Staff Directory 438148813

Ben Goessling

Sports reporter | Vikings
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Ben Goessling covers the Vikings for the Star Tribune. He has covered the team since 2012, and has previously covered the Twins, Wild, Washington Nationals and prep sports.

After graduating from Apple Valley High School, Goessling majored in accounting and journalism at the University of Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters. He coaches high school track and field and cross country, plays electric guitar and enjoys volunteering at Hope Academy in the Phillips neighborhood.
Recent content from Ben Goessling
Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks.

Vikings' Kendricks and Barr speak out against NFL on justice reform

Two key Vikings players, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, joined the chorus criticizing Commissioner Roger Goodell's statement on the death of George Floyd.
Garrett Bradbury with quarterback Kirk Cousins during training camp last summer.

Vikings' offensive line tries to bond during virtual offseason

Center Garrett Bradbury said the Vikings' virtual meetings have included efforts to give players a degree of ownership over the things they would normally be executing on the field during the offseason.
Lydia Goessling, a second-grader at Hale Elementary, does school work with her dad, Ben Goessling, the Star Tribune's Vikings beat reporter.

'Spicy math' joins playbook for busy Vikings beat writer Goessling

The pandemic has barely slowed NFL news but it rippled in significant ways through the Star Tribune football writer's life as full-time dad and assistant track coach.
Quarantine coaching: Zimmer and son preparing for season on the ranch

Quarantine coaching: Zimmer and son preparing for season on the ranch

The NFL's virtual offseason program during the coronavirus pandemic has meant extra family time for head coach Mike Zimmer, whose son (and assistant coach) Adam is with him at their Kentucky ranch.
Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) argued with an official during the fourth quarter of last season's game against Green Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium

Pencil it in: Vikings open with Packers, but much is still unknown

In their 60th season, the Vikings will open at home against Green Bay for the first time and spend Christmas Day in New Orleans. But will games really be played starting Sept. 10? The coronavirus will have final say on that.
Boise State offensive lineman Ezra Cleveland was part of the Vikings' record draft class.

Football from home: Vikings opening cybercamp for rookies today

A group of 15 draftees, as well as 12 undrafted free agents will begin their education online. General Manager Rick Spielman said Tuesday the team's virtual offseason program has "been working outstanding."
Mississippi State defensive back Cameron Dantzler -- the second cornerback picked by the Vikings in the recent NFL draft -- built his college résumé

How Vikings rookie Dantzler got his nickname: 'When I hit you, it hurt'

When Cameron Dantzler was playing high school football as a wiry cornerback in Hammond, La., he earned the nickname "The Needle."
The Vikings' top four draft picks (clockwise from top left) -- LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson, TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney, Mississippi State corn

Five big questions about the largest Vikings draft class of the century

Coach Mike Zimmer likened the 2020 Vikings to a college football team, where programs get new players all the time. The 15-member draft class, means he'll face a new kind of challenge this season.
Clockwise from top left, scenes from the NFL's virtual draft: Commissioner Goodell, Ezra Cleveland, Rick Spielman and Justin Jefferson all had differe

Roster reshape: 15-player draft class is Vikings' largest since 1985

It could be months, not weeks, before the Vikings can see what they can get from a rookie class that emerged from the NFL's first virtual draft and will enter the league through a "virtual offseason" program.
LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson, left, and TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney both worked out at the NFL Combine

Vikings nab LSU receiver Jefferson, TCU cornerback Gladney in Round 1

The Vikings used the biggest prize they acquired in the Stefon Diggs trade to select his replacement and, after making a trade, picked a cornerback to start the rebuild of their secondary.
University of Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones is a good athlete who will need some work but could turn into the left tackle of the future.

Twelve picks and trades: Our seven-round mock draft predicts the newest Vikings

The Vikings have several major items still on its to-do list before the 2020 season. Here's how football writer Ben Goessling sees the draft unfolding, including who they'll take with their top pick.
Rich Spielman said this season's roster turnover wasn't a surprise and had been planned for. What the Vikings couldn't have imagined are the circumsta

NFL draft only the start of Vikings planned roster 'evolution'

General manager Rick Spielman used the word "evolution" three times during a news conference about the draft to describe the state of his team's roster. What did that mean?
General Manager Rick Spielman said the Vikings never intended to trade wide receiver Stephon Diggs, until the Buffalo Bills made them an offer they co

Trade offer for Diggs was too good to pass up, Spielman says

The Vikings general manager says he never intended to trade the unhappy receiver, but the Bills' offer changed his mind.
Kirk Cousins spoke with reporters on a video conference call Tuesday from Orlando, Fla.

Cousins on new deal with Vikings, Diggs traded on same day: a 'win-win'

On March 16, Viking quarterback Kirk Cousins had his contract restructured as star receiver Stefon Diggs got his wish and was sent to the Buffalo Bills.
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph warmed up a game against Seattle last season.

Without access to facility, off-season training a challenge for Vikings

With team facilities closed and the NFL shifting to a "virtual offseason" program, players are looking to trade Organized Team Activities for a DIY approach to preparing for the 2020 season.
Tajae Sharpe was a Titan in 2018 when Matt LaFleur — whose system is akin to Gary Kubiak’s — called plays.

Sharpe hopes for easy transition to Vikings as Diggs' replacement

There's a link in the Vikings offense to Tennessee -- where Tajae Sharpe played for four seasons -- that runs through, of all places, Green Bay.
Tajae Sharpe of the Titans was defended by New England’s Jonathan Jones during a playoff victory by Tennessee on Jan. 4 in Foxborough, Mass.

Vikings add receiver Tajae Sharpe, defensive lineman Anthony Zettel

Sharpe caught 25 passes for four touchdowns last season for Tennessee. He also caught seven passes against the Vikings in his pro debut. Zettel has played for four teams in three seasons.
Everson Griffen, the longest-tenured Vikings player and a fixture at defensive end, said his goodbyes on Friday.

'Young man's game.' Vikings' player exits prove Zimmer's point

Less than two days after their season ended with a playoff loss to San Francisco, coach Mike Zimmer gave a telling assessment of how the team's offseason would go. It's coming true in NFL free agency.
Vikings tackle Rashod Hill.

Vikings re-sign tackle Rashod Hill; Andrew Sendejo heads to Browns

Hill has been a fill-in on the offensive line for the past three seasons; Sendejo will rejoin familiar faces in Cleveland.
Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce celebrates his fumble recovery with linebacker Tyus Bowser during a game against the Steelers on Dec. 29

Coming and going: Run-stopper Pierce replacing Joseph; Josh Kline cut

Michael Pierce, who started 14 games for Baltimore last season, is expected to replace departing Linval Joseph. Other moves included releasing offensive guard Josh Kline, the team's top free agent acquisition of 2019.
Once the Vikings ran the ball more, Kirk Cousins couldn’t always keep Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs happy.

Vikings, Diggs parted because of irreconcilable differences

Once the Vikings went run-heavy with their offensive schemes, Stefon Diggs wanted out. He got his wish this week.
Kirk Cousins congratulated Stefon Diggs after a touchdown against Green Bay in December.

Cousins staying, Diggs going highlights day of turnover for Vikings

The moves underscore the Vikings' commitment to a run-heavy offense that puts Kirk Cousins under center to throw downfield off play action.
Stefon Diggs carried the ball into the end zone at the end of the "Minneapolis Miracle" touchdown against New Orleans in 2018.

Diggs traded to Buffalo in return for batch of draft picks

After an afternoon on social media indicating that something may be in the works, wide receiver Stefon Diggs will be headed to Buffalo in exchange for four draft picks, including the Bills' first-rounder.
C.J. Ham.

Vikings sign Ham and Colquitt, tag Harris and tender Eric Wilson

Ham, who made the Pro Bowl after last season, gets a four-year deal worth $12.25 million.
Anthony Harris intercepted a pass in the Vikings’ playoff game at New Orleans on Jan. 5.

In surprise move, Vikings give Anthony Harris franchise tag

The safety tied for the NFL lead in interceptions last season.
Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly.

Vikings player rep Weatherly: Approving labor deal a tough vote

Stephen Weatherly said he expected the deal to pass by more than the 60-vote margin it did because so many players on the lower end of the league's pay scale would benefit
Xavier Rhodes

Vikings create $18.5 million in cap space by cutting Rhodes, Joseph

GM Rick Spielman said in a statement the Vikings would "remain in communication" with both players as they head into free agency but made the moves in an effort to give them more time to explore options.
Vikings players huddled before the team’s final game on Jan 11.

Vikings suspend travel for coaches and scouts as free agency nears

The NFL canceled the annual league meeting later this month as the CBA vote continues.
Anthony Harris

Safety Harris's breakout season could make him tough to keep

Anthony Harris is hitting free agency with a chance for a big contract, and the salary cap-strapped Vikings might not be able to afford him.
Rick Spielman met the media Tuesday in Indianapolis.

Spielman: 'No reason' to think Diggs won't remain with Vikings

Stefon Diggs caused a stir on social media recently when he removed all pictures of himself in a Vikings uniform from his Instagram account, following a season where he incurred more than $200,000 in fines.
Everson Griffen talked to the media as the players cleaned out their lockers at season’s end.

Vikings defensive end Griffen will become free agent

Everson Griffen, according to a league source, has exercised the option to void the final three years of his deal, making him a free agent for the first time in his career.
Gary Kubiak during a news conference on Tuesday.

Kubiak 'just really excited' to be calling plays again

Gary Kubiak succeeds Kevin Stefanski as Vikings offensive coordinator, bringing continuity to an offense that's had little of it.
Dom Capers in 2012.

Ex-Packers coordinator Capers is new Vikings 'senior assistant'

Dom Capers is a familiar face in the NFC North — he was the Packers defensive coordinator from 2009-17, including their Super Bowl XLV title
The Vikings named defensive line coach Andre Patterson (left) and linebackers coach Adam Zimmer (right) as co-defensive coordinators Monday. Both will

Patterson, Adam Zimmer named Vikings co-defensive coordinators

The move gives Mike Zimmer's son a promotion after six years working with the Vikings' linebackers, while rewarding Patterson for his work in shaping the defensive line.
Gary Kubiak during the Vikings’ season finale at U.S. Bank Stadium on Dec. 29.

Kubiak to face big decisions in new role as Vikings offensive coordinator

While Gary Kubiak's new role gives the Vikings' scheme some continuity, his latest turn as an NFL play-caller will come with some big decisions about how the team should proceed.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook led a flock of teammates prior to the Dec. 8 game vs. Detroit.

The Vikings in 2020: Who's back, and who's gone?

Here is a position-by-position, player-by-player breakdown of the 2019 roster, with beat writer Ben Goessling's early predictions for how the roster will look in 2020.
Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes

Vikings cornerback Hughes sustained broken neck vertebra

Mike Hughes was first listed on the Vikings' injury report with a neck injury after the team's Week 17 game against the Bears; he played 28 of the team's 75 snaps in the game
Mike Zimmer held a season-ending press briefing Monday morning at TCO Performance Center in Eagan

'A young man's game.' Zimmer facing tough calls with defensive veterans

For the first time in his six seasons as Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer and his staff will be facing personnel decisions that could be some of the most difficult they've had to make.
Defensive end Everson Griffen and his Vikings teammates cleaned out their lockers on Sunday at TCO Performance Center in Eagan.

Changes ahead: How committed are Vikings to their current approach?

Changes to the coaching staff began Sunday with Kevin Stefanski being named Cleveland's head coach, and there are big questions ahead on and off the field.
San Francisco 49ers free safety Jimmie Ward (20) tackled Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) in the first quarter just short of a first

Season-ending loss creates unsettling questions for Vikings

As the season ended, what stood out most was perhaps the size of the gap between the Vikings and the 49ers team that will host the NFC Championship Game next Sunday.
Wide receiver Adam Thielen enters Saturday’s playoff game vs. the 49ers with an ankle injury, but the Vikings need him to be a big part of the game

The Call: Can Vikings continue their roll and defy logic again?

There's something to be said for a team that's starting to believe in itself.
Adam Thielen warmed up before the Vikings’ victory in New Orleans on Sunday.

Thielen gets stitches for cut on ankle after practice mishap

It appears Vikings fans should be cautiously optimistic about Adam Thielen playing in Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game against the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.

Vikings battling a 49ers team that looks very, very familiar

You'll find the handprints of veteran coach Mike Shanahan all over the NFC playoffs. His son coaches the 49ers and there are strong connections to the Vikings and Packers, too.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) had 31 touches against the Saints on Sunday, including this 1-yard touchdown run over New Orleans outside lineba

Vikings' Cook was 'banged up,' not injured, before heavy workload

The running back had 31 touches against the Saints, including 28 carries, but says he's fine now.
Everson Griffen was part of a strong defensive effort by the Vikings on Sunday against the Saints. They will have to do it all over again on Saturday

Vikings quickly put Saints win behind them and prepare for short week

With the 49ers up next on Saturday, their wild-card win is already ancient history.
The Vikings’ Adam Thielen had only his second 100-yard receiving game of the season Sunday.

Adam Thielen looked like the Thielen of old in Vikings' playoff victory over Saints

Season took positive turn with big game against New Orleans.
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph caught the winning touchdown over New Orleans cornerback P.J. Williams in overtime.

Next challenge: Top-seed 49ers after Vikings stun Saints in overtime

Kirk Cousins hit Kyle Rudolph with a 4-yard touchdown pass in overtime for the win. Next up is a Saturday game at San Francisco, the NFC's top seed.
Kirk Cousins will make only his second NFL playoff start on Sunday against the Saints — and his first as a Viking.

Only a chosen few, like Vikings' Cousins, can relate to weekly pressures

Kirk Cousins and a growing group of NFL quarterbacks have bonded through an online devotional group and started working with Christian ministry Pro Athletes Outreach.
Mike Zimmer found out the Vikings’ first playoff foe via text in the middle of the night.

Vikings embracing role of underdog with rugged playoff path ahead

The team is confident as they prepare to face the Saints; the oddsmakers, not so much.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer watched from the sidelines in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

After loss, Vikings 'turn the page' and will face New Orleans

Chicago rallied for a 21-19 win on an Eddy Piniero field goal with 48 seconds left. Minnesota will play on the road as the No. 6 seed Sunday at the Saints
Sean Mannion had the ball in his hand. Kirk Cousins (right) didn’t. Those circumstances are likely to play out again at some point Sunday.

The call on Vikings-Bears: Little to play for, but ...

… only one of these teams is preparing for the postseason.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks (left) and running back Dalvin Cook won't play for the Vikings against the Bear on Sunday as they recover from various injur

Kendricks, Cook will sit out Vikings game against Bears

The team's middle linebacker suffered a quadriceps injury in Monday's loss to the Packers, while the running back continues to heal from chest and shoulder injuries.
The Vikings are locked in to the NFC’s No. 6 seed, which means backups such as quarterback Sean Mannion might see extensive playing time against the

Zimmer debates whether to rest or play Vikings starters on Sunday

With the Vikings' playoff position secured, Mike Zimmer and his assistants have options on who to play against the Bears in their last regular-season game.
Green Bay Packers Za'darius Smith (55) sacked Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the fourth quarter.

Smacked by the Pack: Vikings offense disappears in defeat

Green Bay's defense was a major reason the Packers controlled the NFC North this season. On Monday night, that defense was a major reason the Packers clinched the division title.
Mike Boone, who had five carries vs. Detroit in Week 14, is in line for a starring role Monday night because of injuries to the Vikings’ top two bac

The Call: What to watch for in Vikings-Packers game

The Vikings won't have Dalvin Cook, but should find room to run against a suspect Packers defense.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers left the game after a hit on this play by Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr in 2017.

Vikings-Packers rivalry got turned up a few notches in the 2010s

The decade began with the Packers winning their fourth Super Bowl. It ends with the teams tussling for a division title that's been in Minnesota more often than Green Bay over the past five years.
Vikings long snapper Austin Cutting.

Dan Bailey, Austin Cutting stand out on Vikings' special teams

Special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf made a point to praise his rookie long snapper Friday.
Three Vikings were named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday (clockwise from top): safety Harrison Smith, defensive end Danielle Hunter and running back Dalvin

Smith, Cook, Hunter named to Pro Bowl; Cousins, Hendricks fall short

The Vikings will send Harrison Smith, Danielle Hunter and Dalvin Cook — but not Eric Kendricks or Kirk Cousins — to the Pro Bowl next month.
Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (95) celebrated his 56 yard fumble recovery touchdown run .

Vikings on verge of playoff berth after beating fumbling, bumbling Chargers

The Vikings forced seven turnovers in a game for the first time in almost a quarter-century and could have a playoff berth locked up even before playing the Packers next Monday night at U.S. Bank Stadium.
This could be U.S. Bank Stadium — but it’s not. This is a section of Vikings fans cheering on their team against the New York Giants on Oct. 6 at

Their home is your home: Vikings fans hit the road to follow their team

Home-field advantage isn't what it used to in some places thanks to a bigger traveling contingent, as fans get comfy in opposing stadiums.
Philip Rivers (17) remains a dangerous passer at age 38, but the longtime Chargers quarterback also is third in the NFL with 15 interceptions.

The Call: Vikings typically not their best out west

An abundance of purple-clad fans might not be enough to push the Vikings on top.
Vikings center Garrett Bradbury.

Vikings' rookie class is most influential in years

Led by first-round pick Garrett Bradbury — who has a chance to become the first Vikings rookie since 2012 to play every snap of the season — the Vikings' 2019 rookies have stepped into significant roles.
Seattle’s David Moore raced past Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes for a 60-yard touchdown catch Monday night.

'I should never react that way.' Rhodes apologizes for meltdown

After being badly beaten on a long touchdown pass, Xavier Rhodes argued with Mike Zimmer, threw his helmet and shoved a teammate. "I know my role," Rhodes said. "I need to play it better."
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) sat on the field after a fumble in the third quarter.

Vikings dig too deep of a hole, fall to Seahawks 37-30

Seattle scored 24 unanswered points in the second half, using a strong running game and a long touchdown pass that led to a shouting match between Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson (being interviewed by Fox sideline reporter Pam Oliver) has established himself as an MVP contender this season, an

The Call: Vikings-Seahawks battle in Seattle

If the Vikings are going to deliver their most important road victory in four years, they'll have to surmount Seahawks quarterback and MVP candidate Russell Wilson.
Dec. 10, 2018, at Seattle: The Vikings lost 21-7 to the Seahawks, during which this fourth-quarter pass intended for Stefon Diggs was broken up by Sea

On the road, in Seattle, facing Wilson: Vikings facing big tasks

For a coach who's long said he loves proving people wrong, Mike Zimmer can put a big prize in his cross hairs on Monday night when the Vikings play at Seattle.
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen played catch with his son, Asher, before a game on Nov. 17 at U. S. Bank Stadium.

Still sidelined: Another setback keeps Thielen out of Seattle game

Adam Thielen had targeted Monday's game in Seattle as an opportunity to return, but sources said his hamstring injury flared up again during a practice.
Adam Thielen

Return of Thielen would boost Vikings' passing game

A hamstring injury has sidelined Adam Thielen for most of the past five games. It appears Thielen will be back for Monday's game in Seattle.
Minnesota Vikings' quarterback Kirk Cousins looked passed the ball to Minnesota Vikings' wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the third quarter.

Cousins checks off all of the boxes during extended run of strong play

Kirk Cousins' name has crept into MVP conversations, as the result of a seven-game run in which he's completed 73.3% of his passes for 2,020 yards and 18 touchdowns against one interception.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was lifted up by offensive tackle Brian O’Neill after he scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Denver.

Vikings GM Spielman on Cook: 'He just has a unique trait'

The Vikings have been able to put Dalvin Cook in the zone scheme he ran at Florida State, and he's averaged 4.8 yards per carry this season as the Vikings head into their bye week.
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) and linebacker Eric Wilson (50) stopped Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay for no gain in the first half

Vikings rest up before five-game finish will decide their season

The late bye week gives the Vikings a chance to get healthy before their big December slate.
Dalvin Cook (33) celebrated after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Down by 20, Vikings show plenty to rally past Denver for 27-23 win

Kirk Cousins' three second-half touchdown passes and the Vikings' defensive resolve lead to the team's biggest comeback since 1992.
Broncos quarterback Brandon Allen won his first NFL start Nov. 3 against the Browns as Joe Flacco’s injury replacement.

Vikings figure to take care of Broncos, reach bye at 8-3

THE CALL As formidable as the Vikings have been at home so far this season, it's tough to see them losing this one against an unproven quarterback like Brandon Allen.
Vikings fullback C.J. Ham.

Kubiak's offense gives life to old-school Vikings fullbacks

If the fullback is something of an endangered species in the NFL, the Vikings' scheme can be considered a refuge. And if that's the case, Gary Kubiak is one of its caretakers.
Vikings assistant head coach and offensive advisor Gary Kubiak.

Broncos' loss of coaches is Vikings offense's gain

Mike Zimmer said the Vikings' addition of Gary Kubiak is "probably the best thing that's happened to me since I've been here."