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 4 Downs: Safeties, Patterson, Jabari Price, cuts

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: June 23, 2014 - 8:30 AM

Every Monday morning during the offseason we’ll take four questions from Twitter for our weekly mailbag using the #VikingsST hashtag.

It’s been a rotation so far with Robert Blanton taking the majority of the first team reps during mandatory minicamp last week. Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo have been out of 11-on-11 sessions up to this point, so the depth chart at the position should change once we get to training camp. I’d think Sanford and Sendejo would receive most of the reps from the start of training camp if they’re healthy and go from there.

Josh Robinson was a full participant during minicamp last week and immediately jumped in with the first team in its nickel package. I’d think he’s the guy if he continues to develop technique. He didn’t play well last year before he fractured his sternum but don’t give up on Robinson, who said he wasn’t comfortable playing the slot corner in the nickel last year. He’ll be back on the outside for the most part. The only other person at this point that has a shot at the third corner spot outside of Robinson is Derek Cox.

Every way imaginable. Short, intermediate, deep routes and trick plays like we saw last year. Patterson said he went into this offseason trying to understand every wide receiver position so he wouldn’t be limited like last year.

An offense like this can really benefit athletic receivers that can gain yards after the catch. Using Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon as an example last season under Turner, he had 87 catches and led the league with 1,646 receiving yards. He finished fifth 637 yards after the catch, which counted for 38.6 percent of his receiving yards.

A much smaller sample size with Patterson, but we’ve seen what he can do after he catches the ball. He had 45 catches for 469 yards with 293 of those yards after the catch. So 62.4 percent of his receiving yards occurred after the catch.

Now take in the fact that Patterson had developed as a route runner and has done a better job of completing the catch in traffic so far this offseason. I questioned whether Patterson would be a 1,000-yard receiver this season and wanted to see improvement in both areas, which he has, but we’ll see if that changes when the players wear pads in training camp. If he still looks good in pads, Patterson will have a monster year.

I don’t think he can crack the rotation at cornerback, but he’s someone that can make the team on special teams and has already been used there during minicamp.

Price doesn’t get a ton of reps during 11-on-11 but the focal point during the individual reps he gets has been technique. Head coach Mike Zimmer had pulled him aside after a 1-on-1 rep last week to break down his technique on the play. There’s a specific way Zimmer wants cornerbacks to use their hips, hands, feet and eyes.

From those 1-on-1 battles though, Price is an aggressive corner that doesn’t lack confidence. At the end of one of the 1-on-1 periods, Price caught Captain Munnerlyn sleeping and ran out on the field to face Greg Jennings for the last rep. He’s doing all he can to get on the field, but it’ll be difficult to surpass the top four corners (Xavier Rhodes, Munnerlyn, Robinson, Cox).

Slow down, Jonathan. It’s June 23! We haven’t even seen these guys in pads yet, so it’s way too early to even think about cuts. Get back to me in a month.

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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 Noon

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