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

Vikings draft positional primer: the defensive line

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 08:43
In Mike Zimmer’s first season in Minnesota, the Vikings’ front four became formidable once again. Led by a first-time starter in right defensive end Everson Griffen, the Vikings — who had three new starters along their defensive line — recorded 41 sacks. And the pressure they generated on enemy quarterbacks was one of the primary reasons the Vikings were able to climb all the way to seventh in pass defense in 2014. But it wasn’t all pretty. The Vikings got gouged for 121.4 rushing yards per game, which was worst in the division and ranked 25th in the NFL. That’s not all on the defensive line, but run defense does start up front. The Vikings return all but one member of the 2014 rotation after re-signing reserve defensive tackle Tom Johnson — who surprised with 6.5 sacks — and letting backup end Corey Wootton walk. That continuity should be a good thing, and the group should be better off now that players are more accustomed to Zimmer’s techniques. There is still plenty of room for improvement, though, especially against the run. So you can count on Zimmer continuing to stockpile his style of defensive linemen as he tries to develop a deep, talented rotation similar to what he had during his time with the Bengals. Projected starters: Griffen and Brian Robison on the ends with defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joseph between them. Don’t forget about: The Vikings drafted Scott Crichton last spring with one of their two third-round picks with the hope that he would rotate with Robison and maybe one day replace him. In his rookie year, though, Crichton was often inactive and played only 16 defensive snaps, recording two tackles and zero sacks. His lack of activity is no doubt a concern, but it would be foolish to write off a player after one season. Level of need: Moderate. Most of the group will be back, but that doesn’t mean the Vikings can’t and won’t look to upgrade, especially at defensive end. They could use another speed rusher to spell Griffen, and Robison isn’t getting any younger over on the left side. Five prospects to remember: Florida DE Dante Fowler, Nebraska DE Randy Gregory, Arizona State DT Marcus Hardison, Mississippi State DE Preston Smith, Norfolk State DE Lynden Trail. Our best guess: With more pressing needs, the Vikings will probably pass on defensive linemen in the early rounds, though that could change in the unlikely event that a top pass-rushing prospect such as Fowler or Gregory falls into their laps at No. 11. Instead, look for them in the middle rounds to snag a defensive end prospect that Zimmer thinks he can develop into a starter and maybe a defensive tackle sometime during the draft, too.
Categories: Local

Backes leads a resurgence for Blues

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 06:34
He had expected a resurgence, and he contributed to it with a goal and an assist.
Categories: Local

When building stadiums, formulas are all over the map

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 23:38
Three soccer venues in MLS have been built without public funds
Categories: Local

St. Louis pounds Wild, Dubnyk 6-1 in Game 4

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 23:28
One game after becoming the first NHL team to shut out an opponent this postseason, the Wild allowed the most goals it ever has in 52 all-time playoff games.
Categories: Local

Pelfrey, two relievers shut out Royals

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 22:42
Mike Pelfrey, who pitched seven innings, got his first win since August 2013.
Categories: Local

Judge OKs $1 billion settlement for NFL players' lifetime injuries

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 22:26
Appeals could delay payment as many are dissatisfied.
Categories: Local

Gophers hope to make Big Ten baseball tournament with strong finish

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 22:01
The Gophers are on the bubble for qualifying for the Big Ten tournament at Target Field.
Categories: Local

When building stadiums, formulas are all over the map

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 21:40
Three soccer venues in MLS have been built without public funds.
Categories: Local

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