John Shipley / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Oh, for more of this kind of drama. It’s is a tribute to women’s sports, and our betters in general, that Gophers women’s basketball momentarily became the biggest story in Twin Cities sports this week over a coach and player butting heads. No one was assaulted, arrested or became an amateur porn star on social media.
ST. PAUL — Mike Zimmer’s season-ending news conference was Monday at 8 a.m., and he already had been on the phone with his coaching mentor for an hour before meeting reporters at TCO Performance Center in Eagan. Zimmer’s former boss in Dallas, Bill Parcells, led two teams to three Super Bowl appearances and won it all with the New York Giants in 1987 and 1991. An assistant to Parcells in Dallas in the 1990s, Zimmer wanted advice for taking that step himself.
EAGAN, Minn. — In the Vikings locker room Thursday, a reporter was trying to crack safety Andrew Sendejo. Two teammates sitting nearby were amused by the usually futile attempt. Early on, asked whether he has a public persona that might not quite match his intrinsic nature, the safety looked at a fellow defensive back for help. “Jerk,” his teammate whispered. Only he didn’t say jerk.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings had such a good draft in 2015 that’s it’s impossible to pick where they did best. Four of their top five picks will start for Minnesota on Saturday when they open the second round of the NFC playoffs against the 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif. Not just start, really, but star.
EAGAN, Minn. — Dalvin Cook was surprised Tuesday, Jan. 7, to be asked about injuries that kept him out of two games as the Vikings wound down the regular season. “What injury?” he replied. Since being sidelined in the third quarter of a 37-30 loss at Seattle on Dec. 2, Cook has been listed on every Vikings injury report, first with a chest injury, then — after the star running back left a 39-10 victory over the Chargers in Los Angeles — a shoulder injury.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Friday, Dec. 20, his office has decided not to charge Gophers wrestlers after a criminal sexual assault investigation that began in June. Gable Steveson and teammate Dylan Martinez were arrested in June on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct. According to the Associated Press, they were arrested after a person reported being raped and went to a hospital for treatment on June 15.
EAGAN, Minn. -- The Vikings’ third- and fourth-string running backs ran a combined 18 times for 81 yards while Minnesota put the finishing touches on a 39-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday in Carlson, Calif. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah weren’t taking handoffs from Kirk Cousins because the Vikings were up big. They were in because backup Alexander Mattison (ankle) and starter Dalvin Cook left in the third quarter with an apparent injury to his left shoulder.
P.J. Fleck was in Tampa, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 12, to whip up some local enthusiasm for the Outback Bowl game between Minnesota and Auburn on Jan. 1. The Gophers coach did not disappoint. As Tigers coach Gus Malzahn noted, “Their coach is one of the more energetic guys.” In a brief meeting with local reporters, Fleck recounted with amiable ardor his season as a wide receivers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and put the Gophers’ 10-2 season into some perspective that boggles the mind.
ST. PAUL -- On the night the Minnesota Wild feted the guy who has never strayed, they got a rare visit from the one who got away. Marian Gaborik was among a handful of former teammates who surprised Mikko Koivu on Tuesday, Dec. 10, as the Wild celebrated the longtime captain’s 1,000 NHL games, all in a Minnesota sweater, with a pregame ceremony at Xcel Energy Center.
EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings will have their hands full Monday with potential MVP Russell Wilson. The Seattle quarterback has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards and has 24 touchdown passes against just three interceptions. Right now, his biggest rival for the NFL’s top individual performance award is Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has passed for 2,427 yards and 24 touchdowns against five interceptions while leading the Ravens to a 9-2 record. Vikings players, however, think there is MVP competition in Minnesota.