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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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 NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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