Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
EAGAN, Minn. — It's been five months and Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs still can't go out in public without hearing about the play that will forever be known as the Minnesota Miracle. On Jan. 14, with 10 seconds left in an NFC divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, Diggs leapt high to haul in a pass from former quarterback Case Keenum and raced up the right sideline for a 61-yard touchdown that turned what appeared to be a certain loss into victory.
EAGAN, Minn. — Barely a month after signing a nonguaranteed one-year, $775,000 contract to return to Minnesota, kicker Kai Forbath watched helplessly as the Vikings used a fifth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson. While general manager Rick Spielman said the plan is for both kickers to compete for the starting job over the next few months, it's rare for a team to draft a kicker and then cut him.
ST. PAUL — Ryan Suter is bored. Since surgery a month and a half ago to repair a broken right ankle, the 33-year-old Wild defenseman hasn't been able to put any weight on his right foot. That means he can't do, well, much of anything, and uses crutches to get around whenever he's not confined to the couch. That was the scene on Tuesday afternoon, May 23, at Xcel Energy Center during the introductory press conference for new general manager Paul Fenton, as Suter slowly limped into the arena before making his way over to a seat alongside teammate Zach Parise.
EAGAN, Minn. — With nearly every player on the Vikings' roster participating in the second day of Organized Team Activities on Wednesday afternoon, May 23, linebacker Anthony Barr was conspicuously absent. Barr, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract without a long-term extension, alerted coach Mike Zimmer earlier this week that he planned to skip the voluntary workouts. His $12.306 million base salary for the upcoming season is fully guaranteed.
ST. PAUL — If Paul Fenton wasn't already aware of his task as new general manager of the Wild, owner Craig Leipold sat next to him and made it clear during an introductory new conference Tuesday morning, May 22, at Xcel Energy Center. In front of dozens of people that included players such as Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, and Ryan Suter, Leipold took the mic to introduce Fenton, who on Monday afternoon was named the third general manager in franchise history.
After a monthlong search process for the next Wild general manager, owner Craig Leipold has decided that Paul Fenton is the right man for the job. Fenton was viewed as the frontrunner from the get-go and was the first person Leipold and team president Matt Majka interviewed nearly a month ago. He remained the primary target despite a handful of other candidates being brought in for interviews over the last month or so.
MINNEAPOLIS — It's a little past 7:30 a.m. on a nondescript morning in the middle of May and a tired Lindsay Whalen is about to start another double shift. She takes a few minutes to scarf down breakfast at home before rushing to her office at the University of Minnesota. The newly hired head coach of the women's basketball program spends the next couple of hours chatting with her coaching staff, finishing up some administrative work and planning the rest of the week.
EAGAN, Minn. — As part of the first training camp at their brand-new facility in Eagan, the Vikings will play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a pair of joint practices Aug. 15-16. The practices precede a preseason game between the teams Aug. 18 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Both teams were the runners-up in their respective conferences last season, with the Vikings losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, and the Jaguars losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
ST. PAUL — The Twin Cities welcomed its newest professional sports team Tuesday, May 15, with the announcement that the Minnesota Whitecaps will join the National Women’s Hockey League. The Whitecaps, a Twin Cities team founded in 2004, join as the league’s fifth team with the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and Metropolitan Riveters and will start playing at the start of the 2018-19 season.
WINNIPEG—A little more than a year ago, Erik Haula sat in front of his locker at the Xcel Energy Center and let loose. "What is this, five years in a row now?" Haula said after the Wild were eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs. "I'm sick of it. We are all sick of it. You can say this or that or whatever, I'm just so ticked off."