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.


Access Vikings morning walkthrough: July 28

Posted by: Matt Vensel under Vikings, Bears, Lions, NFC, Packers, Vikings players, Vikings training camp Updated: July 28, 2014 - 7:26 AM

Every day On most days, our Vikings reporters walk you through what’s happening that day.

The Vikings don’t care about your delicious dinner. They don’t care that your ribs are falling off the bone. They just want to sign Kyle Rudolph before he explodes.

On Sunday night, as a group of unsuspecting Vikings beat reporters chowed down at Number 4 restaurant in Mankato, the Vikings signed the 24-year-old tight end to a five-year contract extension that makes him one of the highest-paid tight ends in the game.

Is Rudolph worth it? We might not know until a couple of years from now. After all, we are talking about a guy who made the Pro Bowl -- and was named MVP -- after catching nine touchdowns in 2012 and then missed half of 2013 with a fractured foot. But seemingly everyone around Vikings training camp seems to think Rudolph is poised for a breakout season under coordinator Norv Turner.

It had to be an interesting negotiation considering what Rudolph accomplished in 2012 and what injury kept him from accomplishing in 2013. I can’t help but think of Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, a comparable player I covered in Baltimore.

Pitta put up nice numbers in 2012, but he fractured and dislocated his hip early in training camp and missed most of the 2013 season. Still, the Ravens rewarded him with a big extension that is similar to the five-year, $36.5 million deal that Rudolph signed late last night.

Anyway, the talk of training camp today is going to be Rudolph’s big deal, and you can be sure his Vikings teammates will be giving him plenty of grief after he got nearly $20 million guaranteed.

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

--- Cordarrelle Patterson is feeling better, but hasn’t been cleared yet.

--- Mike Zimmer is not afraid of a little bit of rain.

--- The Vikings know that playing offensive line in the NFL isn’t getting any easier.

--- Norv Turner wants a “physical presence” at fullback.

TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY

AROUND THE NFC NORTH

--- Lions coach Jim Caldwell "absolutely" believes a deal will get done with DT Ndamukong Suh.

--- Packers WR Randall Cobb says he hasn’t done enough to get a new deal.

--- Bears RB Matt Forte is apparently showing no signs of slowing down.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

After a rainy but seemingly productive first day in pads, Camp Zimmer continues Monday with a morning walkthrough then a rare night practice that should ratchet the intensity up a bit. A larger crowd is expected at Blakeslee Stadium for the practice, which runs from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Bill Barnwell does a great job writing about the NFL for ESPN’s Grantland site. He recently did a series looking at the best and worst contracts in the league. Two Vikings players made his list of the worst contracts, and you might not be able to guess who without peeking. I’ll give you a moment to muster up a guess. … Just a few more seconds. ... OK, pencils down. They were WR Greg Jennings and DE Everson Griffen. Go ahead and clink on that link to hear Barnwell’s logic.

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