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.


Hutchinson, Asher Allen will be home for Christmas (eve)

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Leslie Frazier, Anthony Herrera, Cedric Griffin, Kevin Williams, Leslie Frazier, Steve Hutchinson Updated: December 23, 2011 - 12:00 PM

As expected, veteran left guard Steve Hutchinson will be home for Christmas (eve). He'll be joined in the Twin Cities by Asher Allen. Both have concussions and have not passed the league-mandated test to return to action. So they're a no-go for Saturday's game at Washington.

Considering the Vikings need to lose to stay in the hunt for the No. 1 overall draft pick, that's some bad news that could be good for the future of the team. In this pillow fight for the top pick, the more the merrier when it comes to backups playing.

Joe Berger will start at left guard. He's a capable backup who has started one game at center and four at right guard.

At corner, the Vikings probably will start Benny Sapp, who was out of work a month ago, and punt returner Marcus Sherels. The nickelback will be either benched-and-struggling starter Cedric Griffin or rookie Brandon Burton. 

Coach Leslie Frazier hasn't announced his plans for the rotation at corner. But, let's face it, no matter what he does, it won't hurt the team's pursuit of the No. 1 pick.

In other injury news, RG Anthony Herrera (knee), S Jarrad Page (hamstring), DT Kevin Williams (knee) and LB Erin Henderson (illness) are probable. 

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