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December 3, 2010

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Vikings quarterback Joe Webb said 41-year-old Brett Favre can still throw the ball 70 yards.  Webb, 6-4, 220, also said he can throw 75 yards and he’s capable of running a 4.3 40-yard dash.

Vikings guard Chris DeGeare said the team’s offense, including plays, was the same for last Sunday’s win over Washington as it was earlier in the season and prior to coach Leslie Frazier becoming interim head coach.

Bob Starkey, who helped the Twins win approval for their stadium, is working as a consultant for the Vikings.  He’s expected to help the Vikings with financial planning for a stadium, according to Lester Bagley, the team’s stadium project leader.

Bagley said a new Vikings stadium with a fixed roof could be built with openings at the ends, allowing natural light in the facility.

Gophers center Ralph Sampson III added upper body strength during the off-season, according to his dad, Ralph Sampson II.  The older Sampson helped him with his weight training and skills last summer.  One subject not discussed was whether the junior center will apply for the NBA draft next year.  “No, we never talk about that,” his dad said. “We try to be successful every day.  We don’t focus on the future. …”

Ralph II said his son is team oriented but sometimes it would be better if he plays with self focus.  “He’s a great kid and you can’t deny that he’s got all the skills…,” his dad said.  “Sometimes you can’t show them in the system that he may be in, or the situation in the game.  He’ll be all right.  He’s fine.”

Sampson has another son, Robert, playing at East Carolina as a freshman.

For the first time ever the NSIC will have two teams playing each other in the Division II playoff quarterfinals when Minnesota Duluth hosts Augustana tomorrow.  Another conference school, Concordia-St. Paul, will play Pitt State tomorrow in the Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Mo.

Tomorrow will be the latest home football game ever played by St. Thomas. The Tommies did play a January 1, 1949 Cigar Bowl game in Tampa, Florida.  The 12-0 Tommies host 11-1 Bethel tomorrow in a game that will be the first time that two MIAC teams have reached the Division III national quarterfinals in the same season.

St. Thomas will tie Carleton tomorrow for second place on the list of most all-time football games played by Minnesota colleges, 907.  St. Thomas is playing its 106th varsity season, while Carleton just concluded its 116th season.  The Gophers have played 1,161 games in 126 seasons.  Hamline is fourth at 904 games in 119 seasons.

The Fischler Report reviews the Wild this week and writer Bob Dill finds praise for off-season acquisitions John Madden, Matt Cullen and Eric Nystrom. The three have helped produce a badly needed upgrade in defense and the team has started the season better than last year.  Dill finds fault, though, with too many games when team effort isn’t consistent or even present and “the lack of five-on-five scoring.”

The Wild broke the world record for largest gathering of people with mustaches on November 26.  The unofficial count of 1,133 still needs to be verified by Guinness but the total is well beyond the previous high of 151. The “Minnesota Wild Mo Bros Team,” led by Nick Schultz, has raised over $29,000 for Movember, the charity promotion encouraging men to grow moustaches during November to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer research.

Recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Dino Ciccarelli will be honored by the Wild at the December 16 game against Ottawa.

Local author Ross Bernstein has multiple works going including upcoming books on Peter Najarian, Howard Schnellenberger and Sarah Palin.  His new book, Raising Stanley, has NHL legends talking about what it takes to win hockey’s ultimate trophy.   Bernstein will be signing copies of the book tomorrow at Goldy’s Hockey Locker in the Mall of America from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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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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