Griffen misses today's Vikings practice due to illness

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 16:00
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen missed practice today due to an illness, but head coach Mike Zimmer expects him to practice on Friday or at the very least be ready to start Sunday in St. Louis. Spotted but not participating during Sunday’s practice were fullback Zach Line (ankle) and outside linebackers Michael Mauti (foot) and Brandon Watts (knee), though Zimmer just told us that Line was able to do a little bit of individual work today. We’ll see how he’s listed on the injury report. Zimmer pretty much ruled out Mauti and Watt’s for Sunday’s game against the Rams, though they might have ended up being healthy scratches anyway with the Vikings relatively healthy right now. In other injury news, my colleague Master Tesfatsion spoke with rookie offensive tackle Antonio Richardson, who is on injured reserve due to a knee issue. Richardson said he experienced swelling in his right knee after the preseason finale and is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery this week.
Categories: Local

Peterson was an angry `talking assassin' last time he played St. Louis

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 14:06
Adrian Peterson has played a lot of football games, including 107 in his eight-year career, but he’s never been as ticked off and talkative on the field as he was on Dec. 16, 2012. The Vikings were making their playoff push and Peterson was en route to 2,097 yards, eight shy of the NFL record set by Eric Dickerson in 1984. Wednesday, the St. Louis media asked if Peterson had watched the tape of his 212-yard performance from that day. He said he hadn’t looked at it all, and then brought up how downright angry the Rams made him early on in that game. “What I do remember about that game is that it’s first time in eight years, I’ve ever talked off to players,” Peterson said. “Those guys had me so hot, like I haven’t ever been that mad playing football.” Peterson lost yardage on four of his first five carries and six of his first eight. After seven carries, he had zero yards. “They were just yapping at the mouth,” he said. “I’m talking about from the defensive front to the second level to the secondary. Those guys were just yapping.” On his ninth carry, Peterson went a career-long 82 yards for a touchdown. “It got a little quite then,” Peterson said. Today – three days before the season opener at St. Louis — Peterson was asked to recall what the Rams players said that made him so mad. “I can’t even remember, but they said enough to make me fire back,” he said. “Normally, I’m an assassin out there. I was a talking assassin that time. From the secondary on down, those guys were talking so much noise. Then we ripped a long run on them and things got quiet. Hopefully, things play out the same way.” Peterson said he normally doesn’t hear trash talking directed at him on the field. “Maybe because I don’t really talk trash when I’m out there,” he said. “For whatever reason, I don’t know if E.D. [Dickerson] gave them a call and was like, `Hey, you have to get in this guy’s head or something. He’s approaching my record’ or whatever. Or maybe they’re just fiery like that. I’ll be able to confirm it on Sunday.” In last year’s season opener at Detroit, Peterson’s first carry went 78 yards for a touchdown. “I think that Tuesday or Wednesday [before the game], me and Toby [Gerhart] and Matt Asiata was talking and I was like, `Man, I’m going to take the first carry to the house,’” Peterson said. “I never really thought about it. I meant it when I said it. And then when it happened and I came to the sideline and they reminded me that I had said that. Hopefully, it will work out the same way.” Asked if he was calling his shot three days before the opener, Peterson thought about it for a second. Then he took the bait. “Yeah, I might as well speak it,” he said. “Yeah, touchdown. First run.”
Categories: Local

On radio, Kill says Keith out for Saturday's game; also vents about Panthers' onside kick

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 14:05
Defensive end Alex Keith suffered what appeared to be a left knee injury in last week's win over Eastern Illinois.
Categories: Local

What to watch in Vikings opener

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 14:03
Here are a few areas of particular interest in the Vikings season opener
Categories: Local

Basswood is latest BWCA lake infested with invasive spiny waterfleas

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 12:48
Spread of invasive species along Minnesota-Ontario border continues
Categories: Local

Patterson tells Rams coach Fisher: 'Kick me the ball'

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 12:39
Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson said he’s constantly thinking about his first kickoff return opportunity in the season opener against the Rams on Sunday. He even pleaded to Rams head coach Jeff Fisher in the offseason when the two bumped into each other at the ESPYs in June. “I told him, ‘Just make sure he kicks me the ball,’” Patterson said. “He told me, ‘Be ready.’ So I’m ready for that.” Fisher didn’t sound like he was leaning that way during Wednesday’s conference call. The league quickly found out about Patterson’s ability last year when the rookie led the NFL, and set a franchise record, averaging 32.4 kickoff yards per return. He scored two touchdowns returning kicks, with one tying the longest play in NFL history on a 109-yard return against the Packers. “If you want to create problems for yourself, give him a returnable ball,” Fisher said. “The more balls you can kick out of the end zone, the better you are.” When told Fisher sounded like someone that didn’t want to kick to the Vikings return man, Patterson wasn’t buying it. “Coaches tell you two different things,” Patterson said. “I feel like they’re going to try and kick it to me. Their kicker, he’s got a big leg so I feel like he’s going to try and kick it out the end zone. If he don’t, I’m going to bring it out.” There will likely be times when Patterson won’t be lined up to field returns based on in-game situations, but otherwise, Patterson enjoys making an impact on special teams. “Last year, that’s where I made my money at on kickoff returns,” Patterson said. “Ain’t no need for me to even be lobbying off of that. That’s my job. I don’t feel I need to get off that unless coach [Mike Zimmer] tells me to.”
Categories: Local

First-rounder Bridgewater settling into backup role

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 11:30
Teddy Bridgewater, the quarterback of the future, is getting used to being the backup of the present. While Matt Cassel is getting comfortable as the starter, taking the vast majority of the first-team reps in practice, the 32nd overall pick in May’s NFL draft is forced to take reps of the mental variety. Bridgewater estimated that he is getting about two percent of the first-team reps in practice, so he has to make the most of the ones he gets in individual drills and when running the scout team. After Wednesday’s practice, Bridgewater was the last Vikings player of the field, and sweat was still running down his face and he was still catching his breath as he started answering questions. “The preparation, it changes as far as practice because we have to get Matt ready for this upcoming game,” Bridgewater said. “We have to get Matt ready to play. So for me, I won’t be getting as many reps as I received in the preseason. But for me, it’s just taking advantage of those reps that I do get and also giving the defense a good look. I’m out there with the scout team.” Running the scout team isn’t ideal, because he is running plays from the opponent’s playbook and not coordinator Norv Turner’s. But he said it is helpful in that it allows him to work on fundamentals while going up against the first-team D. He is still tweaking his mechanics, specifically his footwork, so he can play faster, throw on time and get the ball to his receivers before the get out of breaks. While the competition with Cassel got away from him midway through August, when he struggled during the preseason opener and then threw a few interceptions in the following week of practice, Bridgewater said he learned an important lesson from head coach Mike Zimmer and Turner. “The biggest thing was that Coach Zimmer and Coach Turner, they were just telling me, ‘Go play football and stop thinking so much and stop overthinking things. Just go out there and use your God-given talent,’” Bridgewater said. “Hearing those words just took a load of my shoulders because as a young guy you think that you have to do everything right. But it reminded me that I’m going to make some mistakes. I’m a rookie. Go out there and play relentlessly and just try to have fun.” Bridgewater led a game-winning drive in the Vikings’ second preseason game and finished the preseason with an impressive 111.2 passer rating. He threw five touchdowns and no interceptions. “I felt pretty good. I felt good because I made progress,” Bridgewater said of play in the preseason. “But I still have a lot to work on. My work is never done and I’m never satisfied. So I was pretty happy with my performance throughout the preseason, but I know that I still have a lot to learn.”
Categories: Local

ESPN: Minnesota will play St. John's in the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 11:25
The Gophers will play one game before heading to Madison Square Garden.
Categories: Local

Souhan blog: NFL, Vikings predictions

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 09:47
Plus: Jayhawks on radio!
Categories: Local

Thursday (Twins marketing 'World's Worst') edition: Wha' Happened?

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 09:09
One of Keith Olbermann’s most popular bits on his very good show is his naming of the “World’s Worst” in sports. This is typically a person or entity that has messed up in what he deems a particularly egregious way. On Wednesday, as noted by the Star Tribune’s Casey Common, Olbermann got after the Twins for not battling their tails off in the marketing department. Picking up on a tweet from Internet friend and recent cat enthusiast Aaron Gleeman, Olbermann ripped the Twins’ marketers for their survey question, “Currently, which one brand is most similar to the Twins’ brand?” There were 11  options, all of which were brands of vehicles. Gleeman had already identified the survey as tone deaf considering the team is in the midst of another losing season, and Olbermann took it a step further. “Wait, the Twins? All those cars run,” adding later that the Yugo is the correct answer to the survey question. “Boxy, underpowered, tough to watch, unsuccessful on the road and not bought by anybody in this country since 1992.” Ouch. Here’s the full clip, and the Twins’ part starts around the 2:30 mark.
Categories: Local

Former Viking Shaun Hill thrust under center for Rams

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 01:05
Former Vikings QB Shaun Hill, a 13-year vet, will make his first opening-day start since 2009.
Categories: Local

Three Twins postgame thoughts from LEN3: May, Vargas, Lineup of the near future

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 00:19
The Twins are now fifth in the league in scoring after beating the White Sox 11-4 on Wednesday
Categories: Local

Twins callup A.J. Achter defies the numbers

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 22:56
The September call up was selected in a round that no longer exists and is on the verge of his MLB debut.
Categories: Local

Vikings' Cassel won't be looking over shoulder

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 22:33
The veteran QB isn’t fazed by Teddy Bridgewater.
Categories: Local

Short Gophers defensive tackle playing big as freshman

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 21:48
True freshman Steven Richardson will get a chance to start Saturday.
Categories: Local

Hartman: Turner liked what he saw from Gray with Browns

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 21:21
Having spent time with MarQueis Gray in 2013, Norv Turner is happy the Vikings brought him in.
Categories: Local


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