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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: It’s a pinnacle moment for Minn U against Sporting KC

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By Eric Nelson
May 10, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Land of Loons...

•Signature Win: It took Minnesota United just 10 games to produce a pinnacle moment in their inaugural MLS season. Minn U blanked Sporting KC 2-0 at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, getting goals from Abu Danladi and Christian Ramirez, and a shutout from GK Bobby Shuttleworth. SKC (18 points) is an MLS powerhouse and is tied for first in the Western Conference with FC Dallas. The much-improved Loons (11 points) have two wins, 1 draw and 1 loss in their last four games…

•Oh Canada: On Saturday Minn U battles another top-tier club as the Loons play Toronto FC in Canada. Toronto is on top of the Eastern Conference and has an MLS-high 19 points…

•Shock-Off: It was a stunning finish in Minneapolis Friday night. Joe Mauer hit his first career walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against Boston giving the Twins a 4-3 win. The game-winning tater produced some rare emotion from Mauer, who pumped his fist into the air as he circled the bases. It was one of the most unlikely endings I have ever seen at Target Field…

•Hick Ups: NY Yankees CF Aaron Hicks is off to a sizzling start. Hicks is batting .338 with six home runs and 16 RBI, and making the Twins look silly for giving up on him…

•Well-Written: USA today MLB columnist Bob Nightengale recently wrote an outstanding article on the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the impact the violent uprising had on the city, the nation and sports in the wake of the Rodney King verdict.

•Job Hopping: The Vikings have hired Tina Holmes as Chief of Staff and Strategic Advisor. Holmes has spent the last four years in a similar role at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota…

•Eight Ball: It’s looking more and more like the NBA Finals will be the sequel to the sequel. Cleveland and Golden State have already logged a pair of four-game playoff sweeps and are both 8-0 this post-season. The Cavs and Warriors are on an apparent collision course to meet in the Finals for a third straight season…

•Tip-Off Time: The Minnesota Lynx open their WNBA season Sunday night at 6 pm against the Chicago Sky. The game is at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, which is the Lynx temporary home this year while Target Center is being renovated…

•Juggernaut: Congrats to the U of M softball team. The 3rd ranked Gophers (51-3) won their first Big Ten title since 1991 and have a 22 game winning streak. Top seed Minnesota plays Northwestern or Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament on Friday in Ann Arbor, MI…

•Giving Back I: Minnesota Vikings LB Eric Kendricks will present a $20,000 check to The Sheridan Story on Friday at Westview Elementary School in Apple Valley. The Sheridan Story runs weekend food programs at more than 140 schools across the Twin Cities. The funds were raised in Kendricks’ “Sacks for Kids” campaign last season, which asked fans to pledge money for each Vikings sack…

•Giving Back II: The annual Taste of the Vikings charity event is Wednesday June 14 from 6:30-10 pm at US Bank Stadium. Second Harvest Heartland and Land O’Lakes are the main sponsors, which raises awareness and funds to combat childhood hunger. Minnesota players, coaches and alumni will be participating…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Chuck Foreman has Hall of Fame credentials

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By Eric Nelson
April 5, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Wheaties...

 

•Overdue Honor: It’s unbelievable that Chuck Foreman is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The greatest RB in Minnesota Vikings history has HOF stats and deserves to be part of the galaxy of stars in Canton, OH. It’s a miscarriage of NFL justice that Foreman hasn’t already been inducted into the Hall…

•NFL Trailblazer: Foreman was the first great multi-talented back in NFL history. He was a trend setter who paved the way for guys like Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk. Number 44 could run with power and speed, and could also catch the ball like a wideout. Foreman was remarkably gifted and his signature spin move made opponents dizzy. He was clearly one of the most exciting players in the 1970’s…

•Impressive Resume: Foreman’s career stats are comparable or better than other HOF backs such as Gale Sayers, Terrell Davis or Floyd Little. In eight seasons he ran for 5,950 yards, had 350 receptions for 3,156 yards and scored 76 touchdowns. Foreman also played in three Super Bowls and five Pro Bowls…

•Purple Apathy: Unfortunately the Vikings are not pushing Foreman for the HOF. This makes no sense and needs to change. Foreman was a key player on the outstanding Minnesota teams of the 1970’s. Without him the Vikings would not have made three Super Bowl trips in four years (1974, ’75 and ’77). Foreman’s impact on the Viking offense was huge and he elevated the play of Fran Tarkenton, Ahmad Rashad, Sammy White, Ron Yary and other Minnesota stars. It is mind-boggling that the Vikings do not promote him as a legitimate HOF candidate…

•Good Start: It’s only one game, and there are 161 left to play in a marathon regular season, but Minnesota’s 7-1 opening day win over Kansas City was a positive first step. The Twins had sputtering starts in 2015 (1-6) and 2016 (0-9), so any kind of positive mojo is good. The Twins had not won a season opener in nine years

•Ace-Like: P Ervin Santana was brilliant on the mound and got the win. Santana limited the Royals to just one run and two hits in seven innings. The Twins hope this is a precursor to the kind of season Santana is going to have…

•New Era: The LA Dodgers celebrated their 60th year in So Cal on Monday as they crushed San Diego 14-3. It also marked the beginning of the post-Vin Scully era. The legendary Scully retired last season and no longer vividly describes the action from the Dodger Stadium broadcast booth. According to the LA Times, Scully spent the day paying bills, going to the post office and washing his car…

•Singing the Blues: They would never admit it publicly, but my guess is that Minnesota would like to avoid St. Louis in round one of the NHL playoffs. Facing Blues coach Mike Yeo is a can’t win proposition for the Wild. As a higher seed Minnesota is expected to knock out St. Louis and it would be embarrassing to lose to Yeo – who was unceremoniously dumped by the Wild last season…

•Smart Move: NHL players will not be a part of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. This was bound to happen and makes sense from the NHL’s standpoint. Why shutdown your product in the middle of the season for three weeks and subject players to possible injury on the Olympic stage? A lot of NHL players are unhappy with the decision, but it is logical from the owners perspective…

•Pioneer Spirit: Denver’s Jim Montgomery is the winner of the 2016-17 Spencer Penrose Award, presented annually to the Division I Men’s Hockey Coach of the Year. Montgomery is the first NCHC coach to win the honor in the conference’s four-year history. Denver (31-7-4) has the most wins in college hockey and has reached the Frozen Four in 2016 and 2017…

•Soccer Salute: Minnesota United finally cracked the win column. The Loons won their first-ever MLS game last week, knocking off Real Salt Lake 4-2 at TCF Bank Stadium. Christian Ramirez (two goals) and HC Adrian Heath were named to the MLS week 5 team of the week. Minn U (1 win, 1 draw, 3 losses) plays at Dallas (2-1-0) on Saturday night at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: It’s a Golden finish for Detroit against Minnesota

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By Eric Nelson
November 7, 2016
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Glass House…

 

•Purple Pain: The Minnesota Vikings are the shakiest first place team in the NFL. Their 5-0 start has vanished, replaced by a three-game losing streak that has exposed their most glaring flaws. The most recent loss was a 22-16 dagger defeat in overtime against the Detroit Lions before 66,807 fans at US Bank Stadium. It was a Golden finish for the Lions as QB Matthew Stafford threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate in OT. Tate caught 11 passes for 79 yards and punctuated his walk-off winner with a somersault across the goal line…

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate eludes the Vikings tacklers

Golden’s day

•No Norv: One guy who did not see the carnage in person was former Vikings OC Norv Turner – who left the team last week. Daryl Johnston – who was part of the FOX broadcast team that called the Lions-Vikings game – was stunned when he found out Turner had quit. “I was,” Johnston said. “I had an opportunity to talk to Norv. It was a situation here in Minnesota where there was just a disconnect between he and Mike Zimmer and he felt the best thing for the team moving forward was for him to step away so they were allowed to move in the direction that they wanted to move in…”

•Cowboy Connection: Johnston knows Turner well from his days in Dallas when Turner was the Cowboys OC and they won three Super Bowls in the mid-1990’s. “I had a lot of respect for somebody doing that,” Johnston said. “There’s a lot of outside opinions that will say he left the team, and that’s not the case at all. It just gives Minnesota the best chance to win. He said it was the hardest decision he has ever made in his life. It will be interesting to see how Minnesota navigates it…”

•Divisional Logjam: Detroit’s win in Minnesota has created gridlock in the NFC North. The scrum includes the Vikings (5-3), Lions (5-4) and Packers (4-4), as they battle for first place. Like Minnesota, Green Bay is in free fall mode. The Packers lost to Indianapolis 31-26 on Sunday at Lambeau and now embark on a three-game road trip that takes them to Tennessee, Washington and Philadelphia…

•Laquon Sighting: Minnesota WR Laquon Treadwell is no longer missing in action. The Vikings top draft choice from Ole Miss actually caught one pass for 15 yards against Detroit. It will be a bonus for the Vikings if they can get contributions from Treadwell in the second half of the season…

Vikings rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is in the game

Vikings rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is in the game…

•Walsh’s Woes: Vikings K Blair Walsh continues to be inconsistent. Walsh missed an extra point and had a field goal attempt blocked in the loss to the Lions. In a game where every point counted, that adds up. Walsh is 13 of 16 on extra points and 12 of 16 on field goals this season…

•High Stakes: Saturday night’s Gophers-Cornhuskers game in Lincoln is crucial for both teams. Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin are tied for first place in the Big Ten West division with 4-2 records. The Gophers (7-2) have won four straight and have a chance to go to a bowl game with some juice. But their next three games – against Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin – figure to be challenging…

•Sputtering Start: There was plenty of hype, hope and optimism surrounding the Minnesota Timberwolves entering this season. Unfortunately, the Wolves (1-4) have gotten out of the blocks slowly and have blown huge leads in most of their losses. The Wolves fan base will continue to stay away from Target Center until this team proves it can win…

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns rises with the ball

Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns up and over from ten feet…

•Three is not a charm: Minnesota has been horrible in the third quarter this season and needs to fix that problem asap. The Wolves play at Brooklyn on Tuesday and Orlando on Wednesday…

•Free Agent Plums: According to MLB.com, the top 5 free agents this off-season are – Justin Turner (LA Dodgers IF), Yoenis Cespedes (NY Mets OF), Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto DH/1B), Dexter Fowler (Chicago Cubs CF) and Josh Reddick (LA Dodgers OF)…

•Goal Oriented: Minnesota United forward Christian Ramirez has won this season’s Golden Boot award that goes to the player who scores the most goals during the season. Ramirez had 18 goals for Minn U and a career total of 50. Ramirez has won the Golden Boot in two of his three years in the NASL…

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