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.


Not knowing the details isn't easy for Vikings center

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, NFC, Darrell Bevell, Anthony Herrera, Darrell Bevell, John Sullivan, Phil Loadholt, Tarvaris Jackson Updated: July 22, 2011 - 1:14 PM

During what proved to be a crazy Thursday in the NFL lockout, Vikings center Jon Cooper took to his Twitter account. "I wish they would show the players, what the players are voting on," he wrote. "Or maybe I'm just crazy."

Cooper was asked to elaborate on his frustration Friday morning after going through workouts on the University of Minnesota campus that are led by Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr.

"Being in the dark on something that really affects your life, it’s tough to sit back and watch and have people criticize you for it," he said. " I wish I knew what to say or what was going on because I get all my information from the news basically. Hopefully when something is about to get done we’ll get informed a little bit before, but as of now we get sporadic e-mails from the union or our player rep. But most of the stuff we find out is on ESPN or any website or whatever. That’s our basis of information. Then people are like, ‘Why don’t you guys just play.’ It’s like, ‘It’s not that simple.’”

ESPN reported today that players still want owners to budge on two key issues: The first is an opt-out clause seven years into the proposed 10-year collective bargaining agreement; the second is the ability to report to team facilities and vote in person on recertifying as a union.

The issue, according to ESPN, is the owners believe the NFLPA could recertify as a union by allowing the estimated 1,900 players to use electronic signatures. The NFLPA wants to adhere to the same thorough process that led to decertification. The owners, of course, approved the deal Thursday but the players declined to vote on it.

While Cooper would like more information, Kansas City quarterback Tyler Palko has tuned out the various media reports that are all over the map. 

"Honestly, to tell you the truth I don’t even pay any attention to that stuff," he said. "There’s just so many media outlets and rumors and twitter. That’s why I don’t get on that crap. You don’t know what to believe anymore. Honestly, when I’m done here [working out] I go home, watch the Golf Channel, go hit some golf balls and my cell phone is there."

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, the 12th pick in the April draft, finds himself in an interesting situation. On one hand, Ponder wants (and needs) to get on the field as soon as possible. But he also knows that once a 10-year CBA is signed that that will be it. Most of Ponder's career will be played under the agreement and if five years into it it no longer appears to be favorable, there will be nothing the NFLPA can do. Especially if there is no opt-out clause.

“I can wait as long as possible," Ponder said. "Obviously, I want to get on the field, but I know the importance of getting a deal that’s going to last 10 years exactly how we want it. So if it takes another month or so or we lose some games so be it. We definitely want the best deal we can get.”

Jackson bound for Seattle?

Tarvaris Jackson will be a former Vikings as soon as the lockout comes to an end. What remains to be seen is where the free agent will end up signing. One team that is believed to be interested is Seattle, which could lose quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in free agency.

Jackson could compete with Charlie Whitehurst, playing for Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Bevell, of course, was Jackson's offensive coordinator with the Vikings for five seasons and that familiarity could be important considering how little time teams will have to get ready once the lockout ends.

"It seems like a pretty good opportunity," Jackson said when asked if Seattle would interest him. "I know the offense. That’s a plus. Coach Bevell, he’s very familiar with me and I’m very familiar with him. So that’s always a plus."

Asked about his relationship with Bevell, Jackson said: "We always had a pretty good relationship. I worked more closely with [Kevin] Rogers because he was my quarterbacks coach. [Bevell] spent a lot of time in different guys’ rooms, our room, the offensive linemen’s room, always going back and forth. ... But we had a pretty good relationship, me and Bev did."

Jackson has been a regular at the Fitzgerald workouts but said that Friday was his last day. The sessions are expected to continue through Tuesday and maybe longer if the lockout isn't finished.

New additions

Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt and guard Chris DeGeare joined the Fitzgerald workouts on Friday. Loadholt appeared to be in very good shape after training in Oklahoma and then Eden Prairie.

"I’ve been working pretty hard," he said. "Me and Anthony Herrera worked together for a while. Most of the guys are doing as much as we can to stay in shape. We’ve got a playbook. We can study that as much as we can. But really, we need to get around the coaches and get to work, though."

Loadholt said he got a copy of the playbook from center John Sullivan, who was able to stop by Winter Park in late April when the lockout was briefly lifted.

DeGeare, meanwhile, said he weighs about 340 pounds right now. "Last year, they had me at 335 was my game weight," he said. "It’ll probably be somewhere in there. I was comfortable with it. In college, I played a lot bigger than that, but I like 335. You can move, feel great with it, and still bigger a lot of the defense out there."

DeGeare, who just arrived in the Twin Cities, has been training with someone who is more along the lines of a bodybuilder. "I'm just trying to get bigger, faster,stronger," DeGeare said.

He did run into a difficult challenge completing six 300-yard shuttles in the heat Friday morning. "Oh yeah [it's tough], especially when you’re expecting three and you run six," he said. "But it was all good. My legs need it. It felt good to get out moving like that."


 

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