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 focus on Bridgewater today, Bortles Wednesday

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC Updated: March 17, 2014 - 9:30 AM

If you follow the gurus, read the mock drafts and allow yourself to actually believe anything that an NFL executive says before the draft, you know that Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is ...

A, The best quarterback in the draft and the No. 1 overall pick. Unless he's ...

B, Overrated and not as good as Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles and will be taken behind them, somewhere in the top seven picks. Unless, of course, they're ...

C, Truly falling out of favor, dropping in the draft and might be available when the Vikings are on the board at No. 8.

Somewhere amid the confusion and behind the smokescreens are answers that won't be revealed until the draft in May. The Vikings' attempt to get those answers continued Sunday when, according to an NFL.com report, they met with Bridgewater in Louisville on the eve of his much-anticipated pro day today. It's much-anticipated because, A, far too many people have been trained to overhype athletes throwing footballs and running 40-yard dashes in t-shirts and shorts in the spring, and B, Bridgewater didn't work out at the scouting combine last month.

The Vikings spent a day last week taking in Alabama's pro day. They looked at several prospects, but most notably quarterback A.J. McCarron and linebacker C.J. Mosley. You wouldn't think McCarron would be taken at No. 8, but, who knows. No one thought Christian Ponder would go No. 12 in 2011, and McCarron was a lot better college player than Ponder.

According to NFL.com, six NFL coaches are attending Bridgewater's pro day. One of them is Vikings caoch Mike Zimmer. Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman also is one of several GMs in attendance.

Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle ran an article Sunday in which University of Houston defensive coordinator David Gibbs and Rice defensive coordinator Chris Thurmond broke down the strengths and weaknesses of Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles. Both D-coordinators faced all three last season.

Gibbs, a former Gophers defensive coordinator and NFL defensive backs coach, said of Bortles and Bridgewater: “I see two safe picks. … I don’t see the bust.”

Meanwhile, Thurmond might have summed up how a lot of us feel about Manziel entering the next level.

"He's like carrying nitroglycerin around," Thurmond said. "If you put it in the trunk of your car, you might get where you're going. But, boy, you're always afraid it's going to blow up."

Bortles' pro day is Wednesday. Manziel's is March 27.

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San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
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Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
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Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
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Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
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Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
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Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
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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 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
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

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