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 Vikings announced their training camp schedule today.
The team reports to Mankato on Thursday, July 26, and the first practice will be the following day on the Minnesota State campus.
Camp lasts three weeks, ending Wednesday Aug. 15.
For the most part, the team will have a morning walk-through practice at 10:30, and a more intense afternoon practice, daily.
The scrimmage open to fans is on Saturday, Aug. 4 at Blakeslee Stadium.
Days off are Sunday July 29, Sunday Aug. 5, and a three-day stretch from Aug. 9-11 when the Vikings have a preseason game in San Francisco.
The Vikings also made one player move today, adding defensive end Jeff Charleston, 29, and waiving rookie defensive tackle Terrell Resonno of Missouri.
Charleston, a six-year veteran, played the past four seasons for the Saints.
And the team also announced some radio and television plans. The radio crew will be heard simulcasting the games on television (Ch. 11) for the preseason games, and ex-Vikings linebacker Ben Leber will join as a sideline interview man.
The KFAN crew, of course, includes play-by-play guy Paul Allen and color commentator Pete Bercich and veteran sideline reporter Greg Coleman.
Here's the team's release on that matter ...
VIKINGS TO SIMULCAST PRESEASON TELEVISION AND RADIO, UNVEIL NEW TV SHOW LINEUP
Eden Prairie, MN (June 28, 2012) – During a fan forum with Vikings Season Ticket Owners today, the team announced the Vikings Entertainment Network (VEN) will use the Vikings Radio Network broadcast team of Paul Allen and Pete Bercich for the 2012 Vikings preseason television broadcasts. The preseason games, aired on KARE 11 (on WUCW August 10 at San Francisco), will be simulcast over the Vikings Radio Network and its flagship station KFAN 100.3 FM.
“Hundreds of thousands of Vikings fans enjoy listening to PA’s exciting calls and thorough analysis from Pete and Greg on the radio during Vikings games,” said Vikings Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer Steve LaCroix. “This is a unique opportunity to incorporate our voices of the Vikings with our television viewers."
Former Vikings punter Greg Coleman will continue his sideline reporting role, while former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber will be added to handle sideline interviews during the preseason TV broadcasts. To hear from the members of the broadcast team, click here.
The addition of Leber unveils him as part of the 2012 VEN team. Leber will serve as video talent on Vikings.com and will have regular appearances on the Vikings pregame TV show, Vikings GamePlan. Vikings preseason TV is co-produced by VEN and PKO Productions and airs live on KARE 11.
In addition to the preseason plans, a new TV show will debut this season. “Vikings: Beyond the Gridiron” will feature a documentary-style format and will focus on the rare inside access that a team network can provide. Beyond the Gridiron will use voice narration as well as the topic interview subjects to tell each story rather than a traditional show “host.” The new show replaces Vikings Weekly, which completed a successful six-year run at the end of the 2011 season. Vikings: Beyond the Gridiron will be co-produced by VEN and Elite Edge Productions and will air Saturdays on KARE 11 and Sundays on FSN.
Vikings GamePlan, presented by Sports Authority, will return for its sixth season as the team’s pregame TV show. Hosted by Paul Allen, GamePlan features interviews with current players, game film review with Head Coach Leslie Frazier, expert analysis and more. Vikings GamePlan is co-produced by VEN and FSN and airs Sundays on KARE 11 and FSN.
The Percy Harvin saga took another turn Wednesday afternoon when Harvin was not on the field for the Vikings' practice session at mini-camp.
Before that session, Vikings GM Rick Spielman said the team has no intention of trading Harvin. Harvin, apparently upset over his contract, has asked for a trade. He has two years left on his five-year, $12 million deal.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier deferred to Spielman’s earlier comments without much elaboration. For example:
On Harvin missing practice: “I know Rick had a chance to to meet with you guys and talk about how we feel in regards to Percy,” Frazier said. “I’ll kind of leave it at that.”
On why Harvin missed practice: “I don’t want to get into that until we have a chance to have an extensive conversation,” Frazier said.
On whether Harvin would be at the mini-camp’s final practice Thursday: “You know, I’m not sure,” Frazier said. “Whether we talk today or in the morning will probably determine that. But I’d really rather concentrate on the guys who are here.
What Frazier did say was that he still planed a sit-down meeting with Harvin.
There is no question the Vikings were taken by surprise by Harvin’s comments and actions this week. Frazier talked about how unpredictable football could be. Harvin would likely be eligible to be fined should he miss another practice Thursday. Teams are allowed to fine a player $10,000 for missing one mini-camp session, $20,000 for missing two and $60,000 for missing all three.
That said, Frazier reiterated that he felt whatever issues were bothering Harvin could be ironed out before training camp. “I don’t know what could keep it from getting worked out,” he said. “Whatever it is. So we’ll see.”
Spielman said he regards Harvin as a cornerstone of the team.
“I feel confident we can work through anything that needs to be worked through,” Spielman said.
On Tuesday Harvin said he was unhappy with the team, but didn’t say why. That led to speculation that it could concern his contract -- which has two years remaining – or his role in the offense. That speculation intensified with Wednesday’s report that Harvin had asked for a trade.
Spielman didn’t add any clarity to what the issue – or issues – might be. Indeed, Spielman didn’t even officially confirm that a trade request had been made.
He did make a couple of things clear, though.
“We have no interest at all of trading Percy Harvin,” he said. “We drafted Percy Harvin here. He’s a key part of our organization. He’s a key part of our football team. Any issues that are out there, or reported, we always handle those things internally.”
Spielman said he had not yet spoken with Harvin, but that Frazier had. Spielman said he had spoken to Harvin’s agent, Joel Segal, “a few times.”
But, just what has prompted Harvin’s request for a trade remains unclear. Earlier Wednesday offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said he was unaware of any issues Harvin might have with his role in the offense, and described his relationship with Harvin as “outstanding.”
Spielman said the team usually addresses a contract extension when a player is entering the final year of his current deal.
As for Harvin going public? “Sometimes you can’t control that,” he said. “It’s part of what we have to deal with sometimes. Percy is a very good person. And we’ll get all the issues resolved. … It’s an issue we have to deal with, with coach Frazier and myself.”
Running back Adrian Peterson said he learned about Harvin’s issues with the team when he was lying in bed, watching TV. “I saw it go across the screen,” Peterson said. “Whatever the issue is, I’m sure they’ll get things squared away.”
Peterson was asked if the situation was a distraction. No, he said, more of a bother.
“You definitely don’t want to lose this guy,” Peterson said. “I’m sure the organization will do what it has to do to keep this guy around. If it was me, I’d make sure we kept him around. But we’ll see.”
Peterson said he planned to talk with Harvin to see if he could help him get things smoothed over with the team.
“First I’ll have to sit down and see what’s bothering him,” he said. “We’re grown men, I’m sure he’s going to do what his mind is set [on]. Personally, I think everything will be OK.”
Meanwhile, in non-Harvin news ...
Peterson has been very active along the sidelines at Winter Park during mini-camp. The All-Pro running back remains on a fast recovery from December surgery to repair torn knee ligaments.
“It’s pretty much wide open. I’m able to go out and do everything — cutting and different things like that. Flexibility is good,” Peterson said.
“Main thing for me right now is really getting the strength back in this left leg, getting the quad back strong, getting the hamstring and the calf, building those muscles, trying to get it equal or stronger than the right leg.”
Although Peterson remains optimistic his intensive rehab program will prepare him for training camp, which begins July 26 in Mankato. He wants to play in the season opener Sept. 9 against Jacksonville at the Metrodome.
“My goal is to be able to go out and participate somewhat during training camp,” Peterson said. “That’s my goal. How much? I’m sure the staff, they’ll evaluate things and they’ll let me know.”
Percy Harvin has asked the Vikings to consider trading him.
Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune has confirmed, through a source close to the situation, the story first reported by the Associated Press this morning.
Sounds as if it'll be quite a newsy day again at Winter Park. Harvin went through the morning workout, but did not speak to reporters.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said he is not aware of any problems Harvin has with the team's offense. He said he'd like to get Harvin more involved, but said their relationship is "excellent."
The Vikings are back at it today for the second day of mini-camp at Winter Park. Thunderstorms are in the forecast, but the team can always have its afternoon workout in the Fieldhouse.
Here is the recap from Tuesday's Day 1:
Craig Malveaux listened to Jared Allen explain why he wasn't at the OTAs and how he intends to attack the NFL sack record here.
The condition of Chad Greenway's father was the subject of Kent Youngblood's notebook here.
Matt Gillmer produced a video wrapping up the day's events here.
We'll have updates today from Kent and Craig.
All players were present and accounted for at Vikings minicamp today, but there was at least one unhappy camper.
Percy Harvin, the Vikings Pro Bowl receiver and kick returner, made it pretty clear that he is unhappy with his contract. Without directly saying so, he said "issues" are involved and unless they are resolved he won't report to the team's training camp in Mankato in late July.
Asked several different times about the contract, Harvin never mentioned that word directly. Harvin has two years left on a five-year deal he got as a rookie in 2009.
"I’m just not happy, I won’t go into how unhappy I’m not, I’m just not overall happy with a couple of situations, and hopefully they get worked out," he said.
Coach Leslie Frazier said he had spoken with Harvin. Frazier also wouldn't say what the "issue" was, but added, "It's not something we can't handle. I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be at (training) camp. It's something we will talk through."
Harvin, 24, participated in some of the team's optional workouts during the past month. His rookie contract was worth a little more than $12 million. The final two years of his contract call for base salaries of 915,000 and $1.55 million. With potential bonuses, those two years could be worth slightly more than $2.5 million.
Harvin had 87 catches and 1,312 total offensive yards last season – he was not on the field for about 40 percent of the team’s snaps, however.
In other news ...
Jared Allen, who did not participate in the team's Organized Team Activities, said he was happy with his offseason routine and that was why he didn't show up at practice until the minicamp, which is mandatory. There were no OTAs or mini-camps last season because of the NFL lockout, and Allen had a near-record 22 sacks during the season.
Chad Greenway, who missed OTAs because his father has leukemia, was present this morning and spoke optimistically about his father's battle. Greenway said his father's cancer is in remission, but that he was undergoing treatment at Rochester's Mayo Clinic.
Eric Frampton (illness) did not practice.
Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley was held out of practice with a hip issue connected to the surgery that kept him out of last season. Brinkley said the issue was not a major one and that he expected to take part in practice before the mini-camp ended. Tyrone McKenzie played with the first unit in Brinkley's place.
The Vikings have announced their training camp dates for this summer with players scheduled to report to Minnesota State University on Thursday, July 26 with camp breaking three weeks later on August 16.
The three-week stay in Mankato is longer than it's been in recent years. Perhaps, the extended stay will be a good bonding experience for a team with a lot of new faces.
Of course, the Vikings will mix in a trip to San Francisco to play their preseason opener against the 49ers on August 10.
The Vikings' other exhibition games include contests against Buffalo (Aug. 17) and San Diego (Aug. 24) at Mall of America Field and a trip to Houston on August 30.
Over the past three years, the Vikings have broken camp in Mankato before their first preseason game and moved to Winter Park by the third full week of camp. This year, they likely won't be back at Winter Park until Sunday, Aug. 19.
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