Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Hot, rusty first steps, a motivated rich kicker and more AP

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 07:01
On most mornings, we walk you through what’s going on with the Vikings. WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED –The Vikings took their first steps in a season bursting with high expectations. –Kicker Blair Walsh said his four-year, $14 million contract extension makes him hungry to prove he deserves to be the league’s fourth-highest paid kicker. –Chip Scoggins warns naysayers to doubt the now-30-year-old Adrian Peterson at their own risk. –Our Day 1 camp snapshot includes a  sun-baked look at a rusty offense and one of the hotter training camp days in a while. AROUND THE NFC NORTH –Uh-oh. Packers running back Eddie Lacy — the guy who was struggling until he met the Vikings’ run defense in prime time early last season – sounds like he’s determined to make 2015 better than 2014. –Lions cornerback Darius Slay said he doesn’t see much difference between Detroit’s ‘D’ and Seattle’s Legion of Boom defense. OK, then. –New Bears GM Ryan Pace is someone you should want to follow, says the Chicago Sun-Times. TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE There is a walkthrough from 10:30-11:30 a.m. inside Blakeslee Stadium. The team also will practice without pads on the fields next to the stadium from 2:45-5 p.m. SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT A year ago, people laughed at Norv Turner for saying the team would eventually need No. 3 QB Christian Ponder to come through for them. Then injuries forced the Vikings to start three different quarterbacks in a three-game span, culminating with Ponder’s horrendous and Purple fate-sealing prime-time performance at Green Bay. A year earlier, as offensive coordinator in Cleveland, Turner also had to start three different QBs. So Norv isn’t resting his eyes on the No. 3 battle between Mike Kafka and rookie free agent Taylor Heinicke.
Categories: Local

Vikings notes: Kicker Walsh gets four-year, $14 million extension

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 06:44
The new contract makes Blair Walsh the fourth-highest paid kicker in the NFL.
Categories: Local

Molitor's faith in Twins releiver Duensing is rewarded

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 22:07
The lefthander hasn’t allowed a run in his past 11 appearances.
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Twins may still be battling their Yankees demons

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 21:57
The struggles from the weekend were reminiscent of the 2000s.
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Vikings take first steps in long season journey

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 21:49
Expectations, enthusiasm build as team goes through initial drills at training camp.
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Doubting him provides fuel for Peterson's fire

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 21:36
After a year away from the game, the Vikings running back is out to prove something again.
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Local stadiums' naming rights yield cash, secrecy

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 21:21
Teams commonly won’t say how much they received.
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Let's hope AP ages like A-Rod

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 21:13
Alex Rodriguez showed Saturday night that turning 40 doesn't mean his career is over. Adrian Peterson has a chance to show that turning 30 is no big deal, either.
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Vikings day at camp: Offense a little rusty in first day's heat

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 20:53
The daily dispatch from Mankato:
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Baseball Hall of Fame welcomes four

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 19:33
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio were inducted on Sunday.
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What you missed at Vikings training camp on Sunday, July 26

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 18:59
SETTING THE SCENE: It was a hot one in Mankato as the Vikings opened training camp Sunday. Temperatures were in the mid-80s, but it felt even hotter with the sun beating down. The players were in helmets and shells during the afternoon practice. They won’t be in full pads until Tuesday. OFFENSE STARTS COLD: As is usually the case early in training camp, the defense looked better than the offense, mostly because the offense was so out of sync whenever the ball wasn’t being handed to Adrian Peterson or a fellow back. Whether it was due to errant throws, collapsing pockets or miscommunication, a lot of passes hit the turf. Starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater fared alright, but it wasn’t pretty for the three other guys. WALLACE WORKS HARD: New receiver Mike Wallace impressed with his work ethic during the first day of camp. He was relentless out there, going all-out to dive after low throws and at one point cussing himself out for not scooping one of them off the grass. And then he was the last man off the field again after his standard post-practice JUGS machine session. I know it’s early in his tenure here, but he has been a tone-setter. BABS’ UNEVEN DAY: Big offensive tackle Babatunde Aiyegbusi produced inconsistent results in 11-on-11 work. He bulldozed rookie defensive end Danielle Hunter on one running play, but got beaten by Hunter in pass protection and had to tackle him to keep him away from the quarterback. Linebacker Josh Kaddu also beat Aiyegbusi wide once with a speed rush. TWO-MAN BATTLE?: Fifth-round pick Stefon Diggs and incumbent punt returner Marcus Sherels handled the bulk of the punt-returning duties in practice. Adam Thielen and Jerick McKinnon, an intriguing option due to his athleticism, also got some work in back there. But it looks like Diggs has the best chance to unseat Sherels (good luck with that, kid). A LEG UP … FOR NOW: Audie Cole ran ahead of second-round pick Eric Kendricks as camp opened, but the more versatile Kendricks is still the favorite to start at middle linebacker. Robert Blanton, meanwhile, was also with the first-team defense, as his usual spot next to Harrison Smith. Andrew Sendejo and Antone Exum were the second-string safeties. CAMP CHATTER: “This is one of the hottest days it’s been in four years here for me. … But there was a lot of energy.” — wide receiver Jarius Wright. INJURY REPORT: Cornerback Josh Robinson, who started camp on the PUP list due the pectoral he injured in June, said there is a chance he could be ready by Week 1, though he didn’t say it with much confidence. Nose tackle Shamar Stephen and wide receiver DaVaris Daniels also sat out with injuries. Kaddu limped off near the end of practice.
Categories: Local

Kyle Busch's comeback continues with Brickyard victory

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 18:31
The driver missed the first 11 races of the season because of a broken leg but has won four of the past five Sprint Cup events.
Categories: Local

Vikings sign Blair Walsh to extension

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 17:33
The Vikings and kicker Blair Walsh have agreed to a contract extension that will make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid players at his position. It is a four-year deal worth up to $14 million with $5.25 million guaranteed, per a league source. Walsh, still in uniform, signed the deal with General Manager Rick Spielman after the morning walkthrough. “I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings moving forward,” Walsh said in a statement. “I’d like to thank Rick Spielman, the Wilf family, Coach [Mike] Zimmer, [special teams coach] Mike Priefer and [executive V.P.] Rob Brzezinski for giving me this opportunity. I’m proud to be able to stay with the team that drafted me coming out of college and I look forward to what is in store for the future of this organization.” The Vikings drafted Walsh in the sixth round in 2012. He missed just three field-goal attempts as a rookie and was named a first-team All-Pro. After connecting on 61 of his 68 attempts in his first two seasons, Walsh made a league-low 74.3 percent of his field-goal tries in 2014. But the Vikings stood by the 25-year-old and have rewarded him with a new deal. “Blair has been a vital part of our special teams success since we drafted him and we felt it was very important to secure his future with our organization,” Spielman said in a statement. “His consistency on kickoffs and on long range field goals can help change the game for our team and we’re excited for his future here in Minnesota. This extension stays true to our philosophy of drafting young talent, developing them in our system and rewarding their success.” Walsh, who was entering the final year of his rookie deal, is the latest example of the Vikings signing a young pending free agent before the season started. Last year, they gave tight end Kyle Rudolph a new deal in training camp and re-signed guard Brandon Fusco the day before the season opener.
Categories: Local

Froome wins second Tour de France

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 17:10
Chris Froome’s victory gave British riders three of the past four Tour titles.
Categories: Local

Yankees' six-run sixth inning dooms Twins in 7-2 loss

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 16:29
Kyle Gibson kept getting into jams, and eventually New York pounced.
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A-Rod out of the lineup as Twins try to win series vs. Yankees

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 12:42
New York has never lost a series in Target Field, but Twins send Kyle Gibson to the mound today
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Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Peterson and Vikings report for camp, Greenway profiled and more

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 09:09
On most mornings, we walk you through what’s going on with the Vikings. WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED — OLB Chad Greenway is a hard hitter and a stand-up guy. — RB Adrian Peterson was cheered as he reported for training camp. — With Peterson back, expectations are high for the Vikings. — A trio of key defenders should be ready for the start of camp. — Coach Mike Zimmer wants more contact in camp this year. — In case you missed it, here’s our full Vikings camp preview. TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY Bridgewater was asked how his offseason went: “I’m hiding all of my muscles under this sweater right now” #Vikings pic.twitter.com/WuWLk1Nklo — Master Tesfatsion (@MasterStrib) July 25, 2015 AROUND THE NFC NORTH — All Packers QB Aaron Rodgers needs is championships. — New coach John Fox is ready to lead the Bears. — LB Stephen Tulloch’s return will boost the Lions defense. TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE Training camp kicks off this morning with a walkthrough at 10:30. The team will practice without pads this afternoon from 2:45 to 5:00. SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT As the Vikings descend on Mankato again, it’s worth noting that they are now just one of 12 teams that hold training camp away from their team facility. Back in 2000, only five teams didn’t go off-site for camp, according to PFT. The Vikings, now in their 50th year at Minnesota State Mankato, are expected to renew their contract with the school to return in 2016.
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