Local

College basketball player intrigues NFL teams

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 22:37
Old Dominion basketball player wants to take talents to football field
Categories: Local

Future MLS team seeing fan interest soar

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 22:33
The struggling Loons expect a sellout for Saturday’s home opener.
Categories: Local

Rangers employees have ties with Wild

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 22:18
Doug Risebrough, Glen Sather and Tommy Thompson all spent time with Wild or North Stars.
Categories: Local

Dubnyk, Wild try getting past the Game 4 debacle

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 21:42
Wild dismisses ‘one bad hockey game,’ seeks redemption in pivotal Game 5
Categories: Local

A new chance for Twins late-bloomer Thompson

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 21:27
Reliever Thompson puts suspension behind him
Categories: Local

Blues coach Hitchcock has a few tricks up his sleeve

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 21:21
The Blues coach knows what to say and when to say it.
Categories: Local

Wild vows to rebound from Game 4 debacle

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 17:42
Wild players and coach Mike Yeo said they remain confident despite a 6-1 blowout loss Wednesday and are focused on returning to form.
Categories: Local

Target shooting's wild rise as a Minnesota school sport

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 17:29
Number of participants continues to soar for high school trapshooting.
Categories: Local

BWCA trip tips: Readers offer their best to first-timers

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 17:18
From dos to don’ts, readers offer their top tips for BWCA first-timers
Categories: Local

NFL Draft Truth or Hype: Michigan State CB Trae Waynes

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 17:04
We’ll take a daily look at some of the most talked about prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft and tell you whether they’re worth the hype or not. I’ve been so obsessed with the edge rushers in the draft that I haven’t analyzed a single cornerback in this series yet. Well, that changes now starting with Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes. It seems as if 90 percent of the mock drafts (rough estimate) pairs Waynes and the Vikings with the 11th overall pick. He’s viewed as the top rated cornerback in the draft by many people at six feet and 186 pounds. Could he fill the need for the Vikings of a lockdown cornerback alongside Xavier Rhodes? By the Numbers: Redshirt Freshman (nine games): five tackles, (two solo), ½ sack Redshirt Sophomore (14 games): 50 tackles (35 solo), three interceptions, five pass defended, 1.5 tackles for loss Redshirt Junior (13 games): 46 tackles (34 solo), three interceptions, eight pass defended, one sack, two tackles for loss Waynes started 27 games in his final two seasons at Michigan State and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors last year. He received second-team All-American honors from Athlon Sports, Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. NFL Combine/Pro Day results: 40-yard dash: 4.31 seconds Bench press (225 pounds): 19 reps Vertical: 38 inches Broad jump: 10 feet, two inches Waynes had the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine among cornerbacks and finished tied for fourth on the bench press. Waynes appeared to have fared well during the draft evaluation, especially with the impressive 40-yard dash time. The Film You can immediately tell Waynes is an aggressive corner that can hold his own in man-to-man coverage. It’s clear that’s where he’s comfortable at, and Michigan State heavily relied on his man-to-man ability at the boundary cornerback position. Per NFL.com, he gave up just two touchdowns in the last two seasons. I like his physicality, though at times he’s overaggressive and puts him out of position, and how he was capable of playing on an island every week consistently. Waynes was always around the ball too. Though his technique might be off, Waynes was capable of making a play if a quarterback tested him. The biggest knock on Waynes is his aggressive play can lead to penalties. In both examples, you can see Waynes grabbing and making contact with the receiver while the ball is in the air. Sometimes that’ll be called for pass interference, as Waynes witnessed firsthand in college. He also at times can appear a little sloppy in his mechanics. There were a lot of plays where Waynes took an unnecessary step that slowed him down or put him out of position. I was surprised he ran the fastest 40-yard dash time at the combine because there are some plays where Waynes’ speed doesn’t translate on the field. There aren’t too many eye-popping plays you’ll find with Waynes, which could be why some have knocked whether he’s really the best cornerback in this draft. But I don’t want to see flashy plays from a cornerback. I just need him to get the job done, and Waynes got the job done in college. I think he’ll have the ability to get the job done as well in the NFL, especially if someone like Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer gets his hands on him to clean up his technique. It’s clear to see why a lot of mock drafts have the Vikings picking Waynes. He has the length, aggressive and speed that fit well in a Zimmer defense. The margin between Waynes and some of the other top cornerbacks is narrow, but I think he’ll be a solid cornerback in the NFL and worthy of a first round pick. Verdict: Truth
Categories: Local

Ahmad Gilbert commits to Minnesota

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 15:29
The Gophers have gotten commitments from two recruits in the last three days.
Categories: Local

Gophers to be featured prominently in prime time this fall

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 14:46
Three of the seven Big Ten games in prime time on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 will feature Minnesota.
Categories: Local

History of the draft picks: No. 232 overall

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 14:09
Heading into the draft, we will give the recent history at each of the Vikings’ seven draft slots. We will begin this series with pick No. 232, the last of the Vikings’ seven selections. The pickings will be slim midway through the seventh round, but recent history shows that it is possible to find a standout. If you watched this year’s Super Bowl, you watched one 232nd pick deliver in a big way. Before we look at the good, bad and ugly, here is a list of the last 10 players to go 232nd overall: 2014: Ulrick John, OT, Colts 2013: Sam Barrington, LB, Packers 2012: Greg Scruggs, DE, Seahawks 2011: Baron Batch, RB, Steelers 2010: Jammie Kirlew, DE, Broncos 2009: Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots 2008: Keith Zinger, TE, Falcons 2007: Steve Vallos, G, Seahawks 2006: Gerrick McPhearson, DB, Giants 2005: Jimmy Verdon, DT, Saints The good… The one who stands out here is Edelman, who scored the game-winning touchdown as the Patriots beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Edelman played quarterback at Kent State, but the Patriots projected him as a wide receiver or cornerback. He settled in at receiver and became Tom Brady’s go-to guy with 197 catches for 2,028 yards and 10 touchdowns the past two seasons. The bad… Kirlew only played one game, and it was with the Jaguars, not the team that drafted him. The ugly… It’s hard to get too worked up about a late selection like this one. But if you had to pick the worst of the bunch, it would be McPhearson, the only one who never appeared in an NFL game. Having the Vikings ever picked 232nd? Yes. They have drafted out of this slot eight times. The most recent was defensive tackle Jose White in 1995. In the 1970s, they selected two regulars at 232nd overall in guard Charles Goodrum (1972) and wide receiver Sam McCullum (1974). Best 232nd pick in NFL history? That honor goes to former Baltimore Colts receiver Raymond Berry. Drafted in 1954, Berry was selected to six Pro Bowls and later inducted in the Hall of Fame. Big thanks to Pro Football Reference and their invaluable Draft Finder for making our work easy.
Categories: Local

A reminder of Minnesota's goofiest NHL season

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 12:47
Wednesday's thumping by the Blues brought back the Penguins' 8-0 blowout in 1991. And that brought back Norm Green, Dark Star and other wonders from the 1990-91 season.
Categories: Local

NFL Draft Truth or Hype: Iowa OL Brandon Scherff

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 12:15
We’ll take a daily look at some of the most talked about prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft and tell you whether they’re worth the hype or not. The first offensive lineman we’ll review is Iowa’s Brandon Scherff, who by many accounts is the “safe pick” in this year’s draft. Pro tip: There is no such thing as a safe pick in the NFL Draft. For some reason, there’s always an offensive lineman that receives this label in a lazy attempt for those that actually don’t want to analyze the position. Anyway, Scherff is regarded as the top offensive lineman in this draft and could be off the board early in the first round. He’s listed at 6-5, 319 pounds with an arm length just over 33 inches. By the Numbers: Redshirt Freshman: Appeared in 11 games at left guard with three starts Redshirt Sophomore:  Started seven games at left tackle but missed final five games with a broken fibula and a dislocated ankle Redshirt Junior: Started all 13 games at left tackle Redshirt Senior: Started all 13 games at left tackle Scherff made the switch to left tackle during the spring of his redshirt sophomore season, and he started in every game during his last two seasons. He was the Outland Trophy winner, given to the nation’s best interior lineman, and named first-team All-America last year. NFL Combine/Pro Day results: 40-yard dash: 5.05 seconds Bench press (225 pounds): 23 reps Vertical: 32.5 inches Broad jump: 8 feet, 11 inches Scherff only participated in the 40-yard dash and the bench press at the NFL Combine. His 40-yard dash time was the fourth fastest among offensive linemen, while Scherff didn’t crack the top 10 on the bench press. He measured his vertical and broad jump at Iowa’s pro day. The Film It’s difficult to judge an offensive lineman through stats or any sort of combine measurements. There aren’t stats that can measure an offensive lineman’s production efficiently, and I don’t think a team will need to see Scherff run 40 yards down the field at any point in his career. So we turn to the tape, and it shows that Scherff is a good run blocker. That was clearly his strength in college, and he moved well enough to get to the next level consistently to block linebackers. Here’s a good example against Maryland (Scherff is the second player on the left side). Scherff is athletic, but he struggled with his balance or never squared up at times when moving on his run blocks. It just appeared in some of those instances Scherff grazed the defender when you expected a nice, clean block. My biggest concern is against the pass, where Scherff will need to improve in the NFL. Iowa is a team that relied on the run, but Scherff had a difficult time protecting the quarterback. He’s not as aggressive as you’d expect someone of his size to be in protection. There’s a debate on whether Scherff is an offensive tackle or a guard in the NFL. He appears to be a guard, and I think people are trying to say he’s a tackle to justify such high praise. Scherff will be a solid guard that can produce against the run. Everyone calls Scherff the safe pick, but it’s a little risky drafting a guard that high. I just find it hard to pick an offensive guard that high in the first round when you can find some value in Day 2, such as Duke’s Laken Tomlinson or Hobart’s Ali Marpet, that could even turn out better than Scherff. Verdict: Hype
Categories: Local

Three questions for Reggie Lynch

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 12:11
The sophomore brings size and a defensive presence at the rim to Minnesota.
Categories: Local

Thursday (Slippage from Wild's Dubnyk) edition: Wha' Happened?

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 12:05
Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, the savior of this season, was blasted Wednesday for six goals on 17 shots. On a couple of them, he had little to zero chance. A couple were softies. And a couple were toss-ups — the kinds of saves he made far more often than not during his incredible regular-season run with the Wild. There were far more things wrong with the Wild on Wednesday than Dubnyk. An all-around mess is to blame for that 6-1 loss. But lurking within that loss was an extension of a troubling trend with Dubnyk: he simply hadn’t been as otherworldly lately, even before Wednesday’s disaster. In Dubnyk’s first 32 games with the Wild, he posted a 93.9 save percentage, putting him among the top 5 goalies in the league in that span. In his final seven regular-season games, he posted a 92.5 save percentage — still quite good, but a mark that ranked 14th among NHL goalies with at least 240 minutes played during that span. In his first three playoff games, it was more of the recent same: a 92.2 save percentage. The number in the playoffs obviously looks a lot worse when factoring in the six goals Wednesday; now, through four playoff games, Dubnyk’s save percentage is a dismal 86.4. War On Ice tracks the quality of saves a goalie is making, dividing them into high, medium and low danger. In those final seven regular-season games, Dubnyk was still stopping the high-danger shots at around the same rate as he previous had (around 86 percent). It was the medium and low-danger goals that were getting in more frequently. In the playoffs, the sample size is too small to draw many conclusions, but he has allowed seven goals on 24 high-danger shots (70.8 save percentage), a bad number that was hurt further Wednesday but was already down from where it had been earlier this year. The Wild didn’t need Dubnyk to be great down in the final handful of regular season games, since his MVP-level work before that had all but guaranteed them a playoff spot, nor did they Minnesota need him to be great in the first three games of the playoffs because its overall play was so sharp that it could take a 2-1 series lead. And again, it wasn’t like Dubnyk was bad down the stretch or in the playoffs before Wednesday; he was just closer to earth than he had been, and frankly he just wasn’t tested a ton during many stretches of the first three postseason games. But with St. Louis seeming to have found its legs and another gear Wednesday, and with the Wild needing to now get at least one more road win to take this series, I dare say Minnesota needs MVP-level Dubnyk to resurface. That means stopping those “high danger” shots at an impressive rate. And in general, it means being sharper not just than he was in Game 4, but also in the 10 games that preceded it. (Amazing photo of the Blues’ third goal by Strib photog Carlos Gonzalez).
Categories: Local

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