Saturday, Jul. 11, 2020


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Kaepernick Speculation Includes Here

 

A return to the NFL by quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being speculated on during these times of demands for social justice across the country. Kaepernick, 32 and a national civil rights advocate, last played in the NFL in 2016 but has seen his name connected to a comeback this week.

It’s been suggested in the media that among several teams where Kaepernick could fit are the Minnesota Vikings. Kaepernick played six seasons in the NFL with the 49ers, mostly as a starter. The 6-4, 230-pound Kapernick established himself not only as a passer but had 13 rushing touchdowns including one for 90 yards. He may still have enough skills and experience to help as a backup quarterback.

Symbolically, his presence in a Vikings uniform would be welcomed by some fans and residents in Minneapolis where George Floyd was tragically killed by a city police officer. In recent days Kaepernick tweeted about helping to fund legal defense for those in Minneapolis he termed “freedom fighters.”

Why has no team put Kaepernick back to work for years? A former NFL executive, speaking with anonymity, told Sports Headliners there has been no collusion among franchises to boycott Kapernick who drew both national criticism and praise for kneeling during national anthems at games in 2016. The source said NFL owners are too smart to set themselves up for lawsuits involving such collusion.

Teams want to win games and it’s possible there have been some near misses in signing Kaepernick the last few seasons. Contract details, including guarantees and dollar amounts, may have gone unresolved. A breaking point in a decision, the former executive said, could have been if a team had another option with a player comparable to Kaepernick and decided the controversial QB was too much of a media and locker room distraction to sign.

Vikings’ backup quarterback Sean Mannion has a resume with five seasons in the NFL but has only two career starts. Vikings’ decision makers may believe Mannion’s age, 28, and skills are a better fit for their system. But, then again, in these uncertain times the prediction business is more uncertain than ever.

Worth Noting

Maya Moore, another athlete known for her reputation regarding social justice, remains on the Minnesota Lynx official roster with the status of “suspended” for the 2020 season. Moore, who turns 31 June 11 and voluntarily missed last season, would be welcomed back to the organization but has chosen for now to continue her activism.

The 14-player Lynx roster returns seven players from 2019: Lexie Brown, Bridget Carleton, Karima Christmas-Kelly, reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier, Damiris Dantas, Sylvia Fowles, and Odyssey Sims.

Esteemed Sports Illustrated writer Peter King on Tuesday listed the Vikings No. 11 in his NFL power rankings. That placed Minnesota ahead of NFC North Division rivals including Green Bay at No. 12. He ranks Chicago No. 17 and Detroit No. 26.

King is more optimistic about the 2020 Vikings than some prognosticators who believe the team has lost too much talent on defense and offense. He likes No. 1 draft choice and WR Justin Jefferson, thinks Dalvin Cook could win a rushing title and expresses concern about the defensive line stopping the run.

StubHub yesterday listed tickets starting at $10 and $12 for the Vikings’ two exhibition games in Minneapolis, but the beginning price for the September 13 home opener against Green Bay was in the $150 range.

Gophers’ offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. has a 66-year-old father who is the new head football coach at Faith Lutheran High School in Nevada. Mike Sr. was once head coach at UNLV.

Dick Jonckowski

Dick Jonckowski, the former Golden Gophers baseball public address announcer, asked coach John Anderson to be a pallbearer at his funeral. “The Polish Eagle,” 76, is healthy but is making last arrangements. Anderson told him it would be an honor.

Happy birthday today to Dave Mona, the WCCO Radio sports personality.

A hospitality industry authority predicts up to half of existing metro area restaurants will fold because of the lengthy closure forced by the state government’s concern with COVID-19.

NBAdraft.net predicts the Timberwolves at No. 3 in the draft order will choose point guard LaMelo Ball with their first round selection in the 2020 draft. While the website predicted yesterday Ball will be an early lottery pick by the Wolves, former Gopher Daniel Oturu will just miss that status as the 15th selection in the first round by Phoenix.

The first 14 players are lottery picks and earlier this year the website had Oturu projected as a top 10 selection. Slipping from No. 10 to 15 would probably cost Oturu about $900,000 in his first season salary. Basketball.realgm.com puts the salaries at about $3.8 million and $2.7 million respectively.

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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.

(1) Reader Comment

  1. avatar
    Ken Lien
    June 11, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Great column today Dave...Maxy is the best!!

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