Gophers no longer settling for being close late in games

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 22:05
Lately, they have been winning the games they let slip away earlier in the season.
Categories: Local

Souhan: Playoffs? Twins GM boldly sets that lofty goal

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 21:57
“There’s no reason for us not to be in that mix,” Terry Ryan said, ramping up the expectations.
Categories: Local

A good idea realized

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 21:11
Twins should play Gophers every year
Categories: Local

Hartman: Kill says Gophers' redshirts should really help this year

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 20:57
Spring football practice gives Jerry Kill a chance to see what they can do.
Categories: Local

Wild's Dubnyk knows all too well how dangerous Capitals can be

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 19:50
The Wild goalie, then with Arizona, turned his season around after a messy win in D.C.
Categories: Local

Peterson meeting starts with hugs, lasts four hours

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 19:23
Vikings General Manger Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer met with running back Adrian Peterson at his Houston home a little after noon today. You’ve probably watched the video by now. Peterson shook Spielman’s hand and pulled him in for a quick hug and then did the same with Zimmer before welcoming them into his home to chat. The meeting, believed to be Spielman and Zimmer’s first face-to-face sit-down with Peterson since he was suspended by the NFL in November, lasted four hours. While Vikings officials and sources close to Peterson have not yet revealed what exactly was said during that meeting, Peterson did tell ESPN that he thought the conversation went well. “I appreciate Rick and Coach Zimmer coming down to see me today,” Peterson told ESPN in a statement. “We had a great dialogue and they were able to understand where I was coming from and concerns my family and I still have. We respect each other and hopefully the situation can pan out so that everyone involved is content.”
Categories: Local

TFD: Breaking down Adrian Peterson hugging Spielman and Zimmer

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 18:29
Adrian Peterson hugged Vikings GM Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer outside his Texas home today. There’s proof, on the TV. Frankly, we’re surprised we haven’t been deluged with emails from public relations contacts trying to get us to interview hug experts. (Actually, we’re kind of sad about this. Maybe there aren’t hug experts? Maybe we could become one?) Peterson met with the two Vikings reps for four hours, and the meeting went well, and blah blah blah back to the hugs. Our breathtaking analysis: *Peterson did not initiate the first hug with Spielman. AP was going in for a casual handshake, from what we could see, but Rick called an audible and went in for the hug. Peterson seemed fine with it. After that, it was only natural for Zimmer and Peterson to hug. A handshake would have been weird. *All three guys showed some solid bro-hug technique. The hugs were of appropriate length and scope. *Spielman spends more on the tailoring of his sport coats than Zimmer. Peterson looked like he was dressed to attend a volleyball match. *We wouldn’t read to much into the hugs other than that it’s probably a good sign that when Spielman went for the hug, Peterson didn’t instead punch him in the face. And this concludes our report on the Peterson Hugs.
Categories: Local

Connor Reilly unable to start skating again, return becoming more unlikely

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 17:18
Gophers hockey sophomore forward Connor Reilly has been unable to make enough progress to start practicing with the team again.
Categories: Local

Hannah Brandt repeats as WCHA Player of the Year; Gophers collect handful of awards

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 16:24
Gophers women's hockey junior forward Hannah Brandt has claimed the WCHA Player of the Year award in back-to-back seasons.
Categories: Local

Sano's return highlights Molitor's first lineup

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 16:22
Slugging third baseman hasn't played since late 2013, but he'll bat fifth against Gophers in spring opener
Categories: Local

On Thursday, Wisconsin brings a model of big men development to the Barn

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 15:39
The Gophers will need to wring big growth out of their raw frontcourt if they want to improve.
Categories: Local

Mid-day talker: Where does Matt Cassel rank among Cassel-esque Vikings QBs?

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 15:04
The Vikings traded Matt Cassel to the Bills today in a move that strikes us a little odd since Cassel is a very functional backup but that also signals that the Vikings have supreme faith in Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. Our question of the afternoon is this: Where does Cassel rank among Vikings quarterbacks of a similar ilk over the past few decades? Minnesota has clearly had some very good QBs (even for very short periods of time); we’d consider Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Brett Favre and Daunte Culpepper to be in that category, ahead of Cassel. Bridgewater is in a separate category since he’s still very new. But among these QBs, where does Cassel rank: Brad Johnson, Gus Frerotte, Tarvaris Jackson, Sean Salisbury, Christian Ponder, Jim McMahon, Donovan McNabb and Cassel. These are the guys who were constantly teetering between being starters and backups — functional in some ways, limited in others. Our temptation is to put Johnson first because he stood the test of time longer than the rest. McNabb is at the bottom, with Ponder and Jackson right above him. The real competition is between Salisbury, McMahon, Frerotte and Cassel. Something makes us want to put Cassel above the rest of those guys, but the numbers don’t really bear that out. So we’ll leave it open to interpretation in the comments.
Categories: Local

Martin, Pekovic both likely to play tonight vs. Nuggets

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 13:50
Wolves played without starters Martin and Pekovic in Monday's home loss to L.A. Clippers
Categories: Local

Vikings trade backup QB Cassel to the Bills

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:16
The Vikings have agreed to trade backup quarterback Matt Cassel to the Buffalo Bills. This time a year ago, the Vikings re-signed Cassel to a two-year contract so the veteran could be the “bridge” to their quarterback of the future. That quarterback ended up being Teddy Bridgewater, who had a promising rookie season after replacing Cassel, who fractured his foot, in Week 3. Cassel, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve, would have been one of the league’s highest-paid backup quarterbacks in 2015. Now he will get a chance to start for the Bills, who in the past two days agreed to trade for a star running back in LeSean McCoy and a veteran QB in Cassel. According to the Bills’ website, the Bills will send two undisclosed draft picks to the Vikings in exchange for Cassel and an undisclosed pick. The trade can’t become official until the start of the league year, so Tuesday at 3 p.m. CDT. Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reported that Minnesota will receive a 2015 fifth-round pick and a 2016 seventh-round pick from Buffalo. The Vikings will send Cassel and a 2015 sixth-rounder to the Bills. By trading Cassel, the Vikings will free up $4.75 million in salary cap space. As it stands now, the team will enter free agency with about $25 million in cap space. General Manager Rick Spielman had positive things to say about Cassel when he was asked about the quarterback at the NFL scouting combine two weeks ago, but he was non-committal about his status for 2015. “Matt’s done a great job,” Spielman said. “He came in and won some games when he had to play and he’s a great locker room guy and Matt adds a lot of value to us.” Cassel appeared in 12 games, nine of them starts, over two seasons with the Vikings. He threw 14 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions while compiling a 4-5 record as a starter. He edged out Bridgewater to start the 2014 opener after a solid training camp and preseason. Bridgewater likely would have replaced him eventually, but Cassel’s injury opened the door. Now with Bridgewater locked in as the starter, Cassel was expendable. The Vikings will now presumably look for a veteran backup in free agency and possibly draft a developmental passer. Mark Sanchez, Jake Locker, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, along with former Vikings Tarvaris Jackson, Shaun Hill and Christian Ponder, are among the QBs scheduled to hit free agency.
Categories: Local

Vikings don't expect to get any compensatory picks

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:34
I know there are more prominent matters of concern as it pertains to the Vikings beat right now. You know, like where Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman ate breakfast at MSP this morning before flying down to Texas to meet with a certain disgruntled Pro Bowl running back. But as we wait for new developments in #PetersonWatch, I figured I’d throw up a quick block post on what Spielman had to say about compensatory picks when we talked to him the other day. Simply put, the GM doesn’t expect the Vikings to get any compensatory picks again this year when the recipients of the 32 comp picks are announced at the owners meetings next month. My colleague Mark Craig wrote an informative piece on comp picks last year. One tidbit from that: In two decades, the Vikings have only received 16 of them and haven’t gotten one since 2012. But why none this year? Yes, the Vikings lost a few notable unrestricted free agents last offseason, the biggest being defensive end Jared Allen. But they signed some, too, led by nose tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. The NFL doesn’t make its formula public, but it is based on more than just the salaries handed out, including playing time and postseason honors. So basically all those signings will likely cancel out and the Vikings will get no extra picks. Still, despite not getting many compensatory picks in recent years, Spielman said the Vikings keep the secret formula in mind when deciding whom to sign in the offseason. For example, players who were cut by their previous teams don’t count towards the formula. “There’s a pretty good group of guys that are going to get cut or have been cut already,” Spielman said. “So if you can potentially fill some needs with guys getting released, that doesn’t affect potential compensatory picks the following year. You weigh [unrestricted free agents] but we also put in all the guys that are potential street free agents, and if we can go that route, we may look at that route because it could potentially help you with compensatory picks.” I wouldn’t get your hopes up for 2016 comp picks, though. The Vikings don’t have any higher-profile players hitting the free-agent market because they locked up guys like tight end Kyle Rudolph and right guard Brandon Fusco before the season. Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley and backup defensive tackle Tom Johnson, who each played less than half of the defensive snaps last season, are probably their most notable free agents. Anyway, time to get back to refreshing Twitter in case Spielman and Zimmer stop to grab lunch.
Categories: Local

Wednesday (McCoy deal shows Peterson's limited trade value) edition: Wha' Happened?

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:01
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman will reportedly meet with Adrian Peterson in Texas today, apparently because Peterson — who missed all but one game last season after whipping his son with a switch — has some hurt feelings. It’s twisted, but sports are twisted. The upshot is the Vikings can now talk to Peterson — and next week, when the league season changes over and free agency begins, they could trade him. The prospect of trading Peterson — combined with Dallas’ potential interest in him — has Vikings fans dreaming of a reverse Herschel Walker deal, whereby Minnesota would get a massive haul in return. That dream should have been immediately realized as folly because the market for and importance of running backs is vastly different than it was a generation ago, but if it wasn’t, some other news Wednesday should snuff it out completely. The Eagles have traded LeSean McCoy to the Bills for a young linebacker coming off of a torn ACL, Kiko Alonso. That’s it. No more. A clean 1-for-1 swap. So now we know the trade value for an elite NFL running back (McCoy has nearly 3,000 yards rushing combined in the past two seasons) who is a better pass-catcher than Peterson (three years of at least 50 catches, including one year with 78), is three years younger than Peterson (McCoy turns 27 in July), is due to make less money and count less against the salary cap than Peterson and whose most significant proven off-field transgression is that he is a bad tipper. That value is one young linebacker — a former second-round pick who had a very good rookie season, but one who is coming off a very serious injury and isn’t doing full-speed drills yet. We have to imagine Peterson’s trade value is significantly less than that. The Vikings and Peterson might end up parting ways regardless, but now even more so than a day ago we should know not to expect much in return.
Categories: Local

TwinsCentric: Where will Miguel Sano play?

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 06:45
The young slugger seems increasingly unlikely to stick at third.
Categories: Local


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