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 GM Rick Spielman aiming to add draft picks

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: February 8, 2014 - 1:56 PM

The Vikings currently have eight picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, however general manager Rick Spielman wants to add at least two more picks.

Spielman said the team’s annual goal is to compile at least 10 draft selections. The Vikings have a pick in every round with an extra third rounder received from Seattle in a trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin last year.

“We have eight right now and a lot of that [movement] doesn’t happen until you’re on the clock,” Spielman said on Saturday during the 19th annual Arctic Blast snowmobile rally to benefit the Vikings Children’s Fund. “Heck, last year they pulled me out of a press conference to go get [Cordarrelle] Patterson because you never know. But I really, really think we’re going to do a lot of movement in the draft.”

Spielman thinks the Vikings have a lot of flexibility with the eighth overall pick and plans to be aggressive in the draft with the idea of trading down for more picks, or up for a certain player.

“Everything is a possibility; we’re in February,” Spielman said.

Other notes from Spielman’s 18-minute talk:

*He said he’s seen about 10 quarterbacks so far in this draft class, both in person and on film.

“There’s all shapes, sizes and flavors. There’s some guys coming off ACL [injuries] and you want to see where they’re at, but I think there’s going to be depth in this quarterback draft class that you’re not going to be forced to take one in the first; maybe a guy that we’re picking in the second, or maybe a guy we’re picking in the third. That’s where if you’re not sold on a guy at the number eight overall pick, lets say hypothetically you trade back and accumulate two, three more picks in that first three rounds, then that gives you the flexibility  to move back up in the second, or the bottom of the first.

“There’s so many things that can happen, but we have to get to the bottom of it first where we’re honing in on guys. Once we hone on specific traits we’re looking for at that position and we say, ‘These are three guys that we are really want.’ I’ll have a pretty good indication of where we’ll be able to get those guys at what point in the draft but all that will play itself out.”

*Asked if there’s a possibility quarterback Matt Cassel could return, Spielman once again said everything is a possibility this offseason.

“From a business standpoint, you knew that was going to come. Basically, Matt’s done a great job for us. We’ve already been in contact with his agent. I talked to Matt two nights ago on the phone. Technically, he’s a UFA now, and I’m sure we’ll be visiting with his agent down the road as we go.”

*On releasing linebacker Erin Henderson: “Erin was a good player for us but those are some of the difficult decisions you have to make. We’re always going to be there for Erin in any type of capacity if he needs support in any way, shape or form. He’s done a lot of great things for our organization. I know he’s had a rough stretch down here, and those are tough decisions to make, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about Erin Henderson the person.”

*On keeping special teams coordinator Mike Priefer on staff: “Mike’s a very good football coach. I know he’s well respected for what he does on the field. He’s a great family man and individual off the field, and I have the upmost respect for Mike Priefer.

“I’m not going to talk about anything on the investigation until it’s complete.”

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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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