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.


Vikings Rewind: Shaun Prater's first career interception

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier Updated: December 18, 2013 - 10:34 AM

The situation: With the Vikings up 24-9 with 10:30 left in the third quarter, the Eagles attempted a play action pass to wide receiver DeSean Jackson at the Vikings 44-yard line.

The reason: The Eagles had to abandon the run with such a deficit and picked up 13 and 16 yards on pass plays on a drive that started at their own 20. They were looking for a home run play on first down.

The result: Cornerback Shaun Prater incepted quarterback Nick Foles’ pass and returned it 30 yards to the Vikings 35.

"If you had a camera on me this entire week, I’ve spent so much time watching film, stretch, watching more film," Prater said. "Just asking the coaches everything, being a little gnat and it showed."

How it happened:

The Vikings are in a Cover 3 look. Jackson (in red) is in motion pre-snap, which the linebackers adjust their alignment. Safety Jamarca Sanford creeps up to the line to contain a possible run or drop back in coverage. 

It's a play action incorporating running back LeSean McCoy. The linebackers and Sanford react by dropping into their assignments. Prater (in yellow) is down the field covering wide receiver Riley Cooper on a post route, but Jackson (in red) is open.

Prater (in yellow) realizes there's help over the top with safety Harrison Smith (in blue), and breaks off to cover Jackson (in red), who heads upfield on his route.

"Usually, that’s a guy who has been playing a while and has been in that situation a number of times and makes that play," head coach Leslie Frazier said. "But his awareness and his acute alertness of what needed to happen was impressive to see. He made some other plays too that shows you he’s a very aware guy and very smart football player."

Foles throws it to Jackson right as Prater (in yellow) breaks off to cover Jackson. Defensive end Jared Allen brought pressure that forced the throw downfield.

Prater makes the interception and does a good job understanding where he's at on the sideline to get both feet in bounds and allow for a return.

"At the last second, I see 10 (Jackson) peel out," Prater said. "With the quarterback throwing it up high, it gave me time to make a play on the football."

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