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.


Henderson increases practice work

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Vikings players, Adrian Peterson, Anthony Herrera, Antoine Winfield, Bernard Berrian, E.J. Henderson, John Sullivan, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin, Ryan Longwell, Tarvaris Jackson Updated: August 6, 2010 - 12:19 PM

MANKATO -- Middle linebacker E.J. Henderson continued to gradually increase his workload in practice Friday and said his left leg has responded well.

"I still haven't taken anybody down fully to the ground yet so I'll be looking forward to that live contact," he said. "But we're going to take it slow. We're only in day No. 8. So keep trying to improve every day."

Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Henderson got 16 snaps in team drills on Thursday and 20 in Friday's morning session.

"We're gradually putting him in more and more situations and seeing how he responds and so far, so good," Frazier said. "He hasn't complained about any soreness or anything."

Frazier said it's still too early to tell whether Henderson, who broke his leg last December, will be ready for the season opener Sept. 9.

"It's hard to say," Frazier said. "We're just giving him a few more reps each day just to see what he can handle, but nobody really knows what's going to be the end point."

Henderson said he still thinks about his leg but it's not a mental hurdle.

"Not really totally out of mind," he said. "It's still cold so I've got to warm it up so of course I'm thinking about it. But as far as when I'm out there playing, it's all football and no thoughts about injuries."

  • Right guard Anthony Herrera didn't seem too happy by comments from ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi when asked about criticism of the offensive line. Asked about national talk that the line needs to show improvement, Herrera said: "Definitely, especially my man Tedy Bruschi. It is what it is. He was on TV yesterday saying that maybe it's a good thing that Brett [Favre] don't make it back for the Saints game because of whatever happened last year. If that's how he feels, that's how he feels. But we'll show them. ... It's personal. People out there saying things like that about us. That's our job to block so we're going to take it personal."
  • The Vikings had a "spirited" practice in the morning, according to Frazier. The 9-on-7 run drill got the intensity going as players started jawing some. "Guys were really getting after it," Frazier said. "Tempers were a little bit raised today, which was a good thing. Kind of something we need for training camp."
  • Frazier said rookie Chris Cook will remain at left corner and not get reps on the right side for now. Cook is working with the second team behind Antoine Winfield. "I think it serves [Cook] best at this point to stay at left, get his footwork down, get comfortable there," Frazier said. "There may come a time when we will take a look at him at right but I think for now let him get what he can at left and get comfortable there."
  • Special teams coordinator Brian Murphy said Ryan Longwell and Rhys Lloyd will split kicking duties in the first two preseason games by halfs. One will handle kickoffs and field goals in the first half and the other will take the second. Lloyd hasn't done much work on kickoffs in camp, but Murphy said both kickers are in good shape with their legs. "The volume hasn't been a lot but we're looking for quality," Murphy said. "If you kick one, make sure it's a good one because you don't want to have to go back and repeat."
  • Fullback Fahu Tahi strained his right calf in special teams period and did not return.
  • Adrian Peterson participated in individual drills but was held out of any team work. Peterson had missed five practices because of tightness in his left leg.
  • Chris Cook made another terrific play in 11-on-11. He stayed tight on Bernard Berrian on a 50-yard pass down the sideline from Tarvaris Jackson and knocked the ball away at the last second.
  • Rookie Marcus Sherels had two interceptions -- one during 7-on-7 and another during a third-down team period.
  • Percy Harvin remained absent after the death of his grandmother.
  • Benny Sapp, Darius Reynaud, John Sullivan and J Leman did not practice. 
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