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.


Stephen Burton has strong day in Vikings' first padded practice

Posted by: Updated: July 29, 2013 - 5:40 PM

If you’re looking for a standout from Monday’s first padded practice, third-year receiver Stephen Burton had an eye-catching day. Burton flashed throughout the afternoon, delivering big plays in a variety of ways.

His afternoon ended with a 15-yard TD grab from Matt Cassel during 11-on-11 red zone action. Earlier in the afternoon, Burton hauled in a bomb down the left sideline from Cassel and also capitalized during 7-on-7 work with a precise route up the seam that left the Vikings’ nickel defense addled and resulted in another long score.

“We have a few patterns in to where we confuse the defense when we use the switch-release,” Burton said. “They lost me on that switch-release. Cassel threw me the ball. And once you see that nickel back, who’s supposed to be sticking you, leave, you just get ready for it. You run your route to win every time.”

Burton will be fighting for a roster spot as the preseason moves on with four other receivers – Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright – all certain to make the team. The former seventh-round pick said Jennings’ arrival has accelerated his development.

“His knowledge is overwhelming,” Burton said. “He’s such a smart guy and it’s great to be in the classroom with him to pick at his brain. He’s so in tune with route running. We call him G-Smooth for a reason. He knows what to look for. He knows how to get open. He knows the game so well.”

Burton is still looking for his breakthrough. He only has seven catches for 73 yards in 15 career games. He said he is striving for more consistency as he enters his third year and certainly felt extra amped to finally be practicing in pads again.

“It’s more game-like,” he said. “The tempo is different. You get to be physical and you don’t have to worry about being overly aggressive. You’re not going in there hesitant or soft. This is game time, game speed.”

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Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 8
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 1 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 2
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 4
Houston - LP: S. Feldman 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Samardzija 13
Miami 0 Top 3rd Inning
Atlanta 2
San Diego - T. Ross 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - E. Jackson
NY Mets - D. Gee 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - M. Garza
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 7:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Kansas City - D. Duffy
Detroit - M. Scherzer 9:05 PM
LA Angels - G. Richards
Baltimore - W. Chen 9:10 PM
Seattle - H. Iwakuma
Montreal 9:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Calgary 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 7/25/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
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Seattle
Phoenix 9:30 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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