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.


Crocker didn't want to play for anyone but Zimmer

Posted by: Matt Vensel under Vikings Updated: August 4, 2014 - 5:45 PM

The Vikings have signed Chris Crocker, adding another man to the unsettled safety position group.

Crocker has played seven seasons under Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. He was with Zimmer in Atlanta in 2007 and joined him a season later in Cincinnati, where he played his last six seasons. In 2012 and 2013, Zimmer talked Crocker out of semi-retirement to bail out his Bengals secondary.

Now, with one of the safety positions here wide open, Zimmer has called on the 34-year-old again.

"You are always kind of ready, especially when you have a guy like Zim that you can play for," Crocker said. "We have a rapport and we talk often. At this point in my career, I really didn’t want to go anywhere else. I’m not starting over. I wanted to come here and play for a guy who has meant a lot to my career. I’ve given him everything I have. Just empty the gas tank and see where it goes."

The safety position next to Harrison Smith has been in flux since the start of spring workouts. Jamarca Sanford, a starter in 2012 and 2013, missed most of the spring, as did Andrew Sendejo, who returned from the PUP list earlier today and is about to take place in his first practice of the Zimmer era. Robert Blanton is out with a hamstring injury after opening camp with the first team.

"[Zimmer] said I could help these guys get better and also come in as a playmaker," Crocker said.

Crocker, at the very least, is familiar with Zimmer’s system. He started three games for the Bengals in 2013 and nine the previous season. In total, he has started 70 games in seven years with Zimmer.

"I’ve been in this scheme pretty much my whole career," Crocker said. "Just to come in, it’s the same terminology and I know most of the staff. I played with and against a lot of these guys, so I have a lot of familiarity. Zim is the ultimate [defensive backs] coach. So I take my lead from him. It shouldn’t be tough. Obviously, I know the scheme and I’ll help these guys learn it also."

Overall, Crocker has recorded 554 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 60 passes defended and 15 interceptions in 151 games over 11 NFL seasons with four teams. He started his career with the Browns in 2003.

To make room on the 90-man roster, the Vikings have released rookie defensive end Rakim Cox.

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 8 1st Qtr 2:39
Philadelphia 28
Portland 17 1st Qtr 2:57
Cleveland 20
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Boston 7:00 PM
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Houston
Denver 7:00 PM
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New Jersey
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Chicago 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Temple 20 1st Half 7:52
UCF 14
Winthrop 21 1st Half 8:13
Coastal Carolina 22
Lafayette 16 1st Half 7:58
Colgate 19
Northeastern 10 1st Half 9:59
Drexel 7
Wake Forest 19 1st Half 9:52
Florida State 8
Rhode Island 17 1st Half 8:47
Fordham 18
Delaware 24 1st Half 8:14
James Madison 19
South Carolina 15 1st Half 8:27
LSU 20
New Hampshire 19 1st Half 8:24
Maine 3
Seton Hall 20 1st Half 7:43
Marquette 20
Binghamton 17 1st Half 9:41
UMBC 10
American Univ 21 1st Half 8:26
Navy 20
Elon 8 1st Half 8:56
UNC-Wilmington 25
Wright State 24 1st Half 7:45
Oakland 15
Minnesota 18 1st Half 7:53
Penn State 22
Duquesne 15 1st Half 8:50
Richmond 33
SMU 13 1st Half 7:51
South Florida 16
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Stony Brook 14
Albany 9 1st Half 7:30
Vermont 17
Hofstra 13 1st Half 8:09
William & Mary 32
UNC-Asheville 20 1st Half 7:45
Longwood 13
Radford 6:30 PM
Char Southern
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 6:30 PM
Notre Dame
Texas Tech 6:30 PM
Oklahoma
Oregon State 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Morehead State 7:00 PM
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Kansas 8:00 PM
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Air Force 9:00 PM
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Stanford 10:00 PM
Washington
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Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
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Saint Louis 0
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Binghamton 10
Akron 16 1st Half 7:42
Ohio U 28
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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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