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 giving some locals, including a Gopher, their shots this week

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: May 15, 2014 - 1:22 PM

A former Gopher, two former Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and a Bird Island, Mn., native who went to Northern State in Aberdeen, South Dakota are among the hopefuls the Vikings have invited to this week's three-day rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis.

Roland Johnson, a 6-1, 286-pound tackle for the Gophers, will try to turn heads at what has become a well-populated position since free agency began. Meanwhile, Minnesota-Duluth is sending its starting tight end, Jeremy Reierson, and a free safety, Jason Carlson, who was a transfer from Iowa State.

On the offensive line, Jon Caspers, the Bird Island native, comes in at just under 6-5 and about 305 pounds. He played left tackle at Northern State.

Also in for a tryout is Randall Carroll, a 5-10 cornerback from Sul Ross State in Texas.

The three-day camp started today and runs through Saturday.

Although the players invited to try out obviously are long shots, they do have a shot. This is how Marcus Sherels' career began in 2010. He made the team and has stayed on the team despite yearly attempts to find someone better. Last year, he set a franchise record with a 15.2-yard average per punt return.

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