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 owner supports openly gay player

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under NFL draft Updated: February 10, 2014 - 5:14 PM

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf supported openly gay Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who is expected to be chosen in the May NFL draft, calling Sam's decision to announce he is gay as “courageous” in a statement Monday.

“We commend Michael Sam for being very courageous with his openness on something of such a personal nature,” Wilf said. “His comments will have no impact on how the Vikings view Michael as a football player or as a person. If a player can help us win, we will warmly welcome him as part of the team and provide an accepting, respectful and supportive environment to help him succeed in the NFL.”

Sam, an All-America and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year last season, has been projected as a third to fifth-round choice by most NFL analysts. At 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds, he is considered a bit too small for defensive end and not quick enough for linebacker. NFL scouts have raved about Sam’s pass rushing ability, which has been a lacking trait in this year’s class.

The Vikings’ coaching staff has spent the day in draft meetings and will get a second chance to observe Sam at the NFL Combine next week. Sam also participated in the Senior Bowl last month.

One of the members on staff, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, is the center of an independent review regarding claims from former punter Chris Kluwe of anti-gay remarks. Kluwe had dinner with Sam on Saturday, the day before his announcement went public.

New Vikings coach Mike Zimmer retained Priefer, who was the 2012 NFL special teams coach of the year, and addressed the issure on Saturday, saying about Priefer, “good guy, great guy; great person, great family man. Just like our other coaches, he’s going to approach his job every single day. It’s extremely, extremely important to him to do a great job. He’s a team first guy all the way.”

Assistant coach added

The Vikings added former NFL center Hank Fraley to their coaching staff. He will be the assistant offensive line coach.

Fraley spent 11 seasons in the NFL with Philadelphia (2000-05), Cleveland (2006-09) and St. Louis (2010).  He was assistant line coach at the University of San Diego in 2012 and spent last season as the offensive line coach at San Jose State.

Fraley played college football at Robert Morris, and is the first alum from that university to play in a Super Bowl. He was the starting center for Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX.

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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 Noon

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