Chad Graff / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS—Donned in red and purple, 37,355 fans turned a sun-soaked ballpark into a cozy football field Saturday, Sept. 23, continuing to elevate a Division III rivalry, this time to heights rivaled only by members of college football's premier division. For the 87th meeting between MIAC foes, St. John's and St. Thomas turned Target Field into an afternoon frenzy with more fans present than half of last year's college football bowls and more fans than the NFL's Los Angeles Chargers draw, as the Tommies continued their recent success over the Johnnies with a 20-17 victory.
MINNEAPOLIS — A day after Mike Zimmer dismissed questions about the Vikings' injured starting quarterback with terse and vague remarks, the head coach downplayed the severity of Sam Bradford's knee injury, saying he doesn't think Bradford will be out long term. After the Vikings lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-9 on Sunday in the absence of Bradford, Zimmer bristled at questions about the quarterback, saying he could be out as much as six weeks.
MINNEAPOLIS — If Latavius Murray is upset by his limited role with his new team, the $15 million running back isn't showing it. Although Murray appeared destined to replace Adrian Peterson as the Vikings starter when he signed a three-year deal in March, the 27-year-old has just five carries and 12 yards through two games this season. "I think it's still evolving," Murray said. "Whenever I'm in there, I need to make the most of it; continue to keep grasping this offense so I can be an efficient player in this offense."
MINNEAPOLIS—With three hits Sunday, Sept. 17, including a game-breaking grand slam in the fifth inning of the Twins' 13-7 win over the Blue Jays, Joe Mauer upped his batting average to .306. The first baseman who hasn't hit above .277 the past three seasons is hitting at a .400 clip since Aug. 10, a major reason why the Twins continue to inch toward a postseason berth.
MINNEAPOLIS — As the Twins enter the home stretch of this once improbable run toward a postseason berth, manager Paul Molitor has unofficially selected Matt Belisle to serve as the team's closer. "Most days, if Matt is fresh and ready, he's going to get that opportunity," Molitor said. "I think he's earned that over the past month or so." After early-season struggles, Belisle, a 37-year-old veteran of 14 seasons, has emerged as arguably the Twins' top reliever after the team traded closer Brandon Kintzler to the Washington Nationals at the end of July.
MINNEAPOLIS—As fans chanted his name, Randy Moss spent much of his short halftime speech thanking the state and the Vikings for jump-starting his NFL career on a night when the team made him the 22nd inductee to their Ring of Honor. The Vikings unveiled his nameplate and No. 84 at U.S. Bank Stadium Monday, amid the festivities of a night centered around their former wide receiver, who was on hand for his television duties with ESPN. "From the bottom of my heart," Moss said, "me and my family would love to say thank you for putting me in the Ring of Honor."
MINNEAPOLIS — In the days leading up to his Monday night induction into the Vikings' Ring of Honor, Randy Moss has spent time reflecting on his 14-year playing career with the aid of the Internet. Moss has taken to typing his name into YouTube and watching some of the highlights that made him a six-time Pro Bowl player and likely hall of famer. One of his favorites is his lateral to Moe Williams that ended the first half of a 2003 game with a touchdown against the Denver Broncos.
MINNEAPOLIS — When Glen Perkins was called up to the Twins in 2006, his first introduction came from someone he didn't expect. Then-closer Joe Nathan welcomed Perkins to the clubhouse and made him his throwing partner for pregame warm-ups, a gesture Perkins often thinks back to now that he's an elder former all-star in the bullpen. That moment is one Perkins reflected on this week as the Twins prepare to welcome Nathan back to Minnesota, where he'll announce his retirement from a 16-year career Friday at Target Field before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.
MINNEAPOLIS — In a span of 108 yards Sunday night, Jerick McKinnon may have won the competition to replace Cordarrelle Patterson as the Vikings' kickoff returner. After touchbacks on the first three 49ers kickoffs Sunday, Aug. 27, stymied McKinnon's chances of making a statement, the running back bolted 108 yards for a touchdown at the end of the third quarter of the Vikings' 32-31 preseason win over San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS — Although Miguel Sano is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Wednesday, Aug. 30, the Twins third baseman isn't close to returning from a shin injury, still unable to perform baseball activities, manager Paul Molitor said Tuesday, Aug. 29. The slugger hit the disabled list Aug. 20 with a stress reaction on his left leg. While the Twins were on an eight-game road trip last week, Sano remained in Minnesota doing cardiovascular exercises in a pool and on a bike, but he isn't close yet to returning to the lineup.