MINNEAPOLIS — You might consider Tom Brunansky an unpaid contributor to Twins radio broadcasts. Through the magic of a boom mike placed near the dugout, the voice of the Twins’ hitting coach can be heard providing frequent in-game commentary and exhortation.
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will try to do something this season that only has been accomplished five times in NFL history. The only quarterbacks to have completed at least 70 percent of their passes in an NFL season are Drew Brees, Ken Anderson, Steve Young and Joe Montana. Brees, the New Orleans star who holds the record of 71.2 percent in 2011 and the second-best showing of 70.6 in 2009, has done it twice.
MINNEAPOLIS — Rodrick Williams looked to be the heir apparent at running back for the Gophers two years ago, but he recognizes now that he really wasn’t ready. Williams had the starting job for six games.
MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings players were off Sunday when Kevin McDermott’s phone rang. It was Cullen Loeffler calling to offer congratulations. That’s how McDermott found out he would be the team’s long snapper this season.
MINNEAPOLIS — Just as he expected, quarterback Christian Ponder was booed Saturday night in his return to Minnesota. But he didn’t respond with what he had thought about doing. Ponder, who had a mediocre Vikings tenure from 2011-14 before signing last March with Oakland as a free agent, returned for a 20-12 preseason loss at TCF Bank Stadium. Earlier in the week, Ponder had talked about taking a bow when the boos came.
MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Zimmer’s Vikings have won preseason games in excruciating heat and in driving rain. They’ve won them at home, away and on a neutral field. What they haven’t done is lose one.
MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota announced a one-year contract extension agreement Friday for football coach Jerry Kill, who is now contracted to lead the Gophers through the 2019 season. Kill’s new deal is expected to include a salary increase of about $300,000 this season, which boosts his annual salary to $2.5 million. His salary will increase to $3 million in 2019.
The jokes about Shaun Hill’s age just keep coming. When Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was asked last week why his 35-year-old backup quarterback didn’t throw at a practice, he quipped the team “ran out of oil in the training room.” Then came the rookie talent show earlier this week to close training camp in Mankato.
As Flip Saunders prepared for the franchise’s first-ever No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft, the Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations was handling a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The Wolves announced news of Saunders’ health Tuesday, saying his doctors have called his illness a “very treatable and curable form of cancer.”
CANTON, Ohio — Anthony Barr started his first Vikings regular-season game as an NFL rookie. It would be a big surprise if Trae Waynes ends up doing the same. Barr, a linebacker, was taken with the No. 9 pick in the 2014 draft and made an immediate impact. Waynes, a cornerback selected No. 11 this year, is finding it tough adjusting to the NFL.