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.


Rainy day in Mankato

Posted by: under Vikings, Vikings players Updated: August 10, 2010 - 8:25 AM

MANKATO -- It is raining here so Tuesday's morning practice could be pushed inside. No official word from the team but we'll keep you posted.

The Vikings were expected to be in full pads and with some scrimmaging this morning for the final time before Saturday's preseason opener at St. Louis so the weather could alter their plans.

Judd (www.twitter.com/juddzulgad) and I (www.twitter.com/chipscoggins) will let you know on twitter when we hear the plan for today's practices.

While we wait, I thought I would share some of my chat with backup offensive lineman Thomas Austin, an undrafted rookie from Clemson who faces long odds to make the team.

Austin said he wants to let his football career play out but he has big plans for when he hangs up his pads.

He hopes to do ministry work after football. He plans to take seminary classes and pursue a life in ministry with his wife Margaret.

"I don’t know if I’m called to be a preacher full time," he said. "[But] I love the opportunity to speak. Football gives you such a great platform with kids."

Austin, who raised southern baptist in South Carolina, said he had a life-changing experience when he spent a week working at an orphanage in Mexico as a sophomore in college.

"I had done stuff statewide, which is great," he said. "But going to a country where these kids have nothing. They don’t want your money, they just want your time. That was a very humbling thing. We realize how fortunate we are, especially us in the NFL. How blessed we are as people. It’s great to give back and minister to those kids in some way. That was an amazing experience."
 
Austin said he also is interested in doing inner city ministry work. His close friend lives in East St. Louis and works with kids in that community.
 
"It’s a leap of faith," he said. "You’re putting your family in that situation but you know that God has a plan. I can definitely see that. Every city has that area, every state. Whether it’s South Carolina, East St. Louis or Minneapolis-St. Paul. The exciting part is we’re open to wherever we’re led to go."
 
 

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