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.

Former Cardinal Jefferson part of the coaching staff this week

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC Updated: October 17, 2012 - 1:03 PM

Backup cornerback A.J. Jefferson has been a popular fella among the coaching staff at Winter Park this week.


Because two months ago he was a member of the Arizona Cardinals, who play the Vikings at Mall of America Field on Sunday.

"I feel involved a little bit more this week," Jefferson said. "They want to talk to me a lot. I feel like part of the coaching staff now."

Jefferson spent Monday going from meeting room to meeting room to share his inside knowledge of the Cardinals.

"It was about 45 minutes on Monday, and I anticipate them asking me more questions as the week goes on," Jefferson said. "I talked to [special teams coach Mike Priefer]. I sat in the offensive room when they had a meeting. And I was talking to my teammates this morning about the receivers and just trying to help them out and let them know what they can do to stop those guys."

Jefferson joined the Cardinals as a rookie free agent in 2010. He played in two games that year and then started seven of 16 games last season. He was traded to the Vikings on Sept. 1 as the Cardinals were making their final roster cuts.

He's played in the past five games, mostly on special teams. Asked if there's a revenge factor this week, Jefferson said, "Oh, yeah. No question. Anytime you get traded away, you definitely want to put it on the team you're playing against."

Jefferson gave a couple of quick scouting reports on quarterback John Skelton, who replaces the injured Kevin Kolb this week, and receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr.

On Skelton as opposed to Kolb: "Skelton is a bigger guy. He stands in the pocket tall. He can throw the ball downfield. They're both good runners, so you have to keep them contained, but I think Skelton is the better downfield passer."

On Fitzgerald: "He's a big-bodied guy. You definitely have to get your hands on him and stop him from getting downfield because he's a threat anywhere he is."

Asked if he was charging the coaching staff for his intel this week, Jefferson laughed and said, "No. It's all free this week."


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