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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Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston 2 Top 3rd Inning
Baltimore 0
Milwaukee 0 Top 3rd Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Washington 0 Top 3rd Inning
Miami 1
NY Mets 3 Top 3rd Inning
Atlanta 0
Chicago WSox 0 Top 3rd Inning
Tampa Bay 2
Cleveland 0 Delayed
Minnesota 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Houston 5
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Navy 24
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Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
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FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
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Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
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Minnesota 24
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Illinois 19
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(8) LSU 0
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Arkansas 21
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Memphis 9
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Arkansas State 0
Miami-Ohio 7 2nd Qtr 15:00
Cincinnati 7
Idaho 0 2nd Qtr 13:55
Ohio U 10
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South Alabama 0
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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 Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
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