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.


Harvin revelation shouldn't be a surprise

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Bears, Lions, NFC, Packers, Percy Harvin Updated: September 20, 2011 - 7:51 AM

I'll admit I was one of the reporters whose eyebrows were raised when Percy Harvin provided some rare NFL locker room insight rather than the usual tap dancing of generalities and cliches.

I put this in one of yesterday's posts, but here's what he said when I asked him a simple question about the team's third-down woes in the second half:

"We've just got to execute the play that was called a little better. Twice, we were lined up in the wrong formation so that's just little mistakes that we're killing ourselves. [If] we're in the right formation, we probably had two walk-in touchdowns."

That perked some ears belonging to long-time reporters not used to players revealing -- especially in a mass interview format -- that players had lined up in the wrong formation, presumably in critical red-zone situations, judging by Harvin's description.

Asked to elaborate on players lining up incorrectly, Harvin seemed to realize he probably said too much and shut it down. I can't fault him for that.

"I'm not getting into that," he said. "We didn't execute enough to get the job done. I'm not getting into the formations and who did what. As a team, we didn't execute the offense, defense and special teams."

With time to think about it, it's not exactly surprising -- or at least it shouldn't be -- that players are still figuring out how to get lined up in an offense they've been running for less than two months.

Because of the 4 1/2-month lockout, Aug. 1 is when this offense got together for the first time. New system, new coordinator, new quarterack. Very few full-speed, full-padded practices.  

Now compare that to the Packers, Bears and Lions. The offenses in Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit are cruising the high-speed lane in Lamborghinis. The Vikings, at this point, are riding a unicycle on the berm.

Inconsistency is to be expected. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the rest of the division has shown it won't be waiting around for the Vikings to catch up.

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