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Something for Vikings to ‘Kick About’

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December 3, 2017


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A Sunday notes column kicking off with the 9-2 Vikings who are in Atlanta for a noon game against the 7-4 Falcons.

Vikings’ placekicker Kai Forbath has made just 82 percent of his extra point attempts. That is the lowest conversion rate among NFL kickers with 10 or more attempts.

Forbath has made 23 of 28 extra points, with two attempts blocked. Falcons’ kicker Matt Bryant is a perfect 28 of 28.

Forbath joined the Vikings as a free agent in November of 2016 and made 11 of 14 extra points, or 78.6 percent. He converted 34 of 35 extra points in 2015 playing for the Redskins and Saints even though that year the NFL moved the line of scrimmage for conversions back from the two-yard line to the 15—a rules change that is still in place. (The result in 2015 was dramatic with league kickers missing the most extra points in any season since 1977, according to a January 4, 2016 story.)

Forbath has made 24 of 28 field goals, and only four other NFL kickers have converted more. He has been successful on 10 of 12 in the 30 to 39 yard range (the distance for extra points is 33 yards). With nothing but big games ahead for the Vikings in their drive for the playoffs, and a Minneapolis Super Bowl spot, Forbath needs to shake his extra point slump.

D. Orlando Ledbetter, writing on the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s website last Thursday, reported the Vikings’ Case Keenum is the top-ranked NFL quarterback, “according to analytics website Football Outsiders.”

Back in September Vikings defensive lineman Everson Griffen called out Lions offensive tackle Greg Robinson, referring to him as “lazy.” Last week, though, Griffen wouldn’t put that label on anyone on the Falcons’ offensive line that has helped produce 373.4 yards per game, sixth best in the NFL. The Vikings rank fifth at 375.7.

The Vikings are the only team in the NFL with both a top five offense and defense. Minnesota is No. 5 defensively, holding opponents to 290.4 yards per game.

Bob Kronenberg, an area scout for the Falcons, is a former All-American in football and track at St. Cloud State.

Dick Jonckowski

The Vikings will honor Dick Jonckowski at their December 17 home game against the Bengals. Jonckowski was a prominent Vikings usher for years at the old Met Stadium and recently retired from public address announcing for Golden Gophers basketball, a position he held for 31 years.

Coach Richard Pitino’s Gophers, 7-1 in nonconference games, play their opening Big Ten game at 5 p.m. tonight in Williams Arena. Minnesota is at Nebraska Tuesday evening as part of a new-look Big Ten schedule that has teams playing two conference games in early December prior to resuming nonconference games for most of the month.

Rutgers, 6-1, has lost only to undefeated Florida State. As of Friday afternoon, Rutgers led the nation in offensive rebounding per game at 16.6 and was second in scoring defense, allowing 51.6 points.

Also as of Friday, Gophers forward Jordan Murphy led the nation with eight double-doubles, one in every game this season. He was second nationally in offensive rebounding per game with 5.5 and third in rebounds at 12.5. His 21.4 points per game ranked 33rd.

Minnesota author Bob Showers has signings this month for his new book The Twins in the Dome. His Twin Cities area schedule includes appearances at Barnes & Noble stores at Maplewood Mall and HarMar Mall next Saturday starting at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively. His new Twins publication was included in last month’s Star Tribune Holiday Book Guide, one of five regional books selected.

A national TV audience will watch two of the country’s elite prep basketball guards Thursday when Apple Valley, led by Tre Jones, plays Minnehaha Academy and Jalen Suggs. The game will be at Apple Valley, starts at 7 p.m. and airs on on ESPN U.

Former Minnesota Mr. Basketball Khalid El-Amin has returned to his alma mater, North High School, as an assistant coach.

It was stunning to see all the prime unoccupied seats at the Gophers home hockey game against the Badgers Friday night. The empty seats make a statement about the apathy toward U hockey despite a No. 7 national ranking and playing border rival Wisconsin, a team ranked No. 14 in the country.

Mary Hardin-Baylor, the team that defeated St. Thomas 24-10 yesterday in a Division III college football quarterfinal playoff game, now has a 100-7 record during the last eight years. The total includes 19 wins and 7 losses in the playoffs. MHB’s record during the last eight years is second best in the nation, while St. Thomas ranks fourth at 92-12 including 17-6 in the postseason.

Bluff Creek Golf Course in Chaska is open to the public this weekend using a shotgun format. The course was also open during mild weather last February.

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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.

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