Local

Zimmer updates on Sullivan, Ducasse and his own health

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 13:02
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer expects center John Sullivan and guard Vladimir Ducasse will be fine for Sunday’s road game against the Buccaneers. Sullivan passed has passed his first concussion protocol test, while Ducasse walked around the locker room on Wednesday without a brace. Ducasse said his knee was feeling better after falling on it during the first quarter on the same play Sullivan left due to a concussion against the Bills. “I don’t know how, but I just fell and fell on top of the knee,” Ducasse said. “That was about it. I went to get up, and I couldn’t put weight on my foot. But I’m fine.” Neither returned to the game with Joe Berger filling in at center and Mike Harris at right guard in the 17-16 loss on Sunday, but Zimmer was optimistic about the two biggest injury concerns this week. As for his own health, Zimmer had his kidney stones removed on Tuesday. He missed practice on Friday due to a minor procedure but still coached with kidney stones on Sunday. It was about as painful as it sounds, but the health issue has finally been resolved. “[Tuesday] wasn’t pleasant at all,” Zimmer said. “[Head Athletic Trainer] Eric Sugarman was talking to the team today, and I told him to get the video of the procedure that I had done to show the team. I think there would’ve been some [players] throwing up or something.”
Categories: Local

Mike Yeo on Wild's schedule: "We’re our own biggest rivalry now"

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:58
The Wild, after playing four games in the season's first 15 days, will now begin a stretch of six games in nine days.
Categories: Local

Ten Gophers questions, answered

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:45
Yesterday was Minnesota basketball media day, which presented the opportunity for reporters to meet many of the newcomers in person for the first time
Categories: Local

Coaching rumors: Here's how they start (Jerry Kill edition)

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:26
So the Gophers are 6-1 and probably the hottest team in college football that hasn't cracked the Associated Press Top 25.
Categories: Local

Vikings Rewind: Chris Hogan's 28-yard catch

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:47
The situation: With the Vikings up 16-10, the Bills faced a 2nd and 20 at the Vikings’ 30 with 27 seconds left. The reason: The Vikings caught a break on the previous drive with quarterback Kyle Orton called for intentional grounding, pushing the Bills back 10 yards and burning 10 seconds on the clock. The Bills needed to gain a decent chunk here for a manageable third down and no timeouts. The result: Orton found wide receiver Chris Hogan for a 28-yard gain that brought the Bills down to the 2. How it happened: The Bills have trips left bunched tight in the formation with rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins isolated on the right. They’re in an “11″ personnel, with running back Anthony Dixon in the backfield and tight end Scott Chandler lined up between wide receivers Robert Woods and Hogan. The Vikings were in the nickel package, subbing out linebacker Jasper Brinkley for cornerback Josh Robinson. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn slid into the slot with Robinson covering Watkins. It appeared that the cornerbacks were in man coverage, while linebackers Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway dropped into zone to cover the middle of the field. Woods (circled in black) and Hogan (circled in red) both initially appeared to run “out” routes near the sideline. The Bills didn’t have any timeouts and needed to get out of bounds to stop the clock. Munnerlyn (circled) in blue and Rhodes (circled in yellow) both broke on the coverage with Chandler drawing linebacker and safety attention on his post route down the middle of the field. Except Hogan did not run an “out” route and made a double move on Rhodes, who was initially out of position but caught back up with his speed. This was the point when Orton released the ball. It’s tough to tell but Rhodes has a step on Hogan at this point. What happened from there was pretty unbelievable given where Rhodes was at this point. Here’s the GIF of the play to follow along with three screenshots of a great angle from the broadcast. Again, Rhodes was in good position to make a play. He was in front of Hogan and tracked the ball down. He had his inside shoulder in front of Hogan, which was exactly how Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer taught his cornerbacks since Day 1 in terms of technique. But Hogan had better anticipation and caught the ball at its highest point, which is exactly what a receiver is supposed to do. He bumped into Rhodes while leaping for the catch, which threw Rhodes off balance. He didn’t get vertical on the ball as a result. Some might think that’s offensive pass interference, but it was a good no call. “[Rhodes] recovered [from the double move], he pinned the guy on the sideline, had him on his back and the guy went up and made a catch,” Zimmer said. “Other than when you get in that position, making the play, and that’s the thing I talk to the players about – part of my job is to get them in the right position to be able to make the play and when they get in position their job is to make the play. He’s been in those positions a lot and made an awful lot of plays. With the receivers in the NFL and the quarterbacks, they’re going to make some plays too.” Blanton was late to  help, a he had to account for Chandler running down the middle of the field. Safety Harrison Smith had to help Robinson over the top to cover Watkins on the other side of the play. “These things are all learning experiences for them,” Zimmer said. “Like with Xavier Rhodes, he’s played very, very well the last four or five ball games and there is a couple of situations there at the end that he needs to realize where he’s at. I think all of those things are going to come from experience of being in these situations, understanding the clock and the timeouts, and the field position, and everything else. The 4th and 20 play was definitely the biggest blunder for the Vikings on that drive, but it amazes me how Rhodes didn’t make a play on the ball. I’ve felt like I’ve said this a few times already this season, but Rhodes should’ve had his first career interception. But even if he deflected the ball, the Bills would’ve faced a 3rd and 20 with about 15 seconds left. Instead, the Vikings suffered their third consecutive loss.
Categories: Local

Wednesday (Bennett a true wild card for Wolves) edition: Wha' Happened?

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 09:48
When the Wolves were finally able to announce the blockbuster trade that sent Kevin Love to the Cavaliers, two of the three pieces they received in return were easy to categorize. Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, was the clear jewel of the trade. He was the deal-maker and the deal-breaker. His superstar potential made it possible for the Wolves to feel good about dealing an established star player. Thaddeus Young, a power forward with credentials, came over to fill Love’s spot in the lineup, contribute points and rebounds, and help mentor some of the team’s younger players. He was the known commodity in the deal. The third piece, though, was Andrew Bennett. He was the No. 1 overall pick in 2013, then had a disastrous rookie year. The only thing you could say about him was that he had the potential to be a boom or a bust — a true wild card. But his potential was intriguing, nonetheless. In early preseason action, Bennett — now healthy — has shown off some of those skills that led the Cavs to make the power forward the top pick a year ago. He plays with energy, he has a nice mid-range jumper and he could be a fan favorite. His nickname, “Big Daddy Canada,” is also fantastic. We don’t imagine a strong contribution from Bennett will make much of a difference in the bottom line for this year’s Wolves team. It’s still a group that will struggle to win 35 games and likely will settle in more around 30 by season’s end. But if Bennett can continue to contribute when the real games start, he certainly has the opportunity to make the Wolves better in the future — and to make the Love trade look even better as well.
Categories: Local

TwinsCentric: Powering up the bullpen

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 06:38
It is possible that the impact of Kansas City's speed, fundamentals, and maybe even defense, can be overstated. The impact of a lights-out bullpen, however, cannot.
Categories: Local

Molitor has third meeting with Twins

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 23:15
Categories: Local

Yeo puts Coyle on Koivu's line to reinvigorate it

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:49
Wild coach Mike Yeo moved Charlie Coyle to right wing alongside the struggling Mikko Koivu and left wing Thomas Vanek during a two-hour practice at Xcel Energy Center.
Categories: Local

Craig: Vikings offensive line down to bare minimum

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:21
Two injuries left the O-line one away from tight end Rhett Ellison playing some offensive tackle Sunday.
Categories: Local

Souhan: Records don't make Manning the game's best quarterback

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:05
Stats oppose that take but three men can trump him.
Categories: Local

Wolves continue to play with rotations in win over Pacers

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:04
Flip Saunders mixed and matched various players together and created a winning formula.
Categories: Local

Gophers seniors hope to share their experience

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:00
Gophers seniors are preparing younger teammates for the grind ahead.
Categories: Local

As carries pile up, Gophers' Cobb not worried about wear and tear

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 21:50
Carries have come by the bushel for the senior, who coaches fear may wear down as the year goes on.
Categories: Local

Anderson: Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club rises from the ashes

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 21:24
After last year’s fire, the storied shooting preserve complex rebuilds bigger and better.
Categories: Local

Stacking Bridgewater's start up with other recent first-round quarterbacks

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 16:57
Teddy Bridgewater finally threw his first career touchdown pass in Sunday’s 17-16 loss to the Bills. Before that, though, the rookie quarterback threw a pair of picks, pushing his season total to five. All that got me thinking today about how long it has taken other recent first-round picks to throw their first touchdown passes and whether they threw a handful of picks early in their first seasons, too. And because I couldn’t think of anything more relaxing to do on an off day than dig through box scores and write blog posts, I decided to share what I found. You can draw your own conclusions. ANDREW LUCK, COLTS: The first overall pick in 2012 started from Day One and was asked to throw a lot. He got his first TD pass on the 37th throw of his debut. He threw five picks in his first four games, with the fifth coming on his 159th career pass, but had seven touchdowns over that span. ROBERT GRIFFIN III, REDSKINS: Griffin, the No. 2 pick in 2012, got his first TD pass the quickest out of the eight QBs taken in the first round the past three years. It took him just seven passes. He only threw five interceptions as a rookie, the fifth one coming on his 373rd pass as a professional. RYAN TANNEHILL, DOLPHINS: It took Tannehill, who was also part of that 2012 quarterback crop, 65 passes to get his first touchdown. His fifth career interception came on his 133rd career throw. BRANDON WEEDEN, BROWNS: I’ll be honest, I forgot Weeden was a first-round pick just two years ago and giggled a little bit when I saw his name. It took him just 111 throws to chuck up his fifth pick and his first touchdown came on his 58th throw. Weeden, of course, is no longer in Cleveland. EJ MANUEL, BILLS: Manuel, the only first-round quarterback in 2013, threw his first career TD on the 15th pass of his debut. He was actually pretty cautious with the football as a rookie, throwing his fifth pick on his 258th pass, second to only RGIII. Manuel, of course, was benched early in 2014. BLAKE BORTLES, JAGUARS: Bortles, the third overall pick in May, took just 14 passes to get his first career touchdown. Unfortunately, it only took him 74 passes to throw his fifth interception, fewer than even Bridgewater. Bortles has five touchdowns and 10 picks through his first five NFL games. JOHNNY MANZIEL, BROWNS: Manziel, the latest QB of the future for the Browns, has only attempted one pass — an incompletion. But he could soon take over as Cleveland’s starter. TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, VIKINGS: Finally, we have reached Teddy Time. Bridgewater, the 32nd overall pick in May, needed 101 throws to get his first touchdown pass, the most of the eight guys I looked at. He actually threw five interceptions before getting it. His fifth interception came on his 98th throw. Go ahead and draw conclusions on Bridgewater if you want, but I still need to see about 800 or so more throws before I’m ready to say whether he’s the Vikings’ long-term answer at QB.
Categories: Local

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