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.


Vikings chat today at noon

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Heath Farwell, Tyrell Johnson Updated: September 2, 2011 - 10:42 AM

Want to talk about the No. 2 QB position, the never-ending strong safety competition (or lack thereof), the punt returner? Or how about the biggest question mark facing the team heading into the Sept. 11 season opener at San Diego.

Whatever it is, join today's live chat at noon. I'll try to type as fast as possible.

The Vikings will huddle over the next two days to set their 53-man roster. There doesn't appear to be any big names in fear of being cut. Here are some of the bigger names that might be on the bubble:

TE Jeff Dugan: I think he'll make the team. This is a tight-end heavy offense. There's no experienced fullback, and Dugan can play that position. He's also a solid special teamer. I think he survives and the Vikings put Allen Reiser, a promising undrafted rookie, on the practice squad.

S Tyrell Johnson: This would be the biggest surprise. I don't think it will happen, but a team can only wait so long for a guy with such high expectations to finally step up. Johnson competed with Jamarca Sanford for the starting job throughout the preseason. The team hasn't announced a winner, but it would be a shock if it's not Sanford. The guess here is Johnson gets another season before the team seriously considers giving up on him.

LB Heath Farwell: A Pro Bowl special teamer two years ago, Farwell battled a hamstring injury this preseason. I don't think he'll be cut because of his special teams play and the fact he's a versatile linebacker at a time when the team is desperately thin at the position. It also didn't hurt Farwell that undrafted rookie Larry Dean had his first poor showing of the preseason last night. He had two penalties on special teams and was out of position at linebacker a number of times.

WR-PR Jaymar Johnson: I'll stretch by throwing him in the big-name category only because he started training camp with such promise as both a receiver and a punt returner. He tailed off considerably. Last night, he averaged 3.7 yards on three returns. Marcus Sherels can return punts, and he's also done nothing but climb the charts at his cornerback position.  

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