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.


`Selfishness' of '87-'88 Vikings helped mold Mularkey

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Adrian Peterson Updated: September 5, 2012 - 11:07 AM

New Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey just spoke with Twin Cities reporters via conference call and didn't back away at all from the comments he made earler about the locker room selfishness that affected the last two Vikings teams he played on (1987-88).

"We had a roster full of [talent]," said Mularkey, who played tight end for the Vikings from 1983 to 1988. "We were very talented. Some of the things that went on behind the scenes, it was frustrating in our locker room at times for some players to watch situations take place. I'm not going to point out situations or the players or what they were. But we should have won more games than we did and I think a lot of things that played into it took place in the locker room. You're talking 30 years ago now."

Mularkey has been coaching in the NFL the past 28 years. He said those experiences and the "selfishness" he saw in those locker rooms in 1987 and 1988 have helped mold him as a coach.

"It's hard to explain it without giving you exact examples, but I know I wasn't the only one affected," Mularkey said. "I know the guys in the locker room that sat there and sweated out making the team every year -- and there were a bunch of us in that locker room -- it was frustrating at times to see what was going on in that locker room, to watch things happen as they did."

Here's some other highlights from the conference calls with Mularkey and running back Maurice Jones-Drew:

  • Mularkey said Jones-Drew "looks good" after the one practice he had after ending his holdout. But Mularkey is still going to start backup Rashad Jennings and use Jones-Drew in a backup role. How much of a role that will be depends on how Jones-Drew makes it through the next two days of practice. "He thinks he can start and play the whole game," Mularkey said. "But I wouldn't do that to him.
  • Jones-Drew said his body feels great and he's preparing as if he'll be the starter, even though he (and the world) has been told he won't start.
  • Jones-Drew, the NFL's reigning rushing champion, said he and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson "are good friends." He said he's been following Peterson's recovery from reconstructive knee surgery and wishes him well. "Obviously, as running backs we have to stick together because everybody is trying to de-value us and say we're not this or we're not that, which is pretty funny," Jones-Drew said. 
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