point 47
Hampton 29 2nd Half 18:05
Illinois 44
Gardner-Webb 43 2nd Half 19:17
Jacksonville 34
Longwood 21 2nd Half
Miami-Ohio 31
Arkansas State 43 2nd Half 16:01
Miss State 34
Tennessee 34 2nd Half 17:10
NC State 42
NC A&T 32 2nd Half 16:02
Ohio State 58
Manhattan 25 2nd Half 16:47
Pittsburgh 32
Robert Morris 28 2nd Half
Toledo 40
Char Southern 30 2nd Half 15:35
Wofford 31
Kennesaw St 46 1st Half 0:33
Youngstown St 39
Barber-Scotia 20 2nd Half
NC Central 62
Detroit 26 1st Half 2:40
UCF 29
Liberty 17 1st Half 5:23
UNC-Wilmington 21
TX A&M-CC 2 1st Half 17:41
Denver 5
Ark-Pine Bluff 2 1st Half 19:16
Houston 0
UT Martin 3 1st Half 18:30
Illinois State 0
Milligan 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
USC Upstate 3 1st Half 17:35
Memphis 5
Alcorn State 7:00 PM
Murray State
Central Mich 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Georgia State 2 1st Half 17:32
Old Dominion 2
TX-Pan American 0 1st Half 19:46
Saint Louis 0
Ill-Chicago 0 1st Half 19:41
SMU 1
Texas State 2 1st Half 17:18
Stephen F Austin 7
SC State 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Missouri State 4 1st Half 15:23
Tulsa 7
Chicago State 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Northern Colorado 0 1st Half 20:00
Nebraska Omaha 0
Winthrop 8:00 PM
Auburn
New Mexico St 8:00 PM
Baylor
San Diego St 8:00 PM
Cincinnati
Eastern Mich 8:00 PM
Michigan State
Loyola Marymount 8:00 PM
Stanford
Incarnate Word 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Northeastern 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Central Arkansas 9:00 PM
New Mexico
Howard 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Portland 9:30 PM
UNLV
CS-Northridge 10:00 PM
Oregon
Grambling St 10:00 PM
Washington
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
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
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 56 2nd Half 2:19
Southern U 67
Oklahoma 50 2nd Half 12:20
(13) Duke 63
Savannah State 37 2nd Half 8:28
Auburn 50
Northern Colorado 12 2nd Half
South Florida 51
Youngstown St 32 2nd Half 17:00
Robert Morris 39
Siena 48 2nd Half 11:16
Sacred Heart 56
Vermont 29 2nd Half 20:00
St Francis-NY 34
(1) South Carolina 47 2nd Half 12:59
Hampton 28
Fla Gulf Coast 53 2nd Half 15:37
Bethune-Cookman 25
Texas Southern 53 2nd Half 16:56
Houston Baptist 42
Northwestern 47 2nd Half 17:12
UNLV 42
NC A&T 40 2nd Half 19:31
Appalachian St 36
NC Central 32 2nd Half 16:00
Coastal Carolina 41
Drexel 26 2nd Half 20:00
Quinnipiac 38
Cincinnati 26 2nd Half 20:00
Northern Ky 32
Alabama State 25 2nd Half
Georgia Tech 45
Morehead St 38 2nd Half
USC Upstate 40
Arkansas State 30 2nd Half
Kent State 21
American Univ 37 2nd Half 13:54
Manhattan 30
UNC Greensboro 34 2nd Half 20:00
St Bonaventure 38
Arkansas-Monticello 25 1st Half 0:21
Northwestern St 21
Prairie View 15 1st Half 7:05
Sam Houston St 14
Eastern Kentucky 7:00 PM
Alabama A&M
SIU-Edwardsville 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
McMurry 7:00 PM
TX-Arlington
McNeese State 0 1st Half 20:00
(3) Texas 0
Yale 0 1st Half 20:00
Wagner 0
Oakland 0 1st Half 20:00
TX A&M-CC 0
Portland 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
North Texas 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT