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.


Zimmer: Vikings CB Chris Cook has some ability

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Vikings, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams Updated: March 6, 2014 - 2:52 PM

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is a self-proclaimed “fixer.” He’ll accept every challenge to work his magic and fix a player, even unrestricted free agent cornerback Chris Cook.

Zimmer and Cook spoke on Monday, according to Cook’s Twitter account where he Cook said Zimmer “told me like it is.”

When asked about his impression of Cook from the meeting, Zimmer said, “I don’t know. My impression is that he probably shouldn’t be tweeting our conversations.”

Zimmer doesn’t know how to tweet, but he’d like to keep those conversations private. But “The Fixer” does think Cook has potential despite an underwhelming four seasons with the Vikings.

“H­e’s a guy that has some ability that I’ve had some luck in the past with, getting guys to play good that have ability,” Zimmer said. “So if he comes back here then I’m going to coach him as hard as I can and see if I can get him to play good.”

Cook saw Zimmer's comments on Twitter and responded. Once again, Zimmer doesn't know how to tweet and only knew that Cook tweeted the two met on Monday.

Other notes from Zimmer’s lunch and film session with the media on Thursday:

* The Vikings released wide receiver Greg Childs and defensive tackle Letroy Guion.

* Zimmer wants every Vikings free agent back, including quarterback Matt Cassel, defensive ends Jared Allen and Everson Griffen and defensive tackle Kevin Williams (all were asked), but he knows that won’t be the case.

“But there comes a point where money that they’re getting, or money that they’re asking or money that we’re willing to pay; there’s a line there somewhere,” Zimmer said. “If it crosses the line on that part or if it crosses the line on how much they’re willing play then we understand that it’s not going to happen. But we’d like to have them if it can work out.”

Zimmer said he’s not sure if it will happen but wants Cassel back. He’s recently expressed that to Cassel in a conversation.

“He’s got a bunch of pretty girls looking at him right now,” Zimmer said. “And he wants to explore and see what’s best for him. I don’t blame any of these guys. In free agency, I think that’s why they have the rules is that they get a chance to go see what their market’s worth. Then if they find a better situation than what they think is here then I think that’s everywhere.”

* Zimmer still hasn’t decided whether he will call defensive plays next season. He will use the first two preseason games to experiment with the situation.

“ I think on Sundays I do a pretty good job as far that kind of stuff. So I feel if it can help us best win games by me starting to do it then I will, but I haven’t made that decision totally yet.”

* The Vikings also announced their offseason schedule. Veteran mini-camp will be from April 28-May 1, rookie mini-camp from May 15-18 and mandatory mini-camp from June 17-19. 

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2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
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Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
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