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.


(Pittsburgh's) Big Ben on London matchup with Vikings

Posted by: Chris Miller under Vikings defense, Vikings fans Updated: September 25, 2013 - 9:38 PM

Do the Big Ben jokes ever get old?

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who traveled to London on a promotional trip in July, said not yet, even though he spent part of one day posing in front of the famous English clock tower.

“It didn’t get as much run as I anticipated, so that was good,” he said. “There were a lot of pictures out there, and people didn’t make a big a deal out of it.”

Roethlisberger and the Steelers play the Vikings on Sunday, and he said he changed his attitude on the game after his tour.

“I took it as this is just a money-making thing for the NFL, but when I got over there, I got to see that there were a lot of football fans over there,” he said. “So once I got to see that, I got to see that it’s going to be neat for them and a neat experience for us, so I’ve embraced it a lot more than initially.

“There is a Steelers Nation UK, so there’s a lot of Steelers fans there, and they all told me they were going to be there.”

The Steelers, like the Vikings winless at 0-3, will fly to London after Thursday’s practice, arriving on Friday. They are the “road” team for the game.

Roethlisberger and coach Mike Tomlin talked to the Twin Cities “left behind” media today in a conference call at Winter Park, and most of the talk centered on the Steelers’ woes.  The six-time Super Bowl champions have not forced a turnover this year and are last in the NFL in rushing, making two trademarks of the team disappear in a hurry. Roethlisberger has four interceptions and the team has lost five fumbles.

“Turning the ball over -- that’s on me, and I can’t have it happen,” he said. “ If we don’t turn the ball over in critical situations, or as much as we have, then we are in most of the those games.”

Tomlin is hoping his team’s struggling offense, especially the running game, can right itself.

“We’ve turned the ball over, particularly in the red area, and obviously that takes points off the board,” he said. “People have scored directly off those turnovers, putting points directly on the board, you can’t do that in the NFL and expect to be better than 0-3. We understand that, but understanding that is only part of it, we got to rectify, we got to fix it.”

Roethlisberger has been sacked 10 times, and Tomlin said, “It’s been a multitude of things, game situations and circumstances have been a part of that -- when you’re in predictable situations because you’re behind, that’s going to dictate how certain people play football. The raw number is a product of that.  But we have to do a better job of protecting him.”

The Steelers should have their rookie running back, Le’Veon Bell, a second round choice from Michigan State, back for the game. He has been injured since preseason.  Opening day starter Isaac Redman has also been hurt, and Felix Jones is the team’s leading rusher – with only 71 yards.

Cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) also will return.

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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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