Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020



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More Kirk Cousins Trade Speculation


Welcome to a Tuesday notes column with information to know on the Vikings, Gophers, Twins, Kevin Garnett and more.

Trade rumors have been associated with 31-year-old Kirk Cousins during his NFL career dating back to his years with the Washington Redskins. The most recent conjecture comes from website 12.Up that speculated yesterday on the benefits of the Houston Texans sending potential franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson to Minnesota in exchange for Cousins and draft choices.

The Vikings are salary cap challenged and have two first round picks in next week’s NFL Draft. Cousins received a two-year contract extension in March that reportedly not only pays him $66 million but waives the no-trade clause in his previous deal. Watson, 24, is being paid about $14 million total on a four-year rookie contract and is not eligible for a new deal until next year.

Kirk Cousins

While Watson is a valued young QB, 12.Up describes Texans general manager Bill O’Brien as unpredictable and capable of trading the 2017 first round draft choice. Last month many observers found it inexplicable the Vikings were willing to extend Cousins when his contract had a year to go and his performance has been inconsistent. But could there have been a potential trade in the front office’s planning?

Tarvaris Jackson, who died in a car crash Sunday, is part of a legacy group of Viking African-American quarterbacks that began with Warren Moon in 1994. Jackson, a 2006 second round draft choice, played five seasons with Minnesota and started 20 games. Other African-American starting quarterbacks with the Vikings have included Randall Cunningham, Daunte Culpepper, Teddy Bridgewater and Donovan McNabb.

In next week’s NFL Draft, the Vikings don’t need a repeat of how things worked out in 2016. The only player remaining on the roster of seven selections from that draft is linebacker Kentrell Brothers. Among those who didn’t make an impact from the 2016 draft is the team’s overall No. 1 pick, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.

The Gophers’ 2021 recruiting class has moved up to No. 18 in the latest 247Sports national rankings after the recent verbal commitment of four-star cornerback Steven Ortiz Jr. from Goodyear, Arizona. Minnesota beat out prominent programs for Ortiz, including Penn State, Oregon and Washington, according to an online story last Thursday from the Arizona Republic.

“I love the energy of the coaching staff,” Ortiz said in the article. “It’s a program on the rise.”

As of today the current bid via VSA Auctions for Kirby Puckett’s game six worn 1991 World Series jersey was $37,925. The bid on a 1987 World Series Puckett jersey was $12,650.

The auction was mentioned to Gregg Wong, the former Pioneer Press sportswriter who reported on the Twins and Puckett for years. Wong said Puckett is his “favorite athlete” he ever covered and he had many opportunities to ask for memorabilia but never did.

Wong, now a Twins gameday official scorer, received news yesterday from Major League Baseball. Official scorers will no longer be independent contractors but instead will be hourly paid employees.

The Twins, valued at $1.3 billion, rank No. 19 in’s annual valuation of MLB franchises posted last week. The Twins had an eight percent increase in valuation. The Yankees rank No. 1 with a valuation of $5 billion.

Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew (Triumph Books) has an autobiography coming out May 12 about his struggles and successes including his heart transplant. “One Tough Out: Fighting Off Life’s Curveballs” will be promoted by the Twins, and club president Dave St. Peter describes the book as “a great read.”

The 74-year-old former seven-time American League batting champion is beloved by Minnesota baseball fans. “I think he can be a little bit misunderstood,” St. Peter said. “He’s not an outgoing, affable guy. He’s generally quite quiet. …He can be taken as moody, or something of that nature. The Rod Carew I know is very caring, very focused on how he can help other people. He’s very much in love with our game and the Twins’ organization. “

During the work stoppage of Major League Baseball Twins players and those in the farm system receive daily communications from franchise representatives like managers, coaches and trainers to check on their well being.

St. Peter on whether the coronavirus pandemic will allow MLB games to be played this summer: “I don’t know. I am hopeful.”

If there is a 2020 MLB season, players will have their salaries paid on a pro-rated basis.

Expectations are building already among Connecticut women’s basketball fans who are hoping Paige Bueckers from Hopkins can help the Huskies end a national championship drought dating back four years. Bueckers, the Gatorade National Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year, is so special Hopkins boys’ basketball coach Kenny Novak considers her the only girl that could have started for him. “She is the complete package,” Royals girls’ coach Brian Cosgriff said of his point guard.

Kevin Garnett, the former Timberwolves superstar headed for induction later this year into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, has for years wanted to own an NBA franchise and now is making his interest public to have a team in Seattle. Garnett might pull it off but he couldn’t have made too many friends among NBA powerbrokers with his recent rant against classy Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor.

Veteran hockey authority and sports journalist John Gilbert talking in an email about the 2020 Hobey Baker Award winner honoring the top player in college hockey: “Scott Perunovich (Hibbing native) has been the best reason to watch a hockey game at any level in Minnesota for the three years he’s played defense for the UMD Bulldogs. He made All America all three of his years before signing two weeks ago with the St. Louis Blues. The Hobey Baker Award is a fitting climax to his college career, because he not only was the best player in the NCHC and the country, but he also was the leading scorer in the NCHC—rare for a defenseman—and he could control the tempo of any game. …”

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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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