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.


Ponder optimistic he will play Sunday

Posted by: Chip Scoggins under Vikings players, Vikings road games Updated: November 14, 2013 - 1:30 PM

Quarterback Christian Ponder remains optimistic that he will play Sunday against Seattle after suffering a dislocated left shoulder last week.

Ponder was limited in practice on Wednesday but he's encouraged by the progress he's made this week.

"Honestly it's a lot better than I expected to be all week," he said Thursday. "I was a little pessmistic about what was going to happen over the weekend. I was very uncomfortable. I woke up Monday and Tuesday and I kept feeling better and better. Our training staff has done such a great job of getting me to feel better. So I threw it around a lot more than I expected to [Wednesday]. And each day it's going to keep getting better.''

Ponder said he will wear a harness on his shoulder to protect it.

"I don't think I'm going to wear padding," he said. "I'm going to wear a harness, which people usually wear when they dislocate a shoulder to keep it in place. But I'm not going to wear any extra padding or anything.''

The Seahawks are a physical defense that already has collected 31 sacks, fifth most in the NFL. Ponder said he's not concerned about taking contact.

"I don't know how it's going to feel," he said. "Obviously, I'm going to get hit at some point. Hopefully not. But we'll see how it ends up feeling. But I'm sure it will it be a little painful and hopefully the Seahawks don't have a target on it.''

Jared on Percy, Bevell and Taylor Swift

Jared Allen's weekly media session was particularly entertaining.

Here are a few highlights:

On Seattle's home-field advantage: "They talk about tough environments to play in, it’s just loud. The fans aren't going to come on the field and attack you or anything. Well, I hope not. People talk about ‘Oh, it’s a crazy environment.' It's just fans screaming like they're supposed to. It's just loud. But it makes it fun."

On possibly seeing Percy Harvin lined up on the other side: "I sure hope he isn’t. Percy is good enough, let alone coming back with fresh legs and [ticked] off at us. ... Percy is the type of guy you’ve got to stop him before he starts. You can’t let him get going. You can’t let him get in the open field. That’s where he’s dangerous, those second-effort plays. We obviously got see first-hand what he can do. He’s a tough kid. If he’s in there, we’re going to have to go hit him."

On former Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell: "We went to a Taylor Swift concert together, which was awkward. I thought I was at like a Hannah Montana concert for a while. Like, what is going on, here? My wife and I were like, do you think we need to leave? There was like spirit fingers and choreographed dances. I was in the wrong place.

"[Bevell's] kids wanted to go. I knew someone’s road manager. I’m huge country music fan. When Taylor first came out, I liked her music. But I had never been to her concert. I was assuming it was going to be a normal concert. It was a like Tween concert. I’m like, what is going on?"

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Texas - WP: N. Martinez 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 4
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 4
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 9 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 5
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 8 FINAL
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 5
Atlanta - LP: D. Carpenter 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: M. Melancon 3
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NY Yankees - LP: D. Huff 2
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LA Angels - WP: C. Rasmus 8 FINAL
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 3
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 7
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 3
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 4 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 5 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 0
Kansas City - LP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 5
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: R. Hernandez 1
Pittsburgh 8/21/14 6:30 PM
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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 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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