Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS—For weeks, the Gophers men's basketball team has dealt with the justice of Murphy's Law. No, not forward Jordan Murphy. The axiom that if anything can go wrong, it will. It started with the bombshell of center Reggie Lynch being suspended indefinitely for sexual misconduct investigations, and it quickly coincided with the five-game absence of guard Amir Coffey with a shoulder injury.
MINNEAPOLIS — Diehard Vikings fan Josh Roueche fled to Mexico to cope with the Vikings' crushing loss in the 1998 NFC Championship Game. Back from that vacation and now settled down with kids in Elk River, the real estate agent was slumped on the couch at end of the Vikings' NFC divisional playoff game Sunday. He was distraught over how his favorite football team gave up a 17-0 halftime lead and was on the verge of letting him down again. "I kind of have to protect my heart with how things have transpired over the years," said Roueche, 42.
ST. PAUL — With the 2018 season opener six weeks away, Minnesota United's front office continues efforts to sign new players for its second campaign in MLS. But while adding three newcomers so far this offseason, the Loons have missed out on a few targeted acquisitions. "As much as it's frustrating at times because we've been close on one or two occasions to bring people in, I want to bring the right people in," United coach Adrian Heath told the Pioneer Press on Wednesday, Jan. 17, from the MLS Player Combine in Orlando, Fla.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings' defense might still be taking heat for blowing a 17-0 halftime lead if not for Stefon Diggs' miraculous, game-winning touchdown in Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints. Diggs' 61-yard reception from Case Keenum marked the first time an NFL playoff game had ended on a touchdown in regulation and propelled the Vikings into Sunday's NFC championship game Sunday at Philadelphia.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo laid crumpled on the 11-yard line at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 15. Teammate Xavier Rhodes was livid at the blindside hit levied by Saints receiver Michael Thomas during the third quarter of Minnesota's 29-24 win over New Orleans in the NFC divisional-round playoff game.
MINNEAPOLIS — Saints safety Marcus Williams buried his head in a white towel inside the New Orleans locker room after he gave up the game-winning touchdown in the Vikings' stunning 29-24 victory Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Saints teammates initially tried to protect Williams from the media throng, telling reporters he wasn't going to speak after the NFC divisional round playoff game. Minutes later, the red-eyed rookie turned around and tried to explain how he whiffed on a tackle that sprung Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs down the sideline on a 61-yard score as time expired.
MINNEAPOLIS — Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino saw plenty of mistakes in Minnesota's 83-60 loss to Northwestern on Wednesday, Jan. 10. He didn't act on all of them. "I think more than anything it's just understanding," Pitino said Friday. "Maybe I was a little bit nicer to them after a not-very-good performance versus Northwestern. But I think they deserve a break, to be honest. You maybe point out certainly what you need to do from an execution standpoint."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota United has signed Frantz Pangop, a 24-year-old attacking midfielder from Cameroon, the club announced Tuesday, Jan. 9. He is the first international signing for the Loons this offseason. Pangop will be a transfer from the first team of Union Douala in Cameroon and has two career appearances with the Cameroon national team. He scored the sealing goal in the 88th minute of Cameroon's 2-0 win over Algeria in a World Cup qualifier on Oct. 7.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings' 29-19 victory over the Saints in the season opener is remembered most for the way Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford fired his passes with ease and accuracy, finishing 27 for 32 for 346 yards and three touchdowns. Mostly forgotten is the way New Orleans drove to Minnesota's 19-yard line, 2-yard line (twice) and 6-yard line before settling for field goals. The Saints finished 1 for 5 in the red zone in Week 1, their only touchdown coming late in the fourth quarter when the Vikings held a comfortable 29-12 lead.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota United striker Christian Ramirez has earned his first invitation to train with the U.S. men's national team. On the verge of a call-up for years, Ramirez is among 30 players to join the country's top team for its January camp starting Wednesday in Carson, Calif., U.S. Soccer announced Monday, Jan. 8. The Garden Grove, Calif., native could make his first appearance for the U.S. in a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Jan. 28 at StubHub Center in Carson. The Loons open camp Jan. 22 in Blaine.