Local

Kill: Leidner to practice Tuesday; Streveler also needs to be ready for TCU

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:39
Mitch Leidner injured his knee Saturday, but the plan is for him to practice Tuesday.
Categories: Local

Vikings rewind: Harrison Smith's 81-yard interception TD

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:05
The situation: The Vikings are up 27-3 with 3:21 left in the game. The Rams face a 3rd and 4 at the Vikings’ 23. The reason: The game is practically over at this point. The Rams are attempting to quickly score at this point in attempt of an unlikely comeback. The result: Safety Harrison Smith intercepts quarterback Austin Davis’ pass and returns it 81 yards for a touchdown. “The play he intercepted for the touchdown was a good play,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “He anticipated that. He’s got good anticipation and the things that he is not as proficient at right now, he will work really hard at it. He’s not afraid to work, and as I said before, he’s a smart guy and a tough guy too. So I like that.” How it happened: (Typically we’d use the All-22 angles, but they weren’t available as they should be.) Let’s first start with this guy, rookie offensive lineman Greg Robinson. He was the second overall pick but did not start in the season opener. Roger Saffold started at left guard but was injured on the previous play, which led to the Rams using the rookie for the first time in the game. Tuck that away for a moment, and we’ll come back to it shortly. The Vikings are in their nickel package with three cornerbacks and two linebackers. They’re showing blitz with linebackers Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway crowding the line of scrimmage. Safeties Robert Blanton and Harrison Smith are playing about 10 yards deep in the short yardage situation. The Rams have trips right, three wide receivers on the right side, with 11 personnel look, meaning a running back and a tight end are on the field. The play develops and Greenway drops back while the Vikings rush five with Barr and nose tackle Linval Joseph attacking Robinson. The two run a stunt, crossing one another into the opposite gaps. Rams running back Zac Stacy attempts to help Robinson, chipping Barr before blocking Joseph. The linebacker has already beat Robinson, who has nobody left to block at this point.   Meanwhile, Davis is staring down tight end Jared Cook, who breaks away on a four-yard crossing route right on the first down marker. Davis releases the ball just as Barr is about to unleash a pretty big blow. At the same time, Greenway runs into the referee and is out of position to make a play on Cook. You can already notice Smith breaking on the route, however, as he clearly noticed Davis watching Cook the entire play. Smith makes the interception with defensive end Everson Griffen leading him into the end zone untouched. “I said, ‘beep-beep, beep, beep, beep, beep,” Griffen said during the play, censoring what he really said. “But you know what [Smith] called it? He called it a full escort service. He just waited behind me. He was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m in there no matter what.’ It was a great pick by him.” It was a great pick by Smith, but it was also a nice play call by Zimmer to test the rookie on his first snap. There were reports that Robinson wasn’t ready to start and struggled to understand the playbook. He only played nine snaps, and Robinson’s first was a brutal welcome to the NFL. “It was fun, man,” Griffen said. “We’ve just got to keep this feeling going, keep on winning and everything is going to work out.”
Categories: Local

Tuesday (There is a trail of evidence, and that is a good thing) edition: Wha' Happened?

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:56
We’re in the middle of reading Dave Eggers’ novel, “The Circle,” which is centered around an altruistic, insanely profitable Internet company that bears some suspicious resemblance to what we imagine Google is like in real life. We’re only about 120 pages in, but one of the early ideas focuses on tiny cameras that can be placed all around the world so that no deed, good or bad, ever goes unnoticed or unrecorded. Knowing Eggers’ work, we have a pretty strong feeling things won’t turn out to be all so keen with these devices or The Circle in general, but the idea did lead to this thought: we’re not that far off from such a thing in reality, and at least in the case of some of sports’ latest scandals, that’s not a bad thing. Without cameras, the Ray Rice incident becomes a he said, she said affair — no less horrific, but without the images seared into our brains, the visceral reaction would be muted. Based on the way Rice’s wife continues to defend him, despite the fact that video seems to show he punched her and knocked her unconscious, we have to imagine this incident would have gone away far more quietly than it deserved to, and Rice would still be playing for the Ravens — which he does not deserve. In the case of alleged racism with the Atlanta Hawks, an electronic paper trail and recording of a conference call are at the forefront of the evidence. A generation ago, maybe everything terrible that was said to have been uttered just drifts away into the wind or winds up in a garbage can. Donald Sterling? An audio recording. Much of this isn’t earth-shattering technology to most of us, but it is technology that hasn’t existed for the vast majority of human existence. The bottom line now is that throughout the world, up to and certainly including the sports world, there is a trail of evidence and it will only continue to mount. That probably will not end up being a good thing in Eggers’ “The Circle,” as we can only imagine the unintended consequences of all of society’s movements being recorded, but if it means powerful people in the sports world are being held accountable for what appear to be despicable actions, the more evidence the better.
Categories: Local

A conversation with Mo Walker

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:54
The senior center's continued development will be critical if Minnesota takes the next step.
Categories: Local

Nino Niederreiter spurns KHL offer, closing in on re-signing with the Wild

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 09:26
The Wild winger's agent says he is "very positive" Nino Niederreiter will re-sign by the start of training camp next week.
Categories: Local

Goodell failed miserably in Rice case

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 09:19
The NFL commissioner should take a real hard look in the mirror because he fell woefully short at a critical hour with his horrendous handling of this Ray Rice situation.
Categories: Local

Minnesota lake first in nation to use new product to kill zebra mussels

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 00:17
Product tested in Shorewood lake could reshape the nation’s fight against pervasive zebra mussels.
Categories: Local

Kuemper, Wild stuck in contract talks

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 00:05
Goalie seeks one-year, one-way deal with Wild, but negotiations are at an impasse.
Categories: Local

Vikings' defensive line rotation has early success

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 21:49
Rotating players and using multiple looks works for Vikings’ defensive line.
Categories: Local

Scoggins: Vikings' game plan produces a little pizazz

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 21:24
Unpredictable Zimmer, Turner dial up surprises.
Categories: Local

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