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 DBs coach Jerry Gray praises Harrison Smith's film

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: March 4, 2014 - 2:43 PM

Vikings defensive backs coach Jerry Gray said on Tuesday that safety Harrison Smith has shown “glimpses” when asked if he could develop into the best player on defense.

“When you look at him, you’ve got those glimpses,” Gray said on KFAN. “The biggest thing that you want to do is of course you want him to be on the field for 16 games, hopefully 20; that means you keep going into the playoffs. You look at him and he has something that you want. I remember talking to him at the train station a couple years ago at the Combine. Smart guy, he gives you a chance to go out there and hopefully make all the calls on the defense. But that’s just what I’ve seen on film. That’s why I can’t wait to get to talk to him in person."

More from Gray’s radio interview:

On Gray’s philosophy with defensive backs

"The first thing we talk about is what is their aspirations because, number one, they have to have a goal in mind. I have a goal for them – I want you to be the best in the league. I want you to make as much money as you possibly can. Rick may not like that but to me, that’s what my job is. My job is to make sure I get you to be the best in the NFL and then when somebody else wants you that means we’ve done a good job here; but they have to want that also. I can’t make you do something. I want you to see what I want or where you want to go and hopefully my vision and your vision meet up together.

"And then we talk a lot of technique because, to me, I think technique tells you where you want to go. Schemes start every play but technique finishes it and if we can technique sound and be really good at technique then we can probably win a lot of football games."

On whether ball skills can be taught at this level in regards to cornerback Chris Cook

"There’s some things you can do. I think we can, number one, we can catch a lot of footballs after practice or before practice and make that a priority. Then there’s little games that guys go through. I would love to get a chance whenever Chris comes in to get a chance to talk to him and see what happens on certain play. When he’s in position to make the play and it doesn’t happen, what’s your thought process because your thought is going to determine what you’re actually going to do on that play."

On what enticed Gray to Minnesota

"The coaching staff. I think coach [Mike] Zimmer, I’ve always respected him from afar. I’ve watched his defense. I know what he teaches and knowing him when he was in the Cowboys and knowing Norv Turner, he was actually the receivers coach when I was with the Rams; so I know Norv growing up, and I know what offense he brings. Getting a chance to be around, I think, other really good coaches that have a great background a great degree in football is really good for me. And now it gives me a chance to mix my technique with coach Zimmer’s defense. It’s going to be his defense and George is going to be running it. I respect George and what he’s done. He’s been a coordinator in Buffalo and also in college.

"Those are things I look for this time as far as a staff. To me, the staff was probably more important. How can you go in as a staff and really establish yourself in the National Football League other than trying to have some guys come up through the ranks."

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City 7:25 PM
Oakland
NY Jets 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
Seattle
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 9:30 PM
Sacramento
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Tampa Bay 6:30 PM
Toronto
St. Louis 6:30 PM
Montreal
Nashville 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Detroit 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Arizona 7:30 PM
Dallas
Washington 8:00 PM
Colorado
Chicago 8:00 PM
Calgary
Anaheim 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Carolina 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Florida 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas A&M 53 FINAL
Dayton 55
USC 46 FINAL
Akron 66
Coll of Charleston 57 FINAL
Connecticut 65
Drexel 46 FINAL
Miami-Florida 66
New Mexico 42 2nd Half 13:59
Boston College 47
Penn State 38 2nd Half 17:58
Charlotte 47
Detroit 13 1st Half 8:35
Michigan 13
Eckerd 6:00 PM
UCF
VU of Lynchburg 6:00 PM
East Carolina
Texas 6:00 PM
Iowa
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
NC State
Navy 6:00 PM
Providence
Grambling St 6:00 PM
Purdue
UMass Lowell 6:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Keystone 6:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Niagara 6:00 PM
Saint Peters
Palm Beach Atlantic 6:00 PM
Stetson
Texas Southern 6:00 PM
Tennessee
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
SUNY-Westbury 6:00 PM
Wagner
Bluefield (VA) 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Bob Jones Univ 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Bryant
Fordham 6:30 PM
Maryland
Howard 6:30 PM
Radford
Cornell 6:30 PM
South Carolina
Champions Bapt 6:30 PM
UT Martin
George Mason 6:30 PM
West Virginia
South Florida 7:00 PM
UAB
UC Davis 7:00 PM
Eastern Ill
Fla Atlantic 7:00 PM
Harvard
SMU 7:00 PM
Indiana
Franklin Pierce 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Southern U 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Brescia 7:00 PM
Murray State
North Florida 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Winthrop 7:00 PM
Savannah State
Fisk 7:00 PM
Tennessee St
New Orleans 7:00 PM
TCU
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
Tulane
Bucknell 7:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
LSU-Alexandria
Morgan State 7:30 PM
Northern Iowa
Southern Miss 8:00 PM
Alabama
Loyola Marymount 8:00 PM
Arizona State
Syracuse 8:00 PM
California
Idaho 8:00 PM
Northern Ill
Lipscomb 8:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Texas-Arlington 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Fresno State 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Pacific Union 9:00 PM
Pacific
Denver 9:00 PM
St Marys-CA
CS-Bakersfield 9:30 PM
San Diego St
Nicholls 10:00 PM
UCLA
Bowling Green 20 FINAL
Toledo 27
Kent State 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
(12) Kansas State 6:00 PM
West Virginia
North Carolina 6:30 PM
(25) Duke
Arkansas State 8:30 PM
Texas State
Kent State 11/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Texas-El Paso 11/21/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Air Force 11/21/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
San Jose St 11/21/14 8:30 PM
Utah State
Char Southern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11/22/14 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(18) Marshall 11/22/14 11:00 AM
UAB
Kansas 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(23) Oklahoma
Indiana 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
(14) Eastern Ky 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Florida
TX-San Antonio 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11/22/14 11:00 AM
UCF
Virginia Tech 11/22/14 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 11/22/14 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich
New Mexico 11/22/14 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Louisiana
Tulsa 11/22/14 2:00 PM
Houston
(15) Arizona 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 11/22/14 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Arkansas
Louisville 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Texas Tech 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Syracuse 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Boston College 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Tulane 11/22/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 11/22/14 3:00 PM
California
Western Carolina 11/22/14 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 11/22/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 11/22/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
Colorado 11/22/14 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 11/22/14 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Virginia
Vanderbilt 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 11/22/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
Oklahoma State 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 11/22/14 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 11/22/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut
Boise State 11/22/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
Washington
Fresno State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
UNLV 11/22/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Webber International 41 FINAL
Florida A&M 52
San Jose St 58 2nd Half 11:54
UC-Riverside 60
Norfolk State 40 2nd Half 13:09
Radford 33
Washington Adventist 4:30 PM
Morgan State
Alabama State 10 1st Half 11:44
Savannah State 22
VA Commonwealth 10 1st Half 14:14
MD-Eastern Shore 5
Southern U 7 1st Half 12:27
Ole Miss 18
Monmouth 6:00 PM
Long Island
Bethune-Cookman 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
St Thomas (TX) 6:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Boston U 6:00 PM
Boston College
Clemson 6:00 PM
(2) South Carolina
(7) Duke 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Belmont 6:00 PM
(12) Louisville
Fla Gulf Coast 6:00 PM
Auburn
Florida 6:00 PM
St Johns
James Madison 6:00 PM
American Univ
Philander Smith 6:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Tougaloo 6:00 PM
Grambling
Virginia 6:00 PM
Xavier
Murray State 6:00 PM
Wright State
Providence 6:00 PM
Hartford
Holy Cross 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
Northern Ill
Detroit 6:00 PM
Ohio U
St Bonaventure 6:00 PM
Toledo
Mary Washington 6:00 PM
Navy
Michigan 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Davidson 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
Longwood 6:00 PM
Richmond
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
(17) West Virginia 7:00 PM
Miss State
Concordia-Austin 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Western Ill 7:00 PM
Chicago State
Albany 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Drake 7:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Memphis 7:00 PM
Illinois
Arkansas 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
LSU-Alexandria 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Vanderbilt 7:00 PM
Wisconsin
Utah 7:05 PM
Creighton
Weber State 8:00 PM
Air Force
(10) Texas 8:00 PM
(6) Stanford
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Utah State
New Mexico St 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
South Dakota 9:00 PM
Washington
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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 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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers and Vikings do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT