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.
The NFL Network reported Friday morning that the Vikings still want to interview San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman before establishing their finalists in their coaching search.
It looks as if that interview could take place Saturday in Charlotte, N.C. Led by General Manager Rick Spielman, the Vikings contingent is scheduled to be in Charlotte tomorrow, presumably to interview Roman, who will be in town for the 49ers playoff game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
The 49ers flew to Charlotte on Friday. Per NFL rules, the Vikings would not be allowed to interview Roman next week if the 49ers win on Sunday. Of course, he would be available to interview at any time if they lose. But if they don't interview Roman by Sunday, they won't be allowed to talk to him until after the 49ers season ends.
Spielman said last week that he wants to pare his list of candidates to two or three finalists that he would then present to owners Zygi and Mark Wilf before making a final decision. The final group is expected to include Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
The Washington Redskins have hired Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, according to multiple reports.
Gruden was scheduled to interview with the Vikings today in Cincinnati, but the Redskins moved quickly to hire Gruden after interviewing him this week.
That means General Manager Rick Spielman has now interviewed five known candidates -- Seattle coordinators Darrell Bevell and Dan Quinn, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
The Vikings reportedly have request permission to interview or expressed interest in San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Denver Broncos coordinators Jack Del Rio and Adam Gase.
Another possible candidate surfaced Thursday morning. The Vikings have requested permission to interview 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan. Tomsula would be the first known position coach to interview for the job.
Tomsula served as the 49ers interim coach for the final game of the 2010 season.
Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has retained Twin Cities attorney Clayton Halunen to represent him in the team's investigation into alleged homophobic comments by an assistant coach.
According to a press release, Halunen will serve as co-counsel with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
The Vikings announced last week that they initiated an investigation to look into Kluwe's allegations that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made repeated derogatory gay comments in 2012.
The team announced that former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Chris Madel will lead the investigation.
LONDON -- The Vikings injury report has become lengthy. Seven players either were limited or did not participate at all on Wednesday.
As addressed earlier today, quarterback Christian Ponder was limited because of a rib injury. Also limited were Kevin Williams (knee) and running back Matt Asiata (hamstring).
Three defensive backs did not practice -- Chris Cook (groin), Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) and A.J. Jefferson (ankle). Tight end Rhett Ellison also did not participate after missing Sunday's game against Cleveland because of a knee injury.
The Vikings health issues in the secondary are a major concern because they potentially could be without two starters in Cook and Sanford. General manager Rick Spielman gave a rare in-season media session today and said his staff, including assistant GM George Paton, stayed back in the Twin Cities to monitor the waiver wire so they could be in position to handle logistics if they need to make a roster move this week.
"I've been monitoring at 2 a.m. the wires for any potential moves that can be made, the logistics of making those moves, how you get that guy over to England, does he have a passport if we have to bring a player over here," Spielman said. "That's been kind of interesting. I didn't get to sleep until 2:30 this morning and had to get woken up. I called my people over there and it's 3 in the morning over there and they're asking what you're doing.
"We've got until 9 o'clock tonight to make a move but we have to do it on your (Minn) time. It's worked out great so far and we'll see anything from a personnel standpoint, if we have to do anything, that we'll be able to get that accomplished."
The injuries in the secondary create speculation about whether the team has contacted Antoine Winfield to see if he will put off retirement for now. Spielman declined to discuss their potential interest in Winfield.
"I won't get into any facts on who we talked to or what we're doing," he said. "We always look at options when there are injuries. We'll continue to that."
Asked if Winfield has been ruled in or out of consideration, Spielman said, "I can't rule anything. You never know."
The Vikings, who have their final preseason game against Tennessee tonight at 7 at the Metrodome, will have to cut their roster to 53 by 5 p.m. on Saturday.
The eight-man practice squad can be formed from eligible players after those players clear waivers. In general, practice squad-eligible players haven’t been active for more than eight NFL games and can’t be on the practice squad for more than two years. So, yeah, the Vikings can’t stash Joe Webb on that practice squad, folks.
Here is the Vikings’ unofficial depth chart. Feel free to make yourself part of the team’s staff and figure out which 22 players you can whack to get to 53. Keep in mind you will have the practice squad, which means there are 61 guys around, but it’s often hard for teams to sneak rookies through waivers, so be careful about your cuts.
VIKINGS DEPTH CHART
WR: Jerome Simpson, Cordarrelle Patterson*, Joe Webb, Rodney Smith*
LT: Matt Kalil, Kevin Murphy, DeMarcus Love
LG: Charlie Johnson, Jeff Baca*
C: John Sullivan, Joe Berger
RG: Brandon Fusco, Seth Olsen, Travis Bond*
RT: Phil Loadholt, Brandon Keith, Troy Kropog
TE: Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison, Chase Ford, Colin Anderson*
WR: Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright, Stephen Burton, Adam Thielen*
QB: Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
FB: Jerome Felton, Zach Line*
HB: Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard
LE: Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, D'Aundre Reed
NT: Letroy Guion, Fred Evans, Chase Baker, Anthony McCloud*
UT: Kevin Williams, Sharrif Floyd*, Everett Dawkins*, Spencer Nealy*
RE: Jared Allen, Everson Griffen, George Johnson, Collins Ukwu*
SLB: Chad Greenway, Larry Dean
MLB: Erin Henderson, Audie Cole, Michael Mauti*
WLB: Marvin Mitchell, Desmond Bishop, Tyrone McKenzie, Gerald Hodges*
LCB: Josh Robinson, Xavier Rhodes*, Marcus Sherels
RCB: Chris Cook, A.J. Jefferson, Brandon Burton, Bobby Felder
SS: Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond, Andrew Sendejo, Darius Eubanks*
FS: Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton, Brandan Bishop*
SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
P: Jeff Locke*
K: Blair Walsh
LS: Cullen Loeffler
KEEP IN MIND: RETURN DEPTH CHART
KR: Cordarrelle Patterson*, Marcus Sherels, Stephen Burton, A.J. Jefferson
PR: Marcus Sherels, Bobby Felder, Jarius Wright, Stephen Burton
Note: DT Christian Ballard (Active/Left Squad) does not count on the current roster; Felton will start the season with a three-game suspension and will not count against the 53-man roster.
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