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 changing up 'mortar kick' after Jacoby Jones' TD

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: December 12, 2013 - 1:06 PM

Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer’s weekly press conference began with a question about Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones.

“Do we have to start with that?” Priefer said. “I knew it was coming.”

Jones scored on a 77-yard touchdown with 1:16 left on Sunday off a mortar kick, which the Ravens expected. They were moving well before kicker Blair Walsh booted the short kick as explained in our Vikings Rewind.

Priefer confirmed it was the a similar alignment the Vikings used last week against the Bears on a mortar kick to Devin Hester to start overtime. And it’ll be the last time they use it this season.

“They read it perfectly,” Priefer said. “They did a good job. I got outcoached on that play, unfortunately. We didn't execute it well enough. We had guys over there. We had, I think, two of them got pinned inside. He hit that seam full-speed.”

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said it’s too early to speculate whether he’ll have either running backs Adrian Peterson (foot) or Toby Gerhart (hamstring) on Sunday. He’s preparing as if Matt Asiata will be lined up in the backfield against the Eagles.

“I think we’re looking forward to seeing him play because in preseason and at practice he’s done a nice job,” Musgrave said. “He’s very decisive when he runs, has some good quickness and toughness.”

Musgrave said tight end John Carlson (concussion) still hasn’t been cleared to practice. It would leave the Vikings with two tight ends, Rhett Ellison and Chase Ford, if Carlson doesn’t play on Sunday.

“Well, it makes us hold our breath that much more that we don’t receive an injury at the tight end position,” Musgrave said of the tight end depth. “If we would, we’d need to put an o-lineman in there for certain jobs. It’s tough to go into a game with two, but that’s what we’d need to do.”

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