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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Carlson to visit, would make intriguing TE combo

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Bears, NFC, Vikings fans, Anthony Herrera, Visanthe Shiancoe Updated: March 14, 2012 - 9:43 AM

It's not the splash that Vikings fans were hoping for, but Day 2 of free agency will bring possibly the best young tight end available to Winter Park for a visit. The news was first reported by

John Carlson, a Litchfield, Mn. native who has played his four NFL seasons in Seattle, would make an intriguing tight end combination if he chooses to return to his home state. A second-round pick of the Seahawks in 2008, Carlson, 27, would team with fellow Notre Dame alum Kyle Rudolph, a second-round pick of the Vikings in 2011.

As Vikings fans know, the Vikings love multiple tight-end sets. Carlson would replace Visanthe Shiancoe, who turns 32 in June. Shiancoe is a free agent and won't return because he's on the wrong side of the over-30 purge taking place at Winter Park.    

Carlson, like Rudolph, is considered a pass-catching tight end. Carlson had 55 catches and five touchdowns as a rookie in 2008. He had 55 catches and seven TDs a year later. He then had 31 catches and one touchdown in 2010 before a shoulder injury caused him to miss the 2011 season.

In other free agent news, former Vikings right guard Anthony Herrera will visit the Bears. This is a no-brainer visit. Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice basically discovered Herrera in 2004. Tice was the Vikings' head coach when Herrera was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee.

Herrera's NFL success has been fueled ever since by the snub he felt on that draft day eight years ago. Although Herrera doesn't mesh with the youth movement at Winter Park, he could definitely help a Bears line that has struggled, to say the least.


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