• Boston media is reporting that the Red Sox have talked to the Twins about a possible trade for Twins catcher Joe Mauer. However, Mauer has a no-trade clause in his contract and would have to approve any move. But the Red Sox aren't afraid to spend money and have ways to get superstars. Mauer has already agreed to play for the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic this March. Mauer and New York Mets third baseman David Wright are the only confirmed players thus far on the U.S. team, which will be managed by Joe Torre.

• It will be some type of coincidence if quarterback Max Shortell, who is leaving the Gophers, winds up at Mississippi State, where former Gophers coach Tim Brewster, who recruited Shortell, is the wide receivers coach.

• The Bears announced Friday that starting cornerback Tim Jennings will miss Sunday's game because of a shoulder injury, which could help the Vikings' passing game. Jennings, linebacker Brian Urlacher and wide receiver Earl Bennett are all out for the game.

• The appearance of Dean Blais, coach of the Nebraska Omaha hockey team who split last weekend's series with the Gophers at Mariucci Arena, reminded me that he has a daughter, Mary Beth, who is married to Rick Fritz, the former Minnesota Duluth quarterback who is the grandson of former Vikings coach Bud Grant. The couple has three great sons, and if sporting genes can pass through generations, look out for those kids in the future.

• Eric Decker, the former Gopher who is Peyton Manning's favorite receiver on the Denver roster, has 64 receptions for 790 yards and eight touchdowns. He has one more year on his contract before he will become a free agent. What a pickup he would be to improve the Vikings' unproductive group of wide receivers.