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 position-by-position snapshot: Wide receiver/Tight end

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: April 30, 2014 - 7:55 AM

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has brought in a plethora of receivers and tight ends over the last few years to make it one of the strongest areas on the team.

Spielman signed Greg Jennings last year to give the Vikings a No. 1 receiver and traded back up in the first round to select Cordarrelle Patterson with the 29th pick. While rarely used at the start of the season serving as Jerome Simpson’s backup, Patterson role on offense gradually increased. He eventually proved to be just as dynamic as he was in college scoring nine total touchdowns as a receiver, running back and kick returner.

The team re-signed Jerome Simpson to a third consecutive one-year deal in the offseason to give the Vikings a vertical threat. Simpson didn’t miss a game for the second time in his career last season and finished with his most productive season in Minnesota (48 receptions, 726 receiving yards and a touchdown).

The Vikings will get their top tight end back this year too. Kyle Rudolph missed most of the season with a broken foot he suffered in Week 9 against the Cowboys. The team’s second round pick in 2011 is approaching a contract season and could have his most productive season yet, trumping 2012 when Rudolph posted career-highs in receptions (53), receiving yards (493) and touchdowns (9). Through eight games last year, he was on track to set career-highs with 30 receptions and 313 receiving yards until the injury.

John Carlson is the biggest loss at the position after both sides couldn’t agree on a pay cut. The Litchfield, Minn. native couldn’t stay healthy and never produced to the five-year, $25 million contract he signed in 2012. Carlson signed with the Cardinals in the offseason.

PROJECTED STARTERS: Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Rudolph

DON’T FORGET ABOUT: Jarius Wright made strides in his second season. He had two touchdowns against the Seahawks, burning cornerback Richard Sherman on a double move in the process. Wright also had 162 of his 434 receiving yards in the final three games.

LEVEL OF NEED: Medium. The Vikings seem set at wide receiver after bringing Jerome Simpson back on a one-year deal to give them four solid options. There’s depth concern at tight end however behind Rudolph. Chase Ford, Allen Reisner and Rhett Ellison are currently the backup options.

FIVE PROSPECTS TO REMEMBER: TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE Arthur Lynch, TE Crockett Gilmore, WR Devin Street, WR Cody Hoffman, WR Kevin Norwood

OUR BEST GUESS: The Vikings look for competition at wide receiver in the undrafted free agent market. There are some bigger needs to address to use a draft pick on a wideout and it’s a deep class. While tight end is down the list among needs, look for the Vikings to grab one on Day 3.

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Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 2
Texas - LP: J. Williams 2 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 12
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 4
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 5 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 3
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3 FINAL
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 4
Minnesota - LP: C. Fien 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Guerra 10
Toronto - LP: A. Loup 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Veras 3
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 1 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 0
Pittsburgh 4 Top 9th Inning
Arizona 4
Atlanta 1 Bottom 7th Inning
San Diego 6
Chicago Cubs 8 Bottom 6th Inning
Los Angeles 1
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/7/14 6:00 PM
NY Jets
San Francisco 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New England 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Washington
Cincinnati 8/7/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
Seattle 8/7/14 8:00 PM
Denver
Dallas 8/7/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Winnipeg 27 FINAL
Hamilton 26
Toronto 31 FINAL
Montreal 5
Brt Columbia 19 8:51
Calgary 21
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
Winnipeg 8/12/14 6:30 PM
Toronto
Connecticut 89 FINAL
San Antonio 79
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
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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