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.


Frazier encouraged by Vikings' performance

Posted by: under On the road, Vikings, NFC, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier, Ryan Longwell, Tarvaris Jackson Updated: August 21, 2011 - 2:21 AM

SEATTLE -- Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was upbeat Saturday night following his team's 20-7 preseason victory over the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.

"Although it's the preseason, it was really encouraging to see our guys come out and really play some good football," Frazier said. "[We] did some good things offensively. Our defense, our special teams ... [I] really challenged our guys going into the week to really work on certain areas that we felt we needed to improve on. It will be the same way this next week. Every week we're trying to improve in the preseason. If we can do that we'll be right where we need to be when we get to the regular season."

Among the things that Frazier pointed to:

  • A second-quarter goal-lilne stand by the Vikings second defense against the Seahawks top offense. Seattle had first down at the Minnesota 2-yard line and could not get in the end zone as Justin Forsett was stopped four times, including three times for no gain from the 1-yard line. "It was a great job by them being on the road, hostile environment, just standing up in that situation," Frazier said.
  • Cornerback Marcus Sherels' first quarter interception of a Tarvaris Jackson pass that he returned 64 yards for a touchdown. This came after Sherels fumbled a punt that Seattle recovered. "Those kind of plays are game changers," Frazier said. "We talk about getting turnovers, we talk about scoring on defense so to see that happen by a young guy who is fighting to make this team that was big for our team." Said Sherels: "I felt like I let my team down. Everyone was just saying, 'Just forget about it and play the next play.' I felt I had to make a play. Got a lucky bounce and happened to score."
  • Quarterback Donovan McNabb's play. McNabbwas six of eight for 81 yards with a 106.8 passer rating and led the Vikings on a 13-play drive that ended with a 36-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell. Frazier also liked the way running back Adrian Peterson ran the ball (16 yards on six carries) and rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph earned a mention as well. Rudolph led the Vikings with three receptions for 22 yards. "[I'm] just looking forward to watching this tape and just seeing where we have to work to improve for this next ballgame," Frazier said. "But a lot of encouraging things from this game."

For the first time this preseason, the Vikings are going to game-plan for their next opponent. That will be Dallas on Saturday night at Mall of America Field. That means that the team essentially will switch out of training camp mode. Frazier said no decision has been made yet on how long McNabb and the offensive starters will play against the Cowboys but it wouldn't be surprising if they play into early in the third quarter.

On the injury front, linebacker Mark Washington injured his shoulder on the opening kickoff of the second half but Frazier did not have any further details. Cornerback Brandon Burton and linebacker Ross Homan were shaken up. Frazier said Burton is fine but did not know about Homan yet.

The Vikings jumped on their charter immediately after the game and flew back to the Twin Cities. They will have Sunday off before resuming practice Monday at Winter Park.

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