Posts pertaining to the Minnesota Vikings.

Scott Taylor

Vikings Win

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Scott Taylor

Peterson Looks Lost as Vikings Ravage Saints

By Scott Taylor

September 12, 2017
@staylorsports ‏

Adrian Peterson looked lost. In fact, as the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Peterson’s New Orleans Saints (it feels weird just to write that) dragged on through 2 ½ hours of TV commercials, he seemed even more bewildered.

He had returned to downtown Minneapolis to be a hero. He was there to visit old friends and show Saints coach Sean Payton and his staff that he was more like the 2012 Adrian Peterson than the injured, tired 2016 Adrian Peterson.

And on his first carry, he looked pretty good. He gained four yards and made a nice move at the line of scrimmage to avoid a tackler. But that was about it. From that point on, he was exactly what Coach Payton told him he was going to be – a bit-part player on rebuilding team that already had two decent runningbacks, Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara and was going to rely on a passing game with Drew Brees at the helm anyway.

So when the Minnesota Vikings finished with an impressive 29-19 win over Brees and the Saints, the numbers told a sad story. Peterson finished with six carries for 18 yards, didn’t catch a pass and played on only nine snaps. According to the NFL statistics folks, that’s the lowest of his career. I’d be surprised if Peterson finishes the season.

All he had left for the effort was a loss and about a dozen stink-eyes that he sent laser-like directly at his head coach during the game. He obviously doesn’t like to be a bench-warmer.

Look, to be fair, it’s not that Peterson is done, necessarily, but he’s certainly done in New Orleans — unless three or four other guys get hurt. He got to start Monday Night’s game and then even carried on the first play, but after that, if the TV cameras hadn’t been interested in him, we would likely have never noticed that he didn’t play much. He was a footnote in the end and the real story was on the other side of the ball.

The real story was Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford and the fact he completed 27-of-32 pass attempts for 346 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The real story was Adam Thielen, the undrafted receiver from Minnesota State who caught nine passes for 157 yards. The real story was Stefon Diggs who caught seven passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns – the second was a highlight-reel catch that we’ll be watching on NFL Network for a while.

And the real, real story was Dalvin Cook, the second round draft pick in 2017 out of Florida State. He was taken in the draft by the Vikings to replace Peterson and on Monday night, he announced his arrival with authority. He finished with 22 carries for 127 yards and his last run of the night was a 33-yarder around the right side that sealed the victory.

With 127 yards, he broke Peterson’s Vikings record of 107 yards by a rookie in his first game with Minnesota, set back in 2007.

And that’s a very important number – 2007.

Time catches up to all of us. On Monday night, it caught up to the great Adrian Peterson. After 10-plus years as a runningback in the NFL he’s had a Hall of Fame career. But he hasn’t been a Hall of Fame RB since 2014. He’s been injured, banged on the head, run over by 300-pound linemen and, of course, had his troubles off the field.

It’s kind of too bad he came back – to all the boos – in a Saints uniform on Monday night. He probably should have called it a career after the 2015 season (but, of course, it’s damn hard to leave all that money on the table) and the Vikings should have probably been looking for their next Adrian Peterson after the 2013 season.

But here we are.

The Vikings were great in their opener, Dalvin Cook looks like a keeper and with a re-vamped offensive line, Sam Bradford looks like the quarterback that the St. Louis Rams believed he could be, three teams ago, back in 2010.

Fact is, if Bradford gets time to throw this season, the Vikings will be a contender. If he doesn’t, we all know what happens. Unless, of course, Dalvin Cook actually turns out to be the next Adrian Peterson.

Then it could really get exciting.


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Vikings: How good will they be?

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By Larry Fitzgerald
August 25, 2017


So much is riding on this 2017 Vikings season it makes you nervous even thinking about it. Playing the Seattle Seahawks in the pre-season last week was a measuring stick game. You know how good and consistent Seattle is, and how well-coached they are, and they seldom lose at home.

Seattle 20, Vikings 13 — not exactly what Vikings fans wanted. I was honestly surprised how successful they were running. It was a defensive game. I thought the Seahawks were better: they were more physical and ran the ball when and where they wanted to consistently.

I am disappointed right now in running back Latavius Murray. He was signed as a free agent from Oakland and can’t get on the field. If he doesn’t play this week against San Francisco that is a bad sign.

Rookie Dalvin Cook has been impressive but he is so young with much to learn. Last year, as we know, the Vikings could not run the football at all when Adrian Peterson got hurt. Now he’s gone and you don’t win in this league unless you can consistently run the ball.

Sam Bradford looks good at quarterback, throwing to Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph. But his career win-loss record in St. Louis and Philadelphia concerns me and that is hard to ignore. I do like tight end Bucky Hodges, however; he a keeper.

With three weeks before the opener, the Vikings have time to get better. The NFL is a dictator league, so you have to force your will on your opponent. The players and coaches are all good, so good that they are able to figure out your game plan and your scheme.

Since 2001, the Vikings have been in the playoffs just five times, with just one playoff victory in 2009.

When you have the Super Bowl in your home stadium, you really hope your team can be good. My expectations are for this team to blow the roof off U.S Bank Stadium.

How realistic is that coming off of an 8-8 season? I’ll keep drinking the purple Kool-Aid because they do have a solid foundation with lots of talent on defense and special teams.

But the early signs bug me. I have concerns over talented Michael Floyd’s suspension for four games. Murray has done nothing yet, as I mentioned. They gave this guy $15 million to watch? And Laquon Treadwell, last year’s number one pick, is still a big question mark.

The offensive line is better, but can they jell and become a solid versatile group?

No reason to be alarmed just yet — the Vikings lost on the road to a good football team that made the playoffs. But there are legit reasons to share with you my concerns.


Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to, or visit

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After 52 Years in Mankato, that’s all, folks!

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By Larry Fitzgerald
August 10, 2017


MANKATO — August 8, 2017 marks the official end of an era when, after 52 years, the NFL Minnesota Vikings left Mankato State University and the city of Mankato for the very last time. After all these years, the Vikings will move to their new permanent office and training headquarters in Eagan, Minnesota in March of 2018.

All 32 NFL teams are in their second weeks of training camp, the rosters loaded with 90 players each fighting to make dreams come true. Last week I was in Canton, Ohio for the NFL’s Hall of Fame game. Dallas edged Arizona 20-18.

Last year’s HOF game was canceled because of poor field conditions. Many changes have been made to Tom Benson Stadium just off highway 77 in Canton. This year’s 2017 HOF Class featured Morten Anderson, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley, Jerry Jones, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson and Kurt Warner.

The Vikings pre-season starts Thursday night in Buffalo vs. the Bills. After carefully watching the Vikings working hard in Mankato, I am reminded how time just keeps moving on. When I started covering sports in the Twin Cities 39 years ago, little did I know I was the first Black sportswriter to cover the Vikings full time.

The Vikings had a private ceremony Monday thanking the city of Mankato and Mankato State University. Vikings ownership was there, team President Mark Wilf with team COO Kevin Warren as master of ceremonies, as well as the president of Mankato State and the city’s mayor.

The University’s president thanked the Vikings for helping Mankato State become the second-largest university in the state. He had the gathered group laughing when he said Mankato State might open an Eagan Campus.

HOF coach Bud Grant was there and shocked me by coming up from behind and emotionally hugging me. I remember covering coach Grant’s Vikings and how serious and stoic he was. I was so determined back then to not be denied. Coach Grant was always good to me — that’s why after all these years the Vikings are like family to me.

There have been hundreds of ball boys and staff employees over these 52 years at Mankato. Only a couple, however, have gone on to star in the National Football League. The late Dennis Green made that a reality for me; he gave my two sons Marcus and Larry, Jr. their first jobs. I hosted and produced the “Dennis Green Radio Show” for eight years.

I will never forget the hot August day that my son Marcus called me at 4 am to tell me Korey Stringer had died of heat exhaustion. I was in shock literally and jumped in my car and drove to Mankato. I never thought to check my fuel gage. I was just emotionally lost.

My car ran out of gas on highway 169 near St. Peter. Former Vikings star Joe Sensor stopped and helped me get gas after being stranded on the road. That would ultimately be the last season for coach Green. In 2001 the team could not overcome the death of Stringer.

The 2017 Vikings look good to me with Super Bowl 52 coming up in February of 2018. I believe this team is ready for the challenge in this final season of Vikings football in Mankato and the chance to win Super Bowl 52 at home in U.S. Bank Stadium.

Do you believe it’s finally time for the Vikings?

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on 
Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to, or visit

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Vikings make decisions, right or wrong

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By Larry Fitzgerald
May 3, 2017

When you miss the playoffs and you don’t even have a number-one pick in the next Draft, it can lead to dire straits, slumped shoulders and limited optimism. The NFL Draft can be a life-changer.

As ex-Minnesota governor turned actor, Jesse Ventura said, “I ain’t got time to bleed.” Not when you’re hosting Super Bowl 52. The Vikings continue to move forward, leaving the painful memories of a blown 5-0 start and third-place finish behind.

General Manager Rick Spielman made the best of a tough position. He identified the Vikings’ needs and desires in the Draft and worked his plan. Only seven offensive lineman were drafted among the top 64 players. That’s a record low.

Since 1961, no NFL Championships in Minnesota, Green Bay, Chicago (been there, done that) or Detroit with one playoff win since 1957. The Vikings believe they are close to being a championship football team. They were 8-8 in 2016 and have not been in this position since year four for Head Coach Mike Zimmer with zero playoff wins, Dennis Green in 1992-96. Green made the playoffs four straight years, yet the Vikings were 0-4 in the playoffs.

The Vikings went into last weekend’s Draft without a number-one pick knowing they had eight picks starting with number 48 of the second round. Spielman traded with Cincinnati to move up to number 41 and take Dalvin Cook, the gifted junior running back from Florida State.

Dalvin Cook carries the football for Florida State

Minnesota Vikings draft choice Dalvin Cook

“We’re very excited to get the quality of running back we were able to get,” Spielman said. “As we looked and he kept coming down the board, we felt that he was just too talented of a player not to take a swing and try to go up and get him. We feel that we have great value for where we were able to land Cook in the second round.”

He’s the highest drafted running back the Vikings have taken since Adrian Peterson in 2007. In three years, he rushed for 4,484 yards and 46 touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He’s versatile with 5,399 all-purpose yards, a game-breaker and a deep threat out of the backfield.

Character is important. Cook has been a follower. You ask why he was available and dropped in the Draft.

Questionable choices raised character issues at Florida State. The Vikings believe they did their homework into his background and history. Time will tell if they were right or the teams that passed on him were wrong.

Spielman and company obviously worked hard adding depth and wound up drafting 11 players total over the weekend.

They include center Pat Elflein (Ohio State), defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (Iowa), linebacker Ben Gedeon (Michigan), wide receiver Rodney Adams (South Florida), guard Danny Isidora (Miami), tight end Bucky Hodges (Virginia Tech), wide receiver Stacy Coley (Miami), defensive end Ifeadl Odenigbo (Northwestern), linebacker Elijah Lee (Kansas State), and cornerback Jack Tocho (North Carolina State). All the players will be in town this week at Winter Park for Mini-Camp.

This Draft can best be described as risk-reward. The Vikings have added several talented young players with lots of potential.


Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to, or visit

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Cold and snow make for one cool MLS opener in Minnesota

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By Eric Nelson
March 15, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -Sports Nuggets from the snowy Twin Cities…

Minnesota Loons MLS soccer team at TCF Stadium in Minneapolis

Minnesota Loons take the field

•Flakes and Loons: Minnesota United’s first-ever MLS game in the Twin Cities was a dud on the scoreboard. Atlanta United FC thumped Minn U 6-1 Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. But in every other way the match was epic. The snowy day produced great visuals in the venue and on ESPN2. Snow and soccer are a rare combination, but thanks to the Minnesota elements, this historic match was a unique snapshot in time for Minnesota sports fans…

•Crowd Count: The attendance was an impressive 35,403 – the largest soccer turnout in the Land of Lakes since 1984 when the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Minnesota Strikers played before 52,621 at the Metrodome. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the temperature was 20 degrees, tying the 2013 MLS Cup in Kansas City for coldest game in league history…

MLS fans in the snow at the Loons home opener

Minnesota United fans at the home opener

•Slow Start: Minn U (0-2) has clearly struggled this season. In games against Portland and Atlanta the Loons have been outscored 11-2. Meanwhile, Atlanta – also an MLS expansion team – won its first-ever match. The snowy pitch did not deter F Josef Martinez who scored three goals for AUFC…

•Quality Opponent: It’s a good news, bad news scenario for the Minnesota basketball team. The good news is that the Gophers (24-9) are a 5th seed in the south region. The bad news is they face a solid opponent in 12th seed Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders are 30-4 and have won back-to-back CUSA titles. They are led by F Jacorey Williams (17.3 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game), F Reggie Upshaw (14.5 ppg and 6.8 rpg) and G Giddy Potts (15.8 ppg and 5.5 rpg)…

•Quick Trip: The game tips off at 3 pm CT Thursday at Bradley Center in Milwaukee. It’s only 337 miles from Minneapolis to Milwaukee on I-94, so Gopher Nation should be well represented in Wisconsin…

•Purple Defections: The NFL is a revolving door league as players are always coming and going. Minnesota lost a couple of former top draft choices to free agency as WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Oakland) and OT Matt Kalil (Carolina) signed with other teams. Kalil was the fourth choice in the 2012 NFL draft and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, that was his pinnacle moment for the Vikings. In four other seasons, Kalil’s productivity dropped off because of injuries and sub-par play. Patterson, meanwhile, was a first round selection in 2013 and played in two Pro Bowls. He was very good on kickoff returns and punt coverage, but below average at wideout…

•Publicity Hounds: Give the NFL credit – the Shield has a knack for staying in the news cycle year-round. March used to be dominated by NCAA hoops, the NBA, NHL and MLB spring training. But, thanks to free agency, the NFL garners plenty of attention, stealing headlines from those other sports…

•Tasty Golf: Twin Cities restaurant mogul Wayne Kostroski has come up with another creative way to aid those in need. Kostroski – who started taste of the NFL during Super Bowl week – is staging the first-ever Taste of the Master Chefs in April. Kostroski has lured some of the top chefs on the globe to Augusta, GA for the Masters golf tournament. It’s a charity event, with all of the proceeds going to the Salvation Army of Augusta. Tickets cost $150. For more info go to

•Fab Four: The NCHC’s fourth annual Frozen Faceoff starts Friday at Target Center. Western Michigan plays 2nd ranked UM-Duluth at 4 pm followed by North Dakota and top-ranked Denver at 7:30 pm. The defending champion Fighting Hawks won the Frozen Four last season and their appearance means plenty of No Dak fans will invade the Twin Cities…

•Pioneer Spirit: Denver (28-6-4) has won 13 games in a row and is paced by D Will Butcher, who is one of 10 players up for the Hobey Baker Award…

•Puck Stopper: Bemidji State G Michael Bitzer is also a Hobey Baker finalist. Bitzer is the WCHA player of the year and led the Beavers to their first-ever conference title and MacNaughton Cup. Bitzer had a sparkling goals against average of 1.40, a WCHA record…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Chad Greenway’s trademark was consistent, solid production

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By Eric Nelson
March 8, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -Sports Nuggets from the breezy Twin Cities.

•Solid Career: Minnesota Vikings, LB Chad Greenway was as dependable as a Maytag and as reliable as a sunrise. During his 11 seasons in Minnesota, Greenway played in two Pro Bowls, had 1,334 career tackles (4th most in Vikings history), 19 sacks and 11 interceptions. Greenway’s trademark was consistent, solid play. He wasn’t the flashiest player, just somebody you could count on each week. Greenway – who retired on Monday – grew up in South Dakota, played at Iowa and settled in Minnesota. He is the consummate Upper Midwest guy…

Chad Greenway sacks Cam Newton

Chad Greenway sacks Carolina’s Cam Newton -October 2013

•Coast to Coast: My favorite Greenway moment came in 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium against San Diego when he intercepted a Phillip Rivers, pass and huffed and puffed his way 91 yards for a touchdown. During the pick 6, Greenway had a convoy of Minnesota blockers who escorted him to the end zone…

•Good Fit: There is plenty of speculation about where former Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson might wind up. Just a hunch, but Seattle could be a good landing spot for AP. The Seahawks are one of the NFL’s top teams, but have not been the same since Marshawn Lynch retired in 2015. As good as QB Russell Wilson, and the Legion of Boom defense is, the Seahawks lost some swagger when Beast Mode left. AP might be able to give the Seattle running game a jolt…

•Classy Exit: Getting cut in the NFL can be a bitter and traumatic experience for some players. But not for WR Torrey Smith. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, when the 49ers cut Smith this week, he went on Twitter looking for an organization where he could donate his beds and tables. Smith also put up an Instagram post thanking everyone in the SF organization – including the 49ers front office, chefs, janitors PR department and equipment staff….

•Slippery Floor: I have been to three of the coldest games in NFL history, saw Minnesota and the LA Rams play in the Mud Bowl, was at a Raiders-Vikings pre-season game delayed by lightning, sat through a Super Bowl in a Miami monsoon, watched Minnesota and Iowa play in a Kinnick Stadium blizzard, and have seen the Twins play in rain, hail and snow. Now I have also been to an NBA game postponed because of weather. Monday night’s Portland-Minnesota match up was cancelled due to unsafe playing conditions. Because of mild temps, the ice under the court was melting and caused condensation on the floor. The game will be played in April…

•Cali Chaos: The NBA’s most dysfunctional team is the once powerful LA Lakers.  Jim and Johnny Buss were blocked last week in their coup d’é·tat attempt to remove sister Jeanie from her position as Lakers part-owner and president. Jeanie kicked Jim and GM Mitch Kupchak to the curb a couple weeks ago and replaced them with Magic Johnson

•Loss Angeles: This is bizarre stuff even for Hollywood. The Lakers have become a very public soap opera and lack the stability they had under Jerry Buss. The Lakers (19-45) are at the bottom of the Western Conference and have the second worst record in the Association…

•Ticket Update I: The Minnesota Twins are offering a new ticket option for the first two months of the 2017 season. The spring ballpark pass gives fans the ability to attend all games in April and May for just $99 – except for opening day. To purchase the new Spring Ballpark Pass go to…

•Ticket Update II: According to StubHub, the cheapest ticket for Sunday’s first-ever MLS game in Minnesota is $19.98. Atlanta United plays Minnesota United at 4 pm at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis…

•Frozen Pitch: The forecast for Minneapolis on Sunday is 30 degrees with snow showers. We will see if the cold weather gives Minn U. an advantage over their fellow expansion team from Georgia…

•Popular in Portland: The Portland Timbers are one of the most successful franchises in all of MLS. The Timbers – who defeated Minnesota United 5-1 on Friday – have a passionate fan base. The Timbers season-ticket waiting list is 13,000 and the team is hoping to get approval for a $50 million expansion project at Providence Park. According to FOX Sports, the Timbers have sold out every regular-season and playoff home game since joining MLS, a streak of 108 games. Providence Park’s capacity is 21,144. The Timbers won the MLS Cup in 2015…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The Adrian Peterson-Minnesota Viking divorce was inevitable

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By Eric Nelson

February 28, 2017


MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of the Pillsbury Doughboy…

• Business Decision: The Minnesota Vikings divorce from Adrian Peterson was as predictable as a Kim Kardashian break up. Everyone saw it coming and no one is surprised it happened. This was purely business for the Purple. No way the Vikings were going to fork out $18 million to a RB who will be 32 on March 21…

•AP’s Legacy: The decision means that Minnesota has cut ties with one of the greatest players in team history. In 10 years AP ran for 11,747 yards and 97 touchdowns. His pinnacle season was 2012 when he gained 2,097 yards, had 12 TD’s and was NFL MVP. Making those numbers even more impressive is that AP suffered a major knee injury late in the 2011 season…

•Potential Landing Spots: AP is now an NFL free agent and will be pursued by multiple teams. Houston, the NY Giants and Tampa Bay could court him. But don’t discount, Dallas, Green Bay, Seattle or even Minnesota…

•NFL Nightmare: The worst-case scenario for Viking fans would be AP playing for the Packers. How devastating would it be for the Purple Nation to watch him go to Green Bay and lead the Packers to Super Bowl LII at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis..?

•Change of Fortune:The Minnesota Gopher basketball team was historically bad last season. The Gophers finished 8-23 overall and 2-16 in the Big Ten. HC Richard Pitino appeared to be in over his skis and his future in Minnesota was foggy at best. But, something remarkable has happened in Dinkytown. The Gophers (22-7, 10-6) have won seven straight games and have morphed into a top tier Big Ten team. Believe it or not, Minnesota is almost assured of going to the NCAA Tournament – which didn’t seem possible when season started…

•Trending Up: Pitino will likely win the Big Ten coach of the year award, which is remarkable considering that he was on a scorching hot seat when the season started and there was speculation about his job status. Now Gopher fans are hoping Pitino isn’t lured away to another program because of his recent success…

•Instant Impact: Freshman Amir Coffey is already one of the top Gopher players. Coffey is averaging 12.2 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game…

•Crowning Wins: It was a Minnesota sweep Monday night against teams named the Kings. The Wild won over the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 in overtime at the Xcel Energy Center, while the Timberwolves knocked off the Sacramento Kings 102-88 in Northern California…

•Fantastic Finish: Mikael Granlund scored the game winning goal just 12 seconds into OT, when he knifed through two LA defenders and put the puck past Kings G Jonathan Quick. Granlund leads the Wild with 20 goals and 56 points this season…

•Global Game: The once all white, mostly Canadian NHL is much more diverse these days. According to the LA Times, there are 16 blacks and players from 20 different countries in the league this season…

•Playoff Chase: Despite being 12 games south of .500 the Timberwolves (24-36) are just 2 1/2 games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NBA Western Conference. Minnesota has not been in the postseason since 2004 when the Wolves lost to the LA Lakers in the conference finals…

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Thomas U. Tuttle

Hope Springs Eternal…

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

A Couple of Thoughts

Adrian Peterson took his last hand-off for the Minnesota Vikings last year, and it’s a sad goodbye that is being played out in the press and behind the scenes. AP is owed serious money ($18 million for 2017) that the Vikings are not going to pay and the story should reach a conclusion in the next week, or two weeks at the latest.

There’s a major cap-hit upcoming that the Vikings are unwilling to take, and that’s going to prompt this near-immediate action. One may recall that Peterson made his big money in 2014 despite being suspended for the severe paddling of his 4-year old son, an event whose repercussions cast the Purple in a bad light; and was perhaps made more grievous when AP’s response was that the league (and to a lesser extent, the team) was coming down on him unfairly.

Minnesota General Manager Rick Spielman spent much of his recent exclusive press conference saying things like “Adrian will always be a Viking” when he wasn’t talking about the plethora of quality running backs available in this years draft. Folks, that is what you call the handwriting on the wall of Peterson’s career in the Twin Towns, a tenure that was spectacular, if now sagging to the finish line.

The powerful running back doesn’t believe he’s done yet, and the great competitor in him is determined to finish his NFL run on a higher note. No doubt he would like to compete for a Super Bowl championship in the twilight of his grand career. New York’s football Giants could be a landing spot for Peterson (at less money), as they have created salary cap space with a couple of high-profile player releases. The Giants came close in 2016 and a healthy AP could seriously assist Eli Manning’s pocket survivability.

He’s going to be 32 the next time he “suits up and shows up” on the Gridiron. A lot of hits have been rained upon Peterson’s phenomenal physique (maybe the most athletic and pound-for-pound powerful build this journalist has ever seen in any locker room). But time waits for no man, and it won’t wait for AP. The big business of the National Football League spares no one. It will be interesting to see where Peterson plays this fall. One thing is certain – it won’t be in Minneapolis.


ON THE BASEBALL FRONT, the Minnesota Twins are into the exhibition season down in Fort Myers and looking for improvement just about everywhere – which should be the case regarding a team that lost 103 games. With the notable exception of Brian Dozier (who hit 42 home runs, played excellent defense, and may be the best second baseman in the game) this is a team that needs to get better ASAP in every department.

The good news is that I believe they will show solid growth this year, and will provide Twin Cities baseball fans with some exciting baseball along with an additional 15-20 wins. When you are at rock-bottom, the only direction one can look is up. And so it is with Minnesota and its cast of underachievers, a number of whom should be ready to break out.

I’m talking about the speedy Bryan Buxton finally playing up to his billing, like he did in September of last year (he hit 13 homers between AAA and the Bigs). What a catalyst he could be at the top of the line-up, setting the stage for Dozier, Miguel Sano and Joe Mauer et. al. Bux needs to cut down on his strikeouts and show more general discipline at the plate – which he should, with skipper Paul Molitor working with him daily this spring.

The Twins have brought a bunch of old-timers down to camp, including Torii Hunter, Mike Cuddyer, Dave Winfield (for several days, he resonated big-time with Buxton) and a few others. Jack Morris will be around for the pitchers, along with Bert Blyleven. After last year, its all hands on deck for 2017! Molly is encouraging these guys to communicate and contribute as they see fit, within his guidelines.

I say, great! Let’s get Sano rolling and playing a solid third-base with about 30 homers and 30 doubles…the man has good-buddy David Ortiz written all over him! Max Kepler is the best-hitting German in the world – and he can play Major League Baseball. Kennys Vargas will finally emerge, and Jorge Polanco will turn into a major league shortstop, and  Jason Castro will be the answer at catcher…

Hey, spring training is for dreamers! But the Twins do have some talent to work with. Ervin Santana needs a little more luck than last year to win a cool 20 games, and Kyle Gibson is ready to shed his youth and man-up on the mound. Phil Hughes should be on a short-leash but could succeed, and let’s see Jose Berrios finally live up to his potential.

I’m in Florida soon, and will report back after watching a few ballgames. As of this writing, the boys have dropped their first two spring training outings. Mauer and Dozier haven’t played yet and spring games don’t count any more than wedding cake at a divorce. Yet, believe me, Molitor is watching things like a hawk. That HOF’er and World Series MVP takes 103 losses personally, and it’s not going to happen ever again.

In fact, just like 2015 when Las Vegas had the Twins to win 70 games, plus or minus, and they won 83 – LV has Minnesota at 70 again, which would mean they would lose 90+ games. Head to the bank! Those suggested betting numbers are not going to happen, and my money is headed out west on Minny. They will be a .500 club at least. Without my upcoming visit to Florida in hand, I nonetheless see improvement at every defensive and offensive spot, as well as the mound.

Yeah, call me a dreamer… but I’m not the only one. Bottom line; I just don’t believe they are very far from being a decent-to-good MLB team. An updated report in a couple of weeks.

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