Jones begins class; Gophers hope he can practice next spring; Ekpe likely out for season

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 13:59
Prized running back recruit Jeff Jones can't practice this fall but could be on the field for spring practice.
Categories: Local

Vikings release regular season depth chart, sign Wentworth to practice squad

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 12:54
The Vikings released an updated depth chart for the regular season, which has Jasper Brinkley and Robert Blanton as the starting middle linebacker and strong safety. The depth chart is subject to change but gives a better idea of where both positions stand. Head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t want to name the starters at both positions publicly on Monday, although he already made a decision. Here’s more on the strong safety situation from today’s paper. Here’s a complete look at the Vikings regular season depth chart. The Vikings also signed undrafted rookie free agent guard Austin Wentworth to the practice squad. They released cornerback Kendall James to make room for Wentworth, who was waived on Sunday. James was selected in the seventh round in this year’s draft and the only drafted rookie not on the roster.
Categories: Local

Tuesday (Vikings vs. Gophers -- who wins more games?) edition: Wha' Happened?

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 10:57
The best fake sports debates are the ones in which both sides have logical points to be made. And when we say “fake,” we don’t mean bogus. Rather, we mean manufactured — a talking point that need not be raised, but is fun to bring up nonetheless. As such, we bring to you a fake sports debate this morning: which football team will win more games this season — the Gophers or the Vikings. On the surface, the Vikings should always have the edge since they play four more regular-season games than the Gophers. Then again, the U gets a chance for a pretty good head start every season with the squishy soft non-conference schedule favored by many BCS schools. A decent year in college football, really, is 7 or 8 wins. Same goes for the NFL. This year, if you really had to guess, you would say the Vikings are in line to win 6 or 7 games, maybe 8 if they overachieve a little, maybe 9 or possibly 10 with some breaks. You could say the same exact thing about the Gophers. So who is going to win more games? Here’s how we’d frame it: The Vikings have more upside since they have more games, and the NFL generally produces surprise teams every season. Minnesota had a comedy of QB errors last season and lost many games by narrow margins thanks to poor QB play and a bad defense. If those problems are even somewhat solved by a few new players and a new regime, this team could be intriguing. The Gophers are more of the known commodity because they have one unit — defense, yes we know that’s shocking to say — that should keep the team in virtually every game. We still fear that the passing game will come up short against the best teams, but this team won 8 games last year and even against a tougher schedule this season shouldn’t do any worse than 6-6 (and very well should do better than that). Gut instinct: Gophers win 7, Vikings win 6. But two years from now — when the Vikings theoretically should be better and the Gophers could be ready to contend in the Big Ten — this should be a race to 10 wins instead.
Categories: Local

Hicks among eight recalled by Twins

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 00:15
Categories: Local

Lynx must get off to hot start in do-or-die Game 3 against Mercury

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 22:27
The defending WNBA champions can’t afford to trail early in the decisive game.
Categories: Local

Vikings still undecided at one safety spot

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 22:16
Coach Mike Zimmer still isn't saying who will be starting at safety opposite Harrison Smith.
Categories: Local

Chip Scoggins: Vikings look like an 8-8 team

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 22:02
There's optimism in Mike Zimmer's first season, but there's also concerns that figure to keep this team from doing anything better than .500.
Categories: Local

Mauer, Hughes carry Twins past Orioles

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 15:56
Joe Mauer had four RBI and Phil Hughes won his 15th game by allowing only three unearned runs over eight innings to keep Minnesota from being swept in the four-game series.
Categories: Local

MarQueis Gray surprised, excited to be a Viking

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 14:07
Vikings tight end MarQueis Gray, going on less than four hours of sleep, arrived at Winter Park on Monday for his first practice with the Vikings. The former Gophers quarterback said he was surprised to return to the Twin Cities after the Browns cut him on Saturday. “I found out more about it through Twitter more than my agent, but he called me right away and Mr. [Rick] Spielman called me also,” Gray said. “I’m happy to be here. I called my wife, and she was going crazy.” Gray was flooded with texts and social media responses on Sunday as reports rolled in that the Vikings claimed him. My phone and social media sites are finally starting to calm down lol! I couldn’t imagine if it was @EricDecker87 coming back to the vikes! — MarQueis Gray (@MarQueisG) September 1, 2014 The Indianapolis native spent his rookie season last year with the Browns under offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who Gray felt had a big impact on the acquisition. “[Turner] saw, first most, what I could do in this offense,” Gray said. “I believe he’s trusting me a lot, obviously, because he wants me to be here. I just got to make sure I do my part and uphold all the great things he’s said about me.” Gray does not know the specifics of his role at the moment. He was used in two tight end formations and Wildcat plays with the Browns in his first season at the position. “You never take a day off being a tight end,” Gray said. “A lot more physical stress on the body. That’s why I’m trying to mainly bulk up strength wise, because I’ve been doing a lot blocking. That’s been the main focus I’ve been working on since I’ve switched to tight end.”
Categories: Local

It's Sept. 1, and Kuemper, Niederreiter remain unsigned; Nick Seeler transferring to Gophers

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 13:00
Training camp starts later this month, and two of the Wild's best youngsters remain unsigned
Categories: Local


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