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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Los Angeles 7 Top 9th Inning
Chicago Cubs 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia 0 Top 3rd Inning
Oakland 0
Toronto 1 Top 3rd Inning
NY Yankees 0
Arizona 0 Top 3rd Inning
Colorado 1
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
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Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
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Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
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Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
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Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 4th Qtr 14:24
Colorado 21
Marshall 41 3rd Qtr 2:15
Akron 3
North Carolina 20 2nd Qtr 10:01
East Carolina 21
Army 14 2nd Qtr 2:28
Wake Forest 14
Virginia 13 2nd Qtr 5:21
(21) BYU 10
(6) Texas A&M 31 2nd Qtr 7:05
SMU 0
Rutgers 17 2nd Qtr 7:08
Navy 7
Central Mich 3 2nd Qtr 3:09
Kansas 7
Utah 10 2nd Qtr 5:12
Michigan 3
Florida 14 2nd Qtr 11:58
(3) Alabama 14
Louisville 7 1st Qtr 11:28
FIU 0
Fla Atlantic 3 2nd Qtr 14:56
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Texas State 14 2nd Qtr
Illinois 6
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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 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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