Local

Gophers continue to rise in college hockey rankings

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 15:07
Gophers split on the road against Penn State and climb two spots in USCHO poll.
Categories: Local

Wild message for the day: Don't take its foot off the gas

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 15:07
The Wild is 11-1-1 in its past 13 but needs to continue to play with urgency as the schedule gets more difficult
Categories: Local

Report: Vikings official, Peterson's agent separated at combine

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 15:04
CBS Sports is reporting that Ben Dogra, the agent for suspended and disgruntled Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, and Rob Brzezinski, Vikings vice present of football operations, got into a “heated verbal altercation” about Peterson at the scouting combine and had to be separated. According to the CBS report, Dogra also “made it clear that Peterson would never play there again.” If the report has merit, it would be the latest twist in the Peterson saga, which has quickly turned ugly. The Vikings have praised Peterson in the media in recent weeks, saying they would like him to play for the team this season. But on Thursday, Peterson told ESPN he is uneasy about a return. NFL teams routinely use the scouting combine to touch base with their players, whether they are soon-to-be free agents, players with tricky contract situations or just players they want to check in on. While the Vikings are allowed only limited communication with Peterson through their legal team while he is suspended, they are allowed to speak with his agent. Brzezinski is the team’s lead contract negotiator, though the report did not say what specifically led to his blow-up with Dogra. The Vikings were checking out running backs at the combine over the weekend in the event that they will be without Peterson’s services going forward. He is eligible to be reinstated on April 15. If Peterson isn’t reinstated until then, more than a month after the start of free agency, most of the NFL’s free-agent money will have been spent, giving more leverage to the Vikings if they do request that he take pay cut to reduce his restrictive $12.75 base salary and $15.4 salary cap hit for 2015. Given his age, contract and recent legal woes, Peterson might not have much trade value if he is requesting one, though it is expected that teams would show interest were he to become available. I have reached out to the Vikings for comment. I’ll update this post if they have anything to share.
Categories: Local

Confrontation at NFL combine latest sign of Peterson-Vikings problems

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 14:32
Over the weekend, Bleacher Report surfaced a video suggesting Adrian Peterson — according to an anonymous, high-ranking NFL official — wants to be traded from the Vikings to the Cowboys. That report came not too long after an ESPN story in which Peterson said he was “uneasy” about rejoining the Vikings. On Monday, there was this beauty: Peterson’s agent and Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski reportedly had a heated exchange at the NFL Combine, during which the agent (Ben Dogra) said Peterson would never play for the Vikings again. So what’s really going on here? Well, the short answer is this: leverage is power, and for a long time Peterson has had neither. He’s in a limbo state, a no-man’s-land, as he waits for the NFL to reinstate him and presumably waits for the Vikings to decide what they want to do with him. When you’re a superstar, you’re not used to being without leverage. So Peterson is trying to create some, first by suggesting not everything is square between he and the Vikings (thus attempting to make the decision about bringing Peterson back not just a matter of Minnesota’s preference) and then by planting a story about a possible trade (this was probably Peterson’s reps, but it’s all part of the same puzzle in trying to make it seem like a man with few options has more). The Combine story is just icing on the cake. The Vikings still have more leverage — Peterson is under contract, and if he wants to get paid in 2015 ultimately the Vikings control his fate — but the earlier AP starts painting a picture that he doesn’t want to be in Minnesota (true or not), the less it seems like the Vikings are really in control. The Vikings will counter by denying everything while — probably — quietly exploring options to see if they can trade Peterson for acceptable value. Our guess is the Vikings aren’t 100 percent sold on wanting Peterson back, and knowing he’s not sold either will make it easier to part ways. But the Vikings can’t say all that because they want to preserve Peterson’s trade value — again, that pesky leverage, which is what the power business of the NFL is all about. The upshot of these reports is this: whereas we were once starting to become convinced Peterson would be back with the Vikings in 2015, now we are not nearly as sure.
Categories: Local

Garnett to be introduced Tuesday afternoon

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:43
Garnett needed a long weekend to take care of matters before making the move from Brooklyn back to Minnesota, Wolves coach Flip Saunders said.
Categories: Local

United signs Brazilian midfielder Ibson

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:30
Categories: Local

Phil Hughes, no surprise, to be Opening Day starter

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:18
The righthander was the only accomplished starter from last season, so an Opening Day assignment is not surprising
Categories: Local

Minnesota will go to Spain for foreign tour this summer

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 12:31
Pitino sees the trip as an opportunity for a roster of young players to grow.
Categories: Local

Monday (The return of Kevin Garnett) edition: Wha' Happened?

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 11:27
Fans gobbled up tickets for Friday night’s Wolves game against the Suns in anticipation that Kevin Garnett — for whom Minnesota traded on Thursday — would be making his return in that game. There were a few low grumbles from the masses when they found out he was, in fact, not going to play until Wednesday’s game against Washington at Target Center. Mostly, though, there was genuine excitement Friday … and a lot of fans wearing rumpled KG jerseys. A couple of fans said they bought Garnett jerseys at thrift stores recently; another said he dug his old childhood KG jersey out of a box in his parents’ basement. It used to be way too big; now it’s a perfect fit. Whether KG is a perfect fit back with the Wolves remains to be seen. The hope and goal on the Wolves’ part is that Garnett will mentor the bevy of young players on the team while also providing a measure of defense and toughness to a team that often has lacked both. We were never blown away by Thad Young — the player the Wolves traded for Garnett — and we consider, skill-for-skill, the deal to be about a wash even though Garnett is 12 years older and at the tail end of his career. For what the Wolves need right now on the court, Garnett is a better fit. That said, there are some who worry that 1) this is nothing more than a nostalgia tour and 2) that his presence in the locker room will be too much for the young players if they can’t accept his brand of tough love. We’re going to give this the benefit of the doubt. If Garnett can play 20 minutes a night — ideally divided up roughly as 7 minutes at the start of the game, another 7 minutes at the start of the second half and the final 6 minutes of the game — while hitting the right notes in the locker room, this will have been a worthy move. We don’t even mind the idea of an extended Garnett reunion tour beyond this season. And if it fails? At least it’s fun.
Categories: Local

Off the Board: Reacting to a first-round run on receivers

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 11:24
Some see mock drafts as pure entertainment. Others see them as completely pointless. But while even some of the best draft analysts are throwing darts when it comes to projecting how the first round of the NFL draft will play out, these mock drafts can serve a purpose, even to NFL teams. In the days leading up to the draft, after their draft boards have pretty much been set in stone, most teams, including the Vikings, do their own mock draft exercises to make sure they are prepared for the twists and turns of the draft, especially the first round, which is the best show on television. So in the spirt of that, between now and April’s draft we will participate in an exercise I’ve dubbed “Off the Board,” in which we theorize about how the Vikings might proceed with their 11th overall pick based on the draft-night drama that unfolds in front of them. I’ll come up with a new scenario every couple of weeks. Remember, this is more about the draft process than the actual picks. For the debut installment of “Off the Board,” let’s explore the scenario of what might happen if each of the top three wide receivers go in the top 10 picks, a very real possibility after Kevin White and Amari Cooper blew up the combine and DeVante Parker did nothing to drop his stock with a solid showing himself. Barring an unexpected off-the-field incident or a fluke injury before draft, I think it’s safe to say that White and Cooper will be long gone by the 11th pick, and Parker could, too. I’m not saying the Vikings definitely want to get Teddy Bridgewater a receiver, but it’s a definite need. So what might they do if the top three guys are all gone? Let’s start mocking and take a guess. 1. Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. Winston came off as a little cocky during his Q&A with media on Friday, but I personally had no problem with that. His interviews with teams were infinitely more important due to his off-the-field issues, and Winston reportedly made favorable impressions there. As for his on-field performance, Winston opted to throw and did not disappoint. 2. Titans: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. Mariota also gets points for throwing at the combine instead of waiting until his pro day. He, too, was sharp and also showed off his speed in testing. I could see the Titans taking a front-seven defender as they continue to switch to a 3-4, but in the end, I think they will end up taking whichever quarterback the Buccaneers don’t pick or auction this pick off. 3. Jaguars: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. The Jaguars have some good young wide-outs in Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marquise Lee, but none of them profile as a true No. 1. White, who ran a 4.35 40-yard dash at 6-foot-3, would give strong-armed quarterback Blake Bortles a big-play threat. 4. Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. Welp, there goes another wide receiver. Cooper fared well in the 40-yard dash, but his performance in receiver drills impressed more. A smooth route-runner, Cooper has been compared to Reggie Wayne. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr would like this pick. 5. Redskins: Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida. Fowler backed up his explosive game tape with a nice week in Indy. The Redskins will need another edge defender if/when they let Brian Orakpo walk. 6. Jets: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska. Gregory is a tweener type being projected to go in the top 10 or so picks. Maybe the Jets prefer a different edge defender, but we’ll drop Gregory here. 7. Bears: Leonard Williams, DE, USC. This big end could very well end up being the first defender selected. The Bears, who are switching to a 3-4 defense under John Fox, could get a perfect fit. 8. Falcons: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri. I can see new Falcons coach Dan Quinn, a defensive guy, drafting an impact defender with his first pick, like Mike Zimmer did with Anthony Barr a year ago. 9. Giants: Erik Armstead, DE, Oregon. A tricky projection. The Giants may select another offensive lineman here. But they often target defensive linemen early, and Jason Pierre-Paul is a free agent. 10. Rams: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville. There goes the third receiver. They claim they’re keeping Sam Bradford, so let’s give him another target. Somewhere Teddy Bridgewater frowns. 11. Vikings: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa. In this scenario, the top-tier receivers are gone, and taking, say, Dorial Green-Beckham, might be a reach. It might also be too early to select a cornerback or an outside linebacker like Shaq Thompson, so a trade-down might be an option. But if the Vikings stay put in this scenario, they would be able to get their hands on their favorite offensive lineman. I don’t know right now if that’s Scherff or someone else. But his ability to play either guard or tackle should appeal to the Vikings, who need reinforcements at both positions after the line struggled in 2014. OK, your turn. Leave a comment to tell me who you would want the Vikings to pick in this scenario.
Categories: Local

Vikings sign CFL LB Brian Peters

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 10:12
The Vikings signed linebacker Brian Peters from the Canadian Football League on Monday. Peters spent the last two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, leading the team with 78 tackles last year. The 26-year-old also had three sacks, two interceptions and one defensive touchdown. Peters is listed at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds and played safety while at Northwestern. He’s the 11th linebacker on the Vikings roster, though Jasper Brinkley and Dom DeCicco are slated to become free agents in March. It’s a position that head coach Mike Zimmer said is thin in the draft and free agency. Peters is the second player the Vikings have signed from the CFL this offseason. The team signed cornerback Jalil Carter to a reserve/future deal on Jan. 15. The Vikings also added defensive end Leon Mackey from the Arena Football League last month on a reserve/future deal.
Categories: Local

Molitor conducting first workout as manager

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 09:38
Pitchers and catchers take the field in Fort Myers to begin a new era in Twins baseball. New manager Paul Monitor briefly addressed his players this morning, then headed to the practice field.
Categories: Local

Six-goal third period carries Wild to blowout, into top eight in West

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 02/22/2015 - 22:34
Shut out through two, the Wild turned it all around with one big period
Categories: Local

Vikings Insider: Team planning for life with or without Peterson

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 02/22/2015 - 21:42
The Vikings are at the combine looking at running backs to either supplement or replace Adrian Peterson.
Categories: Local

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