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 a turnover-ratio oddity in NFL

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Lions Updated: November 3, 2011 - 10:00 AM

Want to know why the Lions and 49ers are a combined 12-3 and two of the bigger stories in the NFL this season?

Start with their combined plus-23 turnover ratio. The Lions rank No. 1 (plus-13), while the 49ers are No. 2 (plus-10).

Long considered the most important statistic in football, turnover ratio tends to go hand-in-hand with the success or failure a team is experiencing.

Of the top 15 teams in turnover ratio this season, 14 have a winning record.

Guess which one doesn't.

Yep, the Vikings. They're tied for seventh with a plus-4 turnover ratio, but have a 2-6 record.

It's further evidence that benched QB Donovan McNabb was careful with the ball, but didn't make enough plays for it to matter. McNabb had a 1-5 record despite a plus-4 turnover ratio. His replacement, Christian Ponder, is 1-1 with a turnover ratio of even.

Meanwhile ...

I got an email from a company called Poll Position. The headline blares: "Poll: QUARTER OF AMERICANS THINK NFL IS TOO VIOLENT." And by "Americans," they actually mean 1,032 registered voters, 20.8 percent of which didn't have an opinion.

Of course, wanting to be politically correct, I did pause for alarm before deducing that "THREE QUARTERS OF AMERICANS THINK NFL ISN'T TOO VIOLENT." 

before coming to the conclusion that Three Quarters of American Think NFL isn't Too Violent.  

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