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 edge Titans 24-23 to avoid winless preseason

Posted by: Chris Miller under Off the field, Vikings, Vikings injury report, Vikings off the field Updated: August 29, 2013 - 9:55 PM

Blair Walsh kicked a 25-yard field goal with 1:41 left to give the Vikings a 24-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans at the Metrodome on Thursday night, helping the Vikings avoid a winless preseason.

Marcus Sherels' 109 yard kickoff return to start the second half was the game's highlight play.

Sherels' return gave the Vikings a 21-17 lead, but the Titans got field goals of 30 and 24 yards from Rob Bironas to take a 23-21 lead.

Walsh missed a 42-yard field goal attempt with 7:36 remaining.

But led by quarterback Bethel McLeod-Thompson, the Vikings drove to set up Walsh's winning kick in the final minutes.

Tennessee got the ball back but a botched snap was recovered by the Vikings' Collins Ukwu with 53 seconds left.

Rusty Smith hit Jack Doyle with a 2-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds left in the first half to give Tennessee a 17-14 halftime lead. 

Bethel-Thompson connected with Joe Banyard for an 11-yard scoring pass two minutes before Doyle's TD to give the Vikings a short-lived 14-10 lead.

The Banyard TD came shortly after Vikings guard Seth Olsen was taken off the field on a stretcher.  Olsen appeared to hit his head on the knee of a Titans player while blocking, snapping his head back a bit.  Olsen was strapped to a board before being wheeled off on the stretcher, but did give a thumbs up to the crowd. The Vikings said Olsen had a neck injury.

Cornerback Bobby Felder also left the game because of an ankle injury late in the third quarter.  Felder is in a battle with Sherels to make the team at both cornerback and punt returner.

The Titans scored in the first half on a 28-yard field goal by Bironas and a 17-yard pass from backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to rookie Justin Hunter. The Vikings' first touchdown came on a 1-yard run by Matt Asiata, who had eight carries for 32 yards in the opening drive.

The Vikings' offensive and defensive starters did not play.  They wore their uniforms, but did not bring their helmets or shoulder pads.

The team must cut its roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday at 5 p.m. The regular season opens at Detroit on Sept. 8.

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