Concordia-St. Paul senior Tom Obarski of Burnsville has won the 2014 Fred Mitchell Award presented to the nation's top place-kicker not playing in the NCAA bowl subdivision. More than 750 place-kickers were eligible for the award, which also recognizes a player's community activities.
This birthday celebration was more than 90 percent unlikely. Those were the odds against Isaac Kolstad surviving a massive head injury.
Yet another nagging injury has cropped up for Oswaldo Arcia.
For a month, inconsistent play has plagued the Wild. They've lost games because they couldn't score, they've lost games because of poor defense, and they've lost games because their goalie couldn't stop the puck.
Injuries to Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic might have pushed the Wolves into a full-scale rebuild more quickly than Flip Saunders might have liked, but now that they are there it appears Saunders is fully committed. Not only have the youngsters been logging heavy minutes lately, but also now we have an ESPN report that says Corey Brewer is once again being dangled in trade talks. Per the report: Sources told ESPN.com that the Timberwolves, beset with injuries and mired at the foot of the Western Conference with a record of 5-19, are again engaging contending teams in trade discussions for Brewer after making him available in mid-November and then abruptly pulling him off the market.Â TheÂ Houston RocketsÂ andÂ Cleveland Cavaliers, sources said, remain the most interested suitors for Brewer, but have also been joined by theÂ Los Angeles Clippers. Houston and Cleveland remain the best positioned to make a deal because both teams possess an active trade exception large enough to absorb Brewerâs $4.7 million salary. But sources say that the Wolves are seeking a future first-round pick in exchange for Brewer, something the Cavaliers are reluctant to surrender.Â The Rockets, sources say, hope to sell Minnesota on going through with the swap in exchange for a 2015 second-rounder via New York that the Rockets possess. Itâs a pick with the potential to be attractive come June given the Knicksâ ongoing struggles. Canât say we blame the Wolves since they came into the season with plenty of depth at shooting guard/small forward. If they can gain an asset while letting Brewer play for a contender, itâs win-win. The only downside is that we havenât yet had a chance to golf with Brewer in his second go-round with the Wolves.
@MasterStrib How involved will Patterson be in the offense Sunday? Were his late snaps in DET a sign of things to come? #VikingsST â Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) December 18, 2014 Iâd give him a shot. He showed some flashes on the second to last drive filling in for wide receiver Jarius Wright. Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater targeted Patterson three times on that drive and Patterson finished with two catches for 16 yards. Granted, it was during a time in the game when the Lions defense didnât want to get beat deep, but Iâd like to see more of Patterson against a good Dolphins secondary. Itâd be a good test to see how much Patterson has actually improved since he was demoted. Iâd still start wide receiver Charles Johnson but depending on the game flow, itâd benefit Patterson and the Vikings to give him more than eight snaps with two games remaining. The best way to describe Patterson is heâs under renovation from a niche offensive player to an every down wide receiver. The Vikings coaching staff has had its hard hat on trying to transition Patterson into that type of receiver, but itâs to be determined whether Patterson will figure it all out. @MasterStrib #VikingsST Is Zimmer comfortable moving forward with current corners? (Rhodes, jrob, captain) or will he improve in offseason? â Alex Phillips (@Papa_phil) December 18, 2014 I think Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer would be comfortable with a ball of yarn and a paperclip at cornerback. Heâs very confident in his technique at cornerback that Zimmer feels he can turn anyone with a speck of talent into a serviceable player at that position. Itâs similar to how Eagles head coach Chip Kelly feels about his offensive system rotating through mediocre quarterbacks during his tenure. But the Vikings actually have three talented cornerbacks in Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Robinson. Rhodes and Munnerlyn will remain as the two cornerbacks in the base defense next year. Robinson started strong but has been inconsistent as of late. Zimmer said heâd like to see more toughness from RobinsonÂ when faced with adversity. Weâll see how the Vikings feel about Robinson, 23, in the offseason when he enters the final year of his rookie contract. Personally, I wouldnât give him an extension this offseason and give Robinson another year to prove himself. @MasterStrib How should Robert Blanton be viewed? As a weak spot, or penciled in as a starter in 2015? #VikingsST â Andrew Lowell (@alrmpls) December 18, 2014 I wouldnât pencil him in as a starter. Considering that he won the job by the default out of training camp after missing time with a hamstring, and there wasnât a significant dropoff when Adnrew Sendejo started against the Lions, the Vikings will probably view strong safety as a place they can upgrade in the offseason. Sendejo actually made a few good plays in both the run and pass in what was a good performance by the secondary in general. Someone to keep an eye on is rookie defensive back Ahmad Dixon. Heâs someone that was known as an aggressive safety at Baylor, but the seventh round pick was cut by the Cowboys. He doesnât look someone that will be ready to play during the final two games, but if he sticks around for training camp, Iâm very interested to see how heâll look after an offseason with Zimmer. @MasterStrib How stupid am I for replacing Cutler w/ Teddy for all the fantasy marbles this week? #VikingsST â Matt Kalina (@kali0116) December 18, 2014 I question anyone that would want Jay Cutler as their quarterback, fantasy or reality. As Iâm typing this, Cutler threw another interception.
Stability hasnât exactly been a word associated with Minnesota sports leadership in recent years when you consider Jerry Kill, who was hired late in 2010, is the longest-tenured current head coach among these six major teams: Gophers football, Gophers menâs basketball, Wild, Timberwolves, Twins and Vikings. The Wolves, Twins and Vikings, of course, all hired new leaders in 2014. The same could be said in terms of stability and the Vikings QB position. Since Brett Favreâs run ended late in the 2010 season, seven different quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Vikings â and in 2013 and 2014, three different quarterbacks have started games for Minnesota. That said, that lack of stability is starting to change â particularly with respect to specific football rivals, both college and pro. If the Gophers are going to become consistent contenders in the Big Tenâs West Division â something that is hardly a given, but is at least a possibility â they will need to consistently compete against and sometimes defeat Nebraska and Wisconsin. Nebraskaâs coaching situation could not be uglier or more volatile than it is right now, with Bo Pelini lighting a match in the corn field and watching it all burn on his way out. Wisconsinâs situation is different, with two coaches bolting for other teams since 2012, leaving the Badgers to introduce yet another head coach, Paul Chryst, on Wednesday. Chryst could very well keep the Badgersâ train moving right along. But itâs impossible to say that situation is stable right now. The Gophers? A year ago, there were all sorts of questions about Kill and his health. He has answered those brilliantly and along with a devoted staff has kept Minnesota moving on an upward trajectory. Among the Gophers, Badgers and Huskers, Minnesota â by a long shot â has the most stable coaching situation right now. On the pro side, the Vikings entered the season with â again, by a long shot â the least stable QB situation of any team in their division. Aaron Rodgers entered as the leagueâs best quarterback and still in his prime with the Packers. Matthew Stafford is an above-average starter still growing with the Lions. And the Bears had just handed Jay Cutler a massive contract. The Vikings had just drafted a QB in the first round for the second time in four years, admitting they were starting over again. Rodgers and Stafford have done nothing to change their standing â¦ but when it comes to QB stability in the division, the Vikings no longer bring up the rear. Part of that is because Teddy Bridgewater has shown enough in his rookie season to convince us that while his ceiling isnât someone of Rodgersâ caliber, his floor is as an adequate starter in the NFL for years to come. The Bears, meanwhile, just benched Cutler and will start Jimmy Clausen at QB this week. Long-term, Cutler might still turn it around in Chicago. But his tenure there â already rocky at times â has turned completely volatile. Weâd take the Vikingsâ situation 10 times out of 10 over Chicagoâs right now, and thatâs not something we would have said three months ago.
CHICAGO -- You can imagine the scene here on Wednesday. Thousands of Chicago Bears fans checking their smartphones on their train ride home, or stewing in late-afternoon traffic, or getting dinner ready for their kids, and realizing the moment they never thought would happen had already happened. ESPN Insider Adam Schefter had the news: "Stunner from Chicago: Bears starting QB Jimmy Clausen this week, per source." Fathers called sons. Bartenders poured shots. Radio lines were open, then jammed. Lots of people blinked and refreshed their Twitter feeds. Is this another Schefter fake account? Nope, it was real. Where were you when Jay Cutler was benched? Bears head coach Marc Trestman getting fired? That's expected. General manager Phil Emery getting canned? Sure, makes sense. But Cutler? I thought he'd never leave. If we had a zombie apocalypse, he'd find a way to get $20 million. "Well, he's really good at...
Harlon Hill trophy finalists QB Vander Laan and RB Bilal lead AP Little All-America team
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton works with first team at practice, ahead of Derek Anderson