Pluggers, overachievers and blue-light specials. That’s the makeup of the Vikings offense these days. Yet fueled by the energy that often drives the unappreciated, the Vikings could have, should have won Sunday’s game in Detroit.
SAN DIEGO — Tony Oliva’s bid for Cooperstown fell one vote shy Monday when the Golden Era Committee failed to elect any of 10 finalists for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Oliva, 76, and former slugger Dick Allen received 11 votes, just shy of the 75-percent support needed for induction.
MINNEAPOLIS — Charles Johnson assumed his position in front of his locker at TCF Bank Stadium, a media semicircle peppering the Vikings’ suddenly popular wide receiver about seizing the moment yet again. The cat is totally out of the bag on Johnson. Cleveland’s practice-squad castoff and Green Bay’s seventh-round flameout has become Minnesota’s most reliable playmaker in the passing game.
MINNEAPOLIS — Wide receiver Adam Thielen set a Vikings record Sunday for the longest return with a blocked punt. It lasted one quarter. That’s the type of day it was for Minnesota in a 31-13 win over Carolina at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings got a 30-yard blocked punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter by Thielen and then a record-breaking 43-yard blocked punt return for another TD in the second quarter by defensive end Everson Griffen.
In a season filled with turmoil and unexpected calamities, there has been one constant, one certainty: These Vikings are boring. And then along comes Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers and everything changes. Suddenly we have thrills and chills.
MADISON, Wis. — David Cobb and his coaches and teammates will look back on Saturday’s 34-24 loss to Wisconsin as the day he broke Laurence Maroney’s single-season rushing record coming off a hamstring injury, but also as the day the Gophers football team missed on an opportunity to possibly end a drought of nearly 50 years without a Big Ten championship.
Ben Tate has impressed Mike Zimmer once. Now, he’ll try to do it again. Late in the 2011 season, when Tate was playing for Houston, the Texans went to Cincinnati for a key late-season game. Zimmer was then the Bengals’ defensive coordinator.
MINNEAPOLIS — Jerry Kill sat behind his desk Sunday morning, a day after his team’s come-from-behind victory at Nebraska, scratching his head when asked about the secret sauce in his four-year turnaround of the University of Minnesota football program.
ST. PAUL — After a Thanksgiving holiday at his son’s home in San Francisco this weekend, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will return to his Capitol area office Monday to start working “full bore,” he said, on crafting what is likely to be a $40 billion-plus budget to submit to the Legislature in January.
MINNEAPOLIS — Jerry Kill doesn’t get intimidated often. In fact, good luck getting the tough-as-nails University of Minnesota football coach to admit he ever has been intimidated.