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.


Personnel changes? Not at Winter Park

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC, Leslie Frazier, Vikings defense, Vikings injury report Updated: September 23, 2013 - 2:06 PM

Big changes aren’t a coming at Winter Park, says Leslie Frazier, who’s trying hard to keep a calm hand on the wheel of an 0-3 Vikings team.

“I don’t know if change for the sake of change is the right thing to do, from my perspective,” said Frazier, whose team boards a plane for London at 7 tonight. “You got to be able to stand in front of the guys in the locker room and talk to them about why you’re making the change. Then it’s got to be something you feel like is going to help your football team be successful. So change for change sake – I don’t totally buy into that.”

So if you’re pleading for personnel changes, including one at a certain position called quarterback, it’s not going to happen. At least not this week.

“There’s a lot of different things you can do, other than personnel, to change things up a little bit,” Frazier said. “And I’ve taken that approach at times. But when you make those changes, you want to have a reason why you’re doing it.”

It’s not just Ponder, Ponder, Ponder:

For the umpteenth time, Frazier said he’s seen enough from Christian Ponder to believe he is the best option at quarterback. There were Purple breakdowns all over the field in all three phases of the game on Sunday. Ponder didn’t help the situation by completing only 25 of 42 passes for 228 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, one lost fumble and a 64.4 passer rating.

Frustrated fans at Mall of America started a “Let’s Go Cassel!” chant in the third quarter after one of the team’s six three-and-out possessions in the 31-27 loss to the Browns. Cassel is Matt Cassel, former fan villain in Kansas City and now apparent savior in the Twin Cities.

“[Ponder] made some plays for us yesterday that we needed,” Frazier said. “There were some other plays that we needed to make that we didn’t always get. But he’ll have to keep growing and keep developing. We’re doing enough things that are not right across the board that are affecting our won-loss record, and it’s not just the quarterback position. He has to play better, but so do some other groups on our football team. I don’t think where we are is necessarily purely because of Christian Ponder.”

Injury update

Frazier said the three defensive backs who left Sunday’s game – cornerback Chris Cook (groin), cornerback A.J. Jefferson (ankle) and strong safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) – will have magnetic resonance imaging exams today.

Asked if he was concerned that any of them would miss Sunday’s game against the Steelers, Frazier said, “Not at this point, but it’s kind of early. So, I’ll have to wait at least until the end of the day to get some results back.”

Felton returns

Fullback Jerome Felton will return from this three-game NFL-mandated suspension for violation of the league's substance abuse policy, relating to a DWI arrest.  To make room for Felton on the roster, rookie fullback Zach Line went on injured reserve.

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Toronto 0 Top 4th Inning
NY Yankees 0
Washington - G. Gonzalez 3:05 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
St. Louis - S. Miller 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
Baltimore - B. Norris 3:10 PM
Seattle - C. Young
Arizona - J. Collmenter 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - C. Lee
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - O. Despaigne 6:10 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Miami - T. Koehler 6:10 PM
Houston - J. Cosart
Boston - J. Lackey 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 6:10 PM
Minnesota - L. Darnell
Cleveland - Z. McAllister 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Oakland - S. Gray 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:10 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw 8:05 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit - J. Verlander 8:05 PM
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker
Sporting Kansas City 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
New England
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 23 FINAL
Brt Columbia 6
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 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
Ottawa
Los Angeles 3:00 PM
Seattle
Indiana 7:00 PM
San Antonio
New York 9:00 PM
Phoenix
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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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