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.


Bridgewater still taking 'virtual reps'; Barr catching up

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Rookies, Vikings, Kevin Williams Updated: June 18, 2014 - 3:58 PM

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was asked at the NFL Combine in February whether it was true that he was so obsessed with football that he doesn’t think about anything else.

“Yes. I eat, sleep and breathe football,” Bridgewater responded. “There’s not a moment that goes by that I’m not thinking about football whether it’s I’m playing a game, practicing, watching film, even on the video game. A lot of people ask me what do I do on the video game. I call it taking virtual reps. Each day, I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to outwork my opponent, outsmart my opponent and just try to be the best quarterback that I can be.”

Bridgewater said on Wednesday he’s still taking “virtual reps” in the NFL as well. He said video games are so advanced that the defenses in the game are similar to those in real life.

“I try to take as many reps as I can,” Bridgewater said. “Whether it’s on a video game, playing EA Madden Football or in the playbook, just drawing it or visualizing it in my head, I try to maximize every rep I can get and every opportunity that I can take.

“It helps because you get one more rep than you had in practice, actual practice. Any chance you get to take an extra rep or go the extra step, extra mile, it’s going to be very beneficial transferring it to the field.”

Other notes:

*Bridgewater also touched on his deep ball accuracy, which offensive coordinator Norv Turner said has been ‘outstanding’ so far. It was considered a weakness of Bridgewater by many draft pundits.

“It’s just been all footwork – laying it and playing,” Bridgewater said on the improvement. “I’ve been able to watch Matt [Cassel], watch Christian [Ponder] and watch how those guys have had great success throwing the deep ball and try to apply some of the things that they’re doing to my game also.

*Linebacker Anthony Barr felt he’s coming along well despite his month long absence due to NFL restrictions on rookies that haven’t finished their finals.

“I was real bored,” Barr said of the layoff. “The longest four weeks, really. It was a good time for me to kind of decompress a little bit and get my mind right for this.

“There's a little bit of a learning curve, missing OTAs but it kind of is what it is,” Barr said. “I’ve just got to catch up and continue to watch film and continue to get better.”

Barr has been mixed in as a linebacker in the base 4-3 and nickel. He’s also been used with his hand in the ground while at defensive end, which Barr said he’s never done before.

“That’s something that’s still real new to me, and something I worked on when I was gone,” Barr said. “So, I’m going to continue to improve on as I continue to practice it.”

 *The Vikings released a statement from general manager Rick Spielman thanking former defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who signed with the Seahawks, for 11 seasons with the franchise.

“Kevin Williams earned a place in Vikings history and continued the proud tradition of great defensive linemen to wear purple. Kevin’s work ethic, humility and team-first approach is a model for younger players. A 6-time Pro Bowler and 5-time 1st-Team All-Pro, Kevin was honored as an NFL All-Decade player for the 2000s along with a spot on the 50 Greatest Vikings squad. We wish him the best and will always count him as a member of the Vikings family.”

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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 NoonX13-9

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