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.


Spielman quizzes Zimmer on game situations

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: August 2, 2014 - 12:47 PM

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman are constantly exchanging words after walkthrough, during and at times even after practice.

But the two met together on Saturday for an hour to dissect game management situations. Zimmer said Spielman gathered tape together of different scenarios where a coach has to call a timeout, throw a challenge flag or when to kick a field goal.

The two will meet again for the next four days, tackling 15 game situations, as Zimmer prepares for his first preseason game against the Raiders on Friday.

“Rick is never wrong,” Zimmer said with a smile.

The hardest challenge for a first time head coach is being pressed with different situations that can alter the outcome of the game. Zimmer said it’s been his focus at the moment while the rest of the coaching staff dissects the Raiders in the film room. Zimmer plans to watch the Raiders as well but his goal isn’t to devise a clever scheme for a preseason game.

“To me, this is about us; us getting better and evaluating our guys against other guys,” Zimmer said. “I don’t want to go out there and trick the Raiders. I want to go out there and play solid, fundamental football where guys aren’t thinking and their athletic ability does show up. I’m sure we can probably run some blitzes that they’re probably not ready for, but that’s not what I am looking for.”

Zimmer will continue to work on situations during Saturday night’s practice. There won’t be a live period, but the Vikings will have stretches in the red zone, two-minute drill and third down situations.

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