News, notes and a few hot takes:
- The Vikings already were likely to be without starting linebacker Anthony Barr for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals and quarterback Kyler Murray, but the news got worse on Thursday as standout middle linebacker Eric Kendricks was added to the injury report because of a quadriceps injury. Both Barr (knee) and Kendricks did not practice and it’s uncertain if either one will be available against Murray, who can create plays with his arm and legs. The Vikings will face Seattle and future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson in Week 3, so this could get ugly if both linebackers are lost for any amount of time. Troy Dye and Blake Lynch likely would start in place of Kendricks and Barr, respectively. Defensive end Everson Griffen, who was brought back by the Vikings as a pass-rush specialist after a year away, also was added to the report Thursday after suffering a concussion.
- It will be interesting to see what the Vikings do to try to slow the Cardinals’ Chandler Jones, who had five sacks, six quarterback hits and two forced fumbles in a 38-13 victory in Week 1 at Tennessee. Jones figures to match up on left tackle Rashod Hill, who is starting in place of injured first-round pick Christian Darrisaw. Jones versus Hill would be a mismatch, so the Vikings are going to have to find a way to slide help over or watch quarterback Kirk Cousins take repeated hits.
- Write This Down: Wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who completed a pass to K.J. Osborn on Sunday, will throw for a touchdown before the season is over.
- With the Wild set to open training camp next week and Kirill Kaprizov refusing to sign what is believed to be a five-year, $45 million offer, you have to wonder how long this can go on? The Wild almost certainly won’t reduce the term of the offer to three years, which is something Kaprizov is believed to want so he can be walked into free agency. Bill Guerin could begin to explore the option of trading Kaprizov, but it’s highly unlikely the general manager would deal the unsigned winger. That means this standoff could go on for a while.
- Scoop Master Darren “Doogie” Wolfson of KSTP-TV and SKOR North tells us that former Wild center Eric Staal is skating at Braemar Ice Rink in Edina and waiting for an offer from an NHL team. Staal, who still lives in the Twin Cities, spent four seasons with the Wild before being traded to Buffalo last offseason. He was then sent to Montreal last March and ended up with two goals and six assists in 21 postseason games as the Canadiens advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals. Montreal lost to Tampa Bay in five games. Don’t expect Guerin to have any interest in bringing back Staal.
- Winger Marcus Johansson, whom the Wild obtained from Buffalo in the Staal trade last September, signed a one-year, $1.5 million free agent deal with the expansion Seattle Kraken in August. Johansson had six goals and eight assists in 36 regular-season games with the Wild and no points in three games in a first-round playoff loss to Vegas. Johansson suffered a broken arm in Game 3 of that series. Johansson isn’t the only former Wild winger to land in Seattle. Ryan Donato, whom the Wild obtained from Boston in the Charlie Coyle trade and then shipped to San Jose last summer, signed a one-year, $750,000 deal with Seattle this week. Donato had six goals and 14 assists in 50 games with the San Jose Sharks last season.
- Joe O’Donnell, who has been calling games for the Wild’s minor league affiliates for 13 seasons and also filled in for radio voice Bob Kurtz on select broadcasts the past two seasons, will call the majority of the Wild games in 2021-22 on the team’s radio network. Kurtz, who has been doing Wild games on radio since the team’s first season and used to call Twins and North Stars game on television, will do a limited number of home games. Tom Reid will continue as the Wild’s radio analyst.
- As bad as the Twins have been this season, radio voices Cory Provus and Dan Gladden continue to do great work. The chemistry between the two, who have been together for 10 seasons, is top-notch and Provus’ play-by-play skills are among the best among radio voices in Major League Baseball.
- The Gophers football team enters Saturday’s game at Colorado with a nonconference winning streak of 20 games, the longest active streak in the country. Iowa is next with 13 nonconference victories in a row. The Gophers’ last nonconference defeat came on Sept. 3, 2015, when they lost to then-No. 2 TCU at TCF Bank Stadium. P.J. Fleck, who is 12-0 in nonconference games with the Gophers, will coach his 100th collegiate game Saturday.
- The Twins will induct former first baseman and current television analyst Justin Morneau into their Hall of Fame on Aug. 25 before they play host to the Blue Jays. Morneau was supposed to be inducted last season but had to wait after the pandemic kept fans from Target Field during the shortened year.
- Parting Thought: Speaking of the Twins Hall of Fame, it’s about time Twin Cities media legend Halsey Hall was elected. The issue is that many of the current voters are too young to have heard of Hall, or know what he meant to the Twins and this market. A former sportswriter and broadcaster, Hall was part of the Twins’ broadcast team from 1961 to 1972. He passed away in 1977 at the age of 78. Hall had the press conference room named after him in the Metrodome and should join John Gordon and the late Herb Carneal as former Twins broadcasters in the team’s Hall of Fame.
Time to get Surly: Vikings might be without key player against Cardinals.
— SKOR North (@SKORNorth) September 16, 2021