Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019

Van Clemens


Murray's Restaurant

Nick Foles Unlikely to Land Here


A Tuesday notes column:

With the clocking ticking toward today’s 3 p.m. deadline for NFL teams to put the franchise tag on players, it’s still unclear what the Vikings’ quarterback strategy is. It doesn’t appear the organization will tag Case Keenum and give him the mega contract that goes with that decision.

Case Keenum (photo courtesy of Minnesota Vikings)

NFL free agency begins later this month and the Vikings may still work out a deal with Keenum, the super sub who was 11-3 for last year’s surprise team. The coaches know what they have in Keenum, who showed an accurate arm and leadership in helping the Vikings to a season that almost ended in the Super Bowl.

There has been speculation Eagles No. 2 quarterback Nick Foles, who beat the Vikings in the NFC title game, could land in Minnesota. That doesn’t seem likely, though, for a few reasons.

The Eagles want to be sure starter Carson Wentz’s recovery from ACL surgery is on schedule for the 2018 season before moving Foles who has one more season before free agency. Then, too, the NFL Network said this morning the Eagles will want a first round future draft choice for Foles. Not only might the Vikings balk at that, but Minnesota is unlikely to have a high first round pick in the next few years.

Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, carries a reported $7.6 million salary. That’s a lot of money for a QB the Eagles hope doesn’t play in 2018 but do the Eagles really want to trade him to a key NFC rival who they could face again in the playoffs? And do the Vikings want to wait around to see when the Eagles are in the mood to trade Foles?

Not likely. Look for the Vikings to sort out their quarterback situation soon.

Except for pitcher and designated hitter, the Twins could have the same opening day lineup in 2018 as last season. Ervin Santana is injured and unavailable to pitch, while newcomer Logan Morrison is all but certain to replace Robbie Grossman as DH. Manager Paul Molitor hasn’t named his starting pitcher.

It’s going to be interesting following Isaiah Washington in the offseason and beyond. The Gopher freshman point guard experienced some lows in his first season at Minnesota and there was speculation he might transfer but the talk has quieted after late season games where he played better.

In Minnesota’s finale, a 65-54 loss to Rutgers last week in New York City, Washington led the Gophers in scoring with 18 points. In seven of the last nine games he scored in double figures. Coach Richard Pitino was asked about the former New York state Mr. Basketball during the Minnesota postgame radio show.

“That’s the silver lining,” Pitino said. “As hard as this was to endure, I thought Isaiah…I wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to make it here. I really wasn’t, and I think the last month he has taken a major step forward just as a basketball player and as a person.”

Washington finds himself compared with former Maple Grove all-stater Brad Davison who made the Big Ten All-Freshman team this season while starting for Wisconsin. Even as a first-year player, Davison emerged as a leader and popular player for the Badgers. He finished second on the team in scoring at 12.1 points per game.

The Gophers need Washington as a successor to Nate Mason at point guard. If Washington isn’t around then the point guard job might go to either shooting guard Dupree McBrayer or small forward Amir Coffey. A missing Washington would not only leave Minnesota looking at other options for point guard, but further reduce team depth which was lacking this season and must improve in 2018-2019.

With a 4-14 Big Ten record, and 15-17 overall, the Gophers fell hard after national rankings last fall had them No. 12 nationally. The disappointment figures to show up at the box office next fall and in other ways. For example, KMGK in Glenwood, a longtime radio network affiliate, will not carry games next season.

Eden Prairie football coach Mike Grant, known for his dry wit, has won 11 state titles with the Eagles. His past honors have included national coach of the year and he was asked Monday if any new awards have come his way. He said no, and what he is happy about right now is his name was selected for a license in the state’s spring turkey hunting lottery. “That’s more important than any awards,” Grant told Sports Headliners.

Asked if his father Bud will hunt with him, Grant said, “He can’t plan that far ahead.”

Bud, who turns 91 in May, will be holding another of his well publicized garage sales at his Bloomington home this spring. Mike said the sale dates will be near or on his dad’s May 20 birthday.

Gopher football practice begins today and will continue through April 16 but you won’t hear from the quarterbacks competing to be the starter. Coach P.J. Fleck isn’t making his quarterbacks, early enrollees and injured players available to the media this spring.

It looks like redshirt freshman Tanner Morgan and sophomore transfer Victor Viramontes could lead a four-man competition during the 15 spring practices. Don’t expect a starter to be named until sometime in August.

The annual spring game (open to the public) is Saturday, April 14 at TCF Bank Stadium and begins at noon.

Former Gopher running back Mo Forte, who turned 71 earlier this month and was a college coach, is retired and living in Nova Scotia.

Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal faces the organization that drafted him tonight when Minnesota plays Carolina at Xcel Energy Center. The Hurricanes selected him No. 2 overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and in 2006 he helped Carolina win the Stanley Cup. He is No. 1 on the all-time Carolina list for winning goals with 47. That total was compiled in 12 seasons.

Share This Article

Related News

About Author


David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

Leave A Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *