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Matt Vensel

Reporter | Vikings
Recent content from Matt Vensel
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright insists he should get more playing time this year than he did last season.

Receiver Wright still puzzled about why he didn't play more last year

Jarius Wright, despite leading the Vikings in catches and receiving yards in 2014 and 2015 combined, was active for only eight games in 2016.
Everson Griffen had plenty of reasons to smile upon arrival at Vikings training camp in Mankato. A guarantee of $34 million over for years will do tha

Griffen's new contract puts Vikings in position for more big deals

GM Rick Spielman said Everson Griffen's $58 million deal gives the Vikings more financial flexibility with a handful of other key starters set to become free agents over the next two seasons.
Minnesota Vikings newly acquired running back Latavius Murray worked out at Winter Park in April.

Latavius Murray starts Vikings season with new level of heartbreak

Murray and Jonathan Diaz had been best friends since kindergarten, when a scuffle between the two resulted in them being pulled into the principal's office.
Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook, right, takes a handoff from quarterback Wes Lunt during the NFL football team's rookies minicamp Fr

Vikings training camp: 8 key position battles

In certain positions, the Vikings still are hoping a starter asserts himself in training camp
X Games' evolution from curiosity to mainstay rooted in breathtaking feats

X Games' evolution from curiosity to mainstay rooted in breathtaking feats

The X Games continue to evolve, with bold new stars seeking bigger tricks, faster speeds. Competition gets underway today.
Dan Gamache designed this pair of cleats for Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph.

A day in these custom Vikings cleats is far from ordinary

From Harambe to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, artist makes splash with designer kicks.
Receiver Michael Floyd during Vikings offseason workouts.

Vikings support Floyd after failed test gets him another day in jail

Michael Floyd said the failed tests were the result of him drinking kombucha tea, a fermented beverage that the Vikings recommend for its probiotic benefits.
Riley Reiff, center, took to the field for practice at Winter Park, Wednesday, June 14, 2017 in Eden Prairie, MN.

Nowhere to go but up, and Vikings' O-line appears to be doing just that

On Thursday, after the Vikings wrapped up their offseason workout program, coach Mike Zimmer gushed about the offenseive linemen.
Vikings center Joe Berger

Vikings' Berger puts retirement on hold

Joe Berger, the oldest and longest-tenured Vikings offensive lineman, was given no deadline to tell the team whether he planned to continue his career. He ultimately decided to return.
Defensive end Brian Robison, forcing a fumble by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in December, finished with 7 ½ sacks and three forced fumbles in

Robison's backup plan with Vikings: Contribute

Brian Robison might not be a starter in 2017, but he still intends to make an impact. "The bottom line is that I'm here to win football games," he said.
Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander worked on drills Wednesday in Eden Prairie.

'You live and learn': Alexander sees error of his ways as Vikings rookie

Mackensie Alexander admitted that at times during his rookie year, he tuned out words of wisdom and instructions from Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is deteremined to press on after eight eye surgeries.

Zimmer: 'One eye or two, it really doesn't matter. I'm going to be back'

Mike Zimmer is determined to coach -- whether he loses sight in his eye or not.
Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs hauled in a pass during Wednesday’s organized team activities at Winter Park.

Vikings miss stubborn Zimmer, encouraged by determined Bridgewater

General Manager Rick Spielman could only laugh when asked whether it was Zimmer's decision or the team's for the coach to take time away.
Michael Floyd talked with the media after the Vikings first organized full-team practice of the offseason at Winter Park Wednesday May 23, 2017 in Ede

Vikings' Floyd back in his comfort zone — on and off the field

Back home in Minnesota and legally cleared to practice with the Vikings, wide receiver Michael Floyd spent the past two days of organized team activities playing catch-up.
Teddy Bridgewater gave peace signs during Vikings practice at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on August 26, 2016.

Vikings surprise: Bridgewater throws passes during team workout

It is believed Tuesday was the first time Teddy Bridgewater was on the field with Vikings teammates since suffering a major knee injury last August.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, shown prior to a December 2016 game against Jacksonville, said doctors gave him “really good news’’ after the latest

After eighth eye surgery, Zimmer leaving Vikings for a few weeks to recover

Mike Zimmer reluctantly agreed to put his health above his football team as the Vikings this week begin the third and final stage of their voluntary offseason program with the start of organized team activities.
New England Patriots wide receiver Michael Floyd speaks to media at his locker after NFL football practice, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in Foxborough, M

'Time to go to work': Floyd hopes to reboot troubled career with Vikings

In Arizona, former Cretin-Derham Hall standout Michael Floyd pleaded guilty to extreme drunken driving on Feb. 17. He had a blood alcohol level of .217, almost three times the legal limit, and is serving a sentence that runs into June.
Vikings rookie wide receiver Rodney Adams’ heart still aches from the untimely death of his mother four years ago, but he and other family members k

Vikings draft choice forges ahead with heavy heart

On a Sunday morning a few years back, Rodney Adams walked out of his dormitory room to find his position coach sitting there waiting for him with tragic news.
Stevenson University star Austin Tennessee is hoping to be one of the rare players to make the jump from Division III football to the NFL.,

Small college star pursuing his Vikings dream with a heavy heart

Among the little-known players on the Winter Park practice fields for the Vikings' rookie camp will be a former Division III standout who arrived with the twin hopes of making the team and honoring his deceased parents.
From top, clockwise from left to right, Vikings who benefitted from the draft were safety Andrew Sendejo, cornerback Mackensie Alexander and quarterba

Draft hurt some, helped some

We already have written about how the 11 players the Vikings drafted will fit into the mix and the important lineup questions that must be…
Anthony Barr chases Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during a game last season.

Vikings exercise option on Barr, but not Bridgewater

If Teddy Bridgewater doesn't play in 2017, he would be under team control for another season. If he does, the Vikings could still lock him in for 2018 despite the decision.
Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, the Vikings' top draft pick, likely will be competing for a starting role with the team in 2017.

With NFL draft complete, Vikings face pressing roster questions

Here are five of the most-pressing roster questions coach Mike Zimmer and his staff must answer in the next four months during spring workouts, training camp and the preseason.
Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook was selected in the second round by the Vikings.

Getting offensive: Vikings attack draft strategically

The Vikings used five of their first seven draft picks on offensive players, including the top two. It's the first time the Vikings have done the latter since hiring defensive-minded Mike Zimmer in 2014.
Vikings on the clock: Many picks left to meet team needs

Vikings on the clock: Many picks left to meet team needs

In the ultimate Vikings draft preview, we've done a mock draft that is built to fill every one of the Vikings' biggest needs.
If the Vikings don’t pick up Teddy Bridgewater’s 2018 team option, the QB still would be under team control that year if he isn’t activated from

Vikings aren't expected to exercise Teddy Bridgewater's 2018 team option, report says

ESPN report cites team's potential issue with $12.2 million injury guarantee.
How will the Vikings address their issues at quarterback? It depends. “It is all related to the prognosis and future for Bridgewater,” said ESPN a

Case can be made for Vikings drafting a quarterback in later round

With Teddy Bridgewater's future uncertain and Sam Bradford signed only through 2017, it's possible the Vikings could attempt to uncover a hidden gem in this week's NFL draft.
Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford.

Vikings QB Bradford isn't stressing over uncertain contract situation

Sam Bradford said Tuesday that "I don't believe" the Vikings had reached out to his agent to start talks about a contract extension. He is not signed beyond this season.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell opens up the 2016 NFL football draft at Selection Square in Grant Park, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo

How will the Vikings use their eight draft picks?

Slightly-educated-but-mostly-wild guesses on how the draft might go for the Vikings this weekend.
Nerve damage to defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd’s knee during surgery has put his future in doubt, which in turn means the Vikings need to find a way

Prospects for Vikings defensive line depend on Floyd's future

Leading up to the NFL draft starting Thursday, we'll take an exclusive look at the Vikings' needs at each position and how they'll address them. Today at look at the defensive line. Check for a new story each day.
Matt Kalil, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, was the last offensive lineman the Vikings drafted in the first round.

Vikings' long line of struggles drafting linemen hits critical point

Pro schemes, less learning time hindering prospects.
Laquon Treadwell lurks as the solution to the Vikings’ lack of depth among pass-catchers, and some barriers that held him back in his rookie season

Vikings draft preview: It's not just Treadwell; depth needed at WR, TE

Leading up to the 2017 NFL draft starting Thursday, we'll take an exclusive look at the Vikings' needs at each position and how they'll address them. Depth at receiver could be bolstered from within.
Sam Bradford and the Vikings open the season at home on Monday Night Football.

Vikings' playoff aspirations begin (Saints) and end (Bears) at home

The Vikings' 2017 schedule features top quarterbacks (Brees, Big Ben, Cam and Rodgers and Stafford twice), rough road games (hello, Atlanta) and a trip to London to face the Browns.
Adrian Peterson held the game ball as he walked off the field after the Vikings defeated Green Bay in January 2016 to win the NFC North. Peterson will

Murray moves in; Vikings and Peterson will move on

The Adrian Peterson era in Minnesota came to a quiet close in the early morning hours Thursday. GM Rick Spielman texted the former MVP informing him the Vikings had signed Latavius Murray.
Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) carries the ball against the Houston Texans in the second quarter of the AFC Wild Card Playoff at NR

Vikings sign former Oakland running back Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray, 27, agreed to a contract with the Vikings early Thursday morning. He joins a backfield that includes Jerick McKinnon, Bishop Sankey and C.J. Ham but probably not Adrian Peterson.
Money Hunter is a 6-1, 194-pound cornerback/safety from Arkansas State.

Torii Hunter's son follows dad's football dream

Before he was an All Star, Torii Hunter's first love was football, and Money Hunter hopes to make it in the NFL out of Arkansas State.
Detroit Lions tackle Riley Reiff (71) sets to black against the Bears last October. Reiff, 28, has agreed to join the Vikings.

Ex-Lion Reiff fills Vikings' tackle need; Kalil, Locke, Ellison headed out

Reiff figures to solidify one of their two tackle spots, which was the Vikings' most glaring need and its top priority heading into free agency. The team lost three players and fell short in a bid for a high-profile receiver.
Seeking premium salary and a winning team might limit Adrian Peterson’s options.

Free agency might be unkind to Peterson

The free-agency negotiating period opens without a clear landing spot for the running back.
The top left tackle on the open market will be Andrew Whitworth (77), as long as the Cincinnati Bengals don’t re-sign him before 3 p.m. Thursday, wh

Offensive line 'where the weakness is' in NFL draft

Unfortunately for the Vikings, they are not the only team looking to find better blockers. A recent report listed offensive line as a top-three need for about half of the league's teams.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer enters the April NFL draft with star running back Adrian Peterson having opted for free agency but not ruling out the franch

Vikings have ample options to replace Peterson through draft

At the NFL scouting combine this past week, top Philadelphia Eagles executive Howie Roseman called this stacked running back class "historic."
Former Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner will be a “throwing quarterback” at the NFL combine, working with players.

Leidner gets a little more time to prove himself at NFL combine

As one of the last passers picked to attend the scouting combine Mitch Leidner was asked by event organizers to be a "throwing quarterback," which means he is doing double duty.
Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon’s off-field problems cost him an invite to the NFL combine.

Potential Vikings' draft prospect among those shunned from NFL combine under new policy

Combine shuns top prospects with off-field issues, irking some teams.
Three-cone drill, unlike some tests at the combine, actually matters

Three-cone drill, unlike some tests at the combine, actually matters

The scouting combine's three-cone drill can make or break an NFL prospect. Eventual Vikings picks Harrison Smith, Matt Kalil, Anthony Barr and Jerick McKinnon all excelled at the drill.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tried to step out of a tackle by Indianapolis Colts free safety Darius Butler ( after catching a pass for a one y

Peterson's return to Vikings unlikely, team declines $18 million option

The Vikings are expected to talk with Adrian Peterson's agent at the NFL combine while they also evaluate possible replacements. It's likely he's played his final down with the team.
Vikings GM Rick Spielman is determined to help his team bounce back. “I hate failure with a passion.’’

Spielman has plan to avoid repeating 2016: 'I hate failure with a passion'

The Vikings have a blueprint for the offseason, and GM Rick Spielman even brought it along - but didn't reveal it - to a meeting with reporters.
Ryan Dungey

Belle Plaine's Dungey reflects on extraordinary dirtbike career

Ryan Dungey turned an unspectacular amateur career in Minnesota into one of the most prolific professional runs in the history of dirtbike riding.
Darrell Hazell

Vikings hire Darrell Hazell as wide receivers coach

The Vikings had been interviewing candidates since George Stewart agreed late last month to become the special teams coordinator for the Chargers.
U.S. Bank Stadium will host the Super Bowl next year, which gives the Vikings the opportunity to become the first team to play the Super Bowl in their

Vikings playing in Super Bowl in own backyard? It's not out of the question

The Vikings have a lot of work to do. But making next year's Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium a home game is within the realm of possibilities.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who turns 32 in March, said Thursday he believes he has five strong seasons left.

Peterson names teams he'd like to join if he doesn't stay with Vikings

But Adrian Peterson wants to stay with the Vikings … and get his $18 million. "I've earned my way up to that, by the way," he said in an interview.
A busy Vikings offseason will include decisions on several veterans, including, clockwise from upper left, QB Sam Bradford, DB Terence Newman, RB Adri

In or out: A position-by-position look at Vikings roster

The Vikings head into an especially uncertain offseason. The core of the squad that had Super Bowl hopes in September will remain intact, but the Vikings could say goodbye to a couple of franchise cornerstones.
While acknowledging at his season-ending news conference that there is still no timetable for Teddy Bridgewater’s return and not denying there is a

Vikings' Zimmer not betting against Bridgewater, but endorses Bradford

Coach affirmed QB's status going forward in a Vikings offense full of questions.
Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell

Laquon Treadwell on his rookie year: 'The whole season was disappointing'

Top pick Laquon Treadwell, the wide receiver who caught only one pass in his disappointing rookie season, vowed Monday as he emptied out his locker stall at Winter Park that he will "come back ready next year."
Kyle Rudolph (82), Adam Thielen (19) and Rhett Ellison came together to celebrate Rudolph’s 22-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.

Vikings put some shine on season finale with blowout over Bears

Flashes of the Vikings' 5-0 start came together Sunday as Minnesota forced five Chicago turnovers and ended the year on a high note.
Wide receiver Adam Thielen needs 40 yards’ worth of receptions today to become the Vikings’ first 1,000-yard receiver since 2009.

The Call: Previewing Sunday's Vikings-Bears game

The Vikings might finish the season 8-8 ... or they might not.
Running back Adrian Peterson may have made his last appearance in purple on Dec. 18 against the Colts.

Five burning questions for the Vikings this offseason

Some issues the Vikings will have to ponder after the 2016 season ends Sunday.
A deep run in the playoffs was the goal, and the Vikings and quarterback Sam Bradford failed in that regard. But Bradford did his best to keep a flawe

Verdict still out on Vikings' Sam Bradford gamble

The Vikings gave up a lot for quarterback Sam Bradford. In the end, was it worth it?
Vikings defensive end Brian Robison.

Stay or leave: 12 Vikings on the bubble

With a bunch of free agents and a few overpriced veterans on the books, there will be a lot of locker stalls vacated at Winter…
Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford.

Bradford 'all for' Shurmur's return as Vikings offensive coordinator

Sam Bradford's four highest passing yardage totals this season have come since Pat Shurmur took over as offensive coordinator in November.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and cornerback Xavier Rhodes spoke on the sideline after the Packers scored on a second-quarter pass play at Lambeau Field o

Vikings say miscommunication led to assignment rift

Coach said deviation from plan lasted only one series.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) picked up a first down in the second quarter over Minnesota Vikings strong safety Andrew Sendejo (34

From 5-0 to no postseason, Vikings fall hard to Packers

The 38-25 loss at Lambeau Field dropped the Vikings below .500 for the first time this season and eliminated them from playoff contention.
Cordarrelle Patterson

Vikings back to having much ground to make up on rival Green Bay

Last year in Green Bay, the Vikings were in celebration mode. Now they go to Lambeau needing a win just to stay alive.
Much depends on the possibility of safety Harrison Smith returning to the Vikings lineup after missing two games because of an injured ankle.

The Call: Packers in position to make power play on Vikings

The last time the Vikings went to Lambeau Field, they held off a Packers rally to win the NFC North. On this trip, they are fighting just to have something to play for in Week 17.
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen was among four Vikings selected to the Pro Bowl.

Griffen, Smith, Rhodes and Patterson selected to Pro Bowl

Everson Griffen and Harrison Smith both earned their second straight Pro Bowl selections, which are based on voting from coaches, players and fans.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had a feeling early Sunday that something was wrong with his team before playing the Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. He was righ

Zimmer, searching for a fix, says he needs to get Vikings 'on point'

Mike Zimmer is staring down one of the toughest challenges of his tenure — picking up the pieces of Sunday's embarrassing loss to the Colts
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson rejoined the team this week. It’s uncertain how much he will play against the Colts on Sunday.

Adrian Peterson returns, but Colts still have Luck [The Call]

After an ugly win over the Jaguars last weekend, the Vikings must keep it going Sunday against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
Minnesota Vikings Kyle Rudolph.

Vikings' Rudolph adheres to strict regimen to get from game to game

Durable Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph swears by his weekly routine to recover and get ready for the next game. We take a detailed look.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson followed up Wednesday’s practice with another one on Thursday. No one is saying definitively whether he will pl

Peterson practices again; 'extremely hungry' to play

Adrian Peterson was feeling good Thursday after his first two practices since his September knee surgery "went pretty smoothly."
Adrian Peterson, wearing a knee brace, carried the ball while under the watchful eye of head trainer Eric Sugarman.

Adrian Peterson returns to a vastly different Vikings offense

When the air horn sounded Wednesday afternoon, signaling the start of the first Vikings practice of the week, Peterson reclaimed his old spot at the front of the team stretch
Vikings fans cheered on the team against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London's Wembley Stadium in 2013. The NFL announced Tuesday that the Vikings will

Vikings head to London in 2017 to face Browns

The 2017 matchup will be a Cleveland home game.
Brandon Fusco, during training camp.

Fusco is latest Vikings offensive lineman to suffer concussion

Right guard Brandon Fusco on Sunday suffered his second concussion of the season.
Anthony Harris, a second-year pro, will make his third career start at safety against Jacksonville on Sunday, replacing injured Harrison Smith.

The Call: Vikings need a win, and Jacksonville looks beatable

A look inside the Vikings' matchup with the Jaguars.
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) is congratulated by Chad Greenway (52) and Rhett Ellison (85) after Kendricks returned an intercepted

Vikings' Kendricks finds it in himself to forgive once-absent father

Marvin Hendricks found God and sobriety, and son Eric found the ability to forgive him for many mistakes.
Adrian Peterson

Peterson plans to play this season -- only if Vikings have shot at playoffs

Adrian Peterson, out since a Week 2 knee injury, wants to return later this month with the hope of leading the Vikings into the postseason. But he won't play 'for obvious reasons' if the team has been eliminated.
Stefon Diggs (14) caught a pass in the fourth quarter last week against the Cowboys.

Diggs approaching statistical milestones with Vikings

Stefon Diggs, with 806 receiving yards and four games left, is on pace for 1,128. And with 75 catches in 10 games, he is within striking distance of 100.
Injured in Week 2, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is nearing a return — maybe.

In Peterson's possible return to Vikings, is it 'Yo, Adrian,' or 'No, Adrian'?

With the Vikings' once-promising season on the brink and another staredown over his contract looming in the offseason, does it make sense for Adrian Peterson to return to action?
Adam Thielen's fumble on a punt return in the fourth quarter resulted in Dallas scoring the go-ahead touchdown.

Three takeaways from Thursday's Vikings-Cowboys game

The Vikings defensive front rose to the occasion against the NFL's best offensive line.