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.


Posts about Vikings offense

Asiata returns to Vikings with heavy heart

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: November 13, 2013 - 7:35 AM

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier hopes to have running back Matt Asiata available for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, but Asiata was thankful on Monday to just be around his second family following a difficult two weeks.

Asiata departed to Utah last Monday to attend the funeral of his father, Pita, who passed away on Oct. 28 in a bus accident. Matt returned to the team on last Wednesday and continued to rehab his shoulder injury during Monday’s walkthrough and said it was a blessing to be back on the field.

”After my dad’s passing, it’s been hard,” Asiata said. “It’s been hard on my family, especially on my mom. I just got to be strong for them and be that son to take over my dad’s spot. I’m trying to be strong. I’m not trying to show my emotions or feelings out here on the field. I’m just trying to stay happy. When I get time to myself that’s when I start getting emotional and stuff. I’ll be good though. Being around the players, I’ll be fine.”

Asiata said he’s struggling mentally, but he feels he can’t for his family’s sake. He said he has to remained focused and be his family’s provider including in time of need. He echoed a saying his father always told him, “Family first.”

“It’s a good thing being around his second family, his teammates and the coaches in this organization,” Fraizer said. “I think that help to kind of ease some of the pain even though it’s very, very difficult.”

Asiata was one of the last players on the field after the walkthrough working with a staff member on catching passes and different blocking techniques against a punching bag as part of his rehab. He said it was the most work he’s done with the injury that has caused Asiata to miss the last three games.

He didn’t feel as gassed on Monday, but Asiata expects to regain his conditioning over time. Frazier said on Monday he’ll see if Asiata can practice on Wednesday following the off day.

Asiata doesn’t want to reinjure the shoulder and has taken precautious with the injury, but his father’s death has pushed him to return to the field.

“Before my dad’s incident, I’ve been pushing but it pushed me a lot more seeing my kids and my wife, especially my mom seeing her down,” Asiata said. “Every son hates to see their mom down like that, so I’m trying to take a big step for my family and be that older guy and be that dad.”

Final gun report: Vikings 34, Redskins 27

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated: November 7, 2013 - 10:37 PM

Well, there goes the No. 1 draft pick.

The Vikings beat the Redskins 34-27 at the Metrodome tonight, outscoring Washington 20-3 in the second half.

Veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams sacked Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III three times in the second half, and the Vikings overcame an injury to Christian Ponder (left shoulder) to hold on.

Washington drove to the Vikings' 4 in the final seconds, but lost the ball on downs.

Ponder was 17-for-21 for 174 yards, and was injured diving at the goal line late in the third quarter. Adrian Peterson scored on the next play to give the Vikings a 28-27 lead.

Peterson ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Cassel completed 4 of 6 for 47 yards, and set up two Blair Walsh field goals in the fourth quarter.

Washington won the statistical battle, as Griffin passed for 281 yards and ran for 44 more. Alfred Morris rushed for 139 yards.

Records: Vikings 2-7, Washington 4-5

Hidden star: Vikings tight end John Carlson had 7 catches for 98 yards.

Next up: Seattle, Nov. 17, at Century Link Field, 3:25 p.m.

Halftime report: Redskins 24, Vikings 14

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated: November 7, 2013 - 8:53 PM

Washington has a 24-14 halftime lead over the Vikings at the Metrodome, scoring TDs on drives of 77, 78 and 80 yards.

The good:  Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson caught his first NFL TD pass, a 2-yarder from Christian Ponder.

The bad: The Vikings were unable to slow down Robert Griffin III (three touchdown passes) or RB Alfred Morris (88 rushing yards).

The ugly: The Vikings are so banged-up that they weren’t able to find 46 healthy players to dress. They were one short.

Griffin is 16-for-21 for 179 yards and has a 140.7 passer rating. Ponder is 10 of 13 for 85 yards, but had an interception on the opening drive, leading to a Washington field goal.

Adrian Peterson has 44 rushing yards on seven carries, including an 18-yard TD run.

Vikings waive Cole, promote Murphy

Posted by: Chip Scoggins Updated: November 7, 2013 - 5:07 PM

Hello from Mall of America Field. The Vikings announced that they have waived linebacker Audie Cole and promoted offensive tackle Kevin Murphy from the practice squad.

The Vikings needed a backup offensive tackle with Phil Loadholt sidelined because of a concussion. J'Marcus Webb will start in his place and Murphy presumably will backup both tackle positions.

The Vikings will announce their inactive list 90 minutes before kickoff.

Peterson feels offense will remain committed to run

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: November 6, 2013 - 9:02 AM

Running back Adrian Peterson was quick to point out he had more carries at halftime (14) in Sunday’s loss against the Cowboys than at the end of the last three games. Last year’s NFL MVP had 10 carries against the Panthers and 13 versus both the Giants and Packers.

“First time ever that has happened,” Peterson said about that three-game stretch on Tuesday. “I’m not a selfish player at all. I’m all about getting a W.”

But even Peterson questions the lack of carries at times when the offense gets away from the game plan. There have been certain instances in the second half where the Vikings have relied on the pass offense to dig out of a deficit, which Peterson said he understands. He received a combined 12 second-half carries against the Panthers, Giants and Packers.

“But if that’s not the case, and we’re a running team and we’ve been a running team since I’ve been here, then it’s kind of like I’m not the only one sitting there like, ‘What is going on?’” Peterson said. “I mean the world is. Probably the defense that we’re going against is thinking the same thing, and they’re probably happy we’re not running the ball.”

Peterson finished with 25 carries for 140 yards Sunday for his third 100-yard performance this season. He also scored a touchdown that’ll likely end up as one of the Vikings’ top plays this season. He dragged three defenders for an 11-yard touchdown to put the Vikings up 23-20 with 5:40 left in the game.

He couldn’t have accomplished the highlight, however, without an assist from tight end Chase Ford, who lifted Peterson as he nearly stumbled to the turf. Ford kept Peterson up enough to regain his balance and score.

“It seemed like he slammed me into the end zone, and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Peterson said. “That’s what you’re looking for: guys scratching that every inch. And we can win with that type of effort from each guy.”

Peterson said Ford’s heady play reminded him of the style of play in Texas, where both played high school football. Ford, who has bounced from the practice squad to the active roster, attended Corrigan High in Corrigan, Texas. Peterson went to Palestine High in Palestine, Texas.

“That’s how we play football down there, so it wasn’t too surprising to see him coming in and helping me scratch for those extra yards to get into the end zone,” Peterson said.

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