• There is no truth to the rumor that the Vikings have refused to pay for the electric heating system that is to be installed beneath the field at TCF Bank Stadium during the two years they play on campus. The only question is what type will be installed in time for the 2014 season.
• It’s too bad the two biggest stars for each team won’t be playing in the Vikings-Lions Metrodome finale. Not only is Adrian Peterson out for the home team, but star Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson, who always has been a problem for the Vikings secondary, will miss the game because of a knee problem.
• Former Gophers football coach John Gutekunst, who coached inside linebackers for North Carolina A&T this past year, said he predicted a great future in coaching for Lions coach Jim Schwartz when Schwartz was a Gophers graduate assistant in 1990. Schwartz, whose Lions teams have lost 10 consecutive December and January games, has two years left on his contract, and if the Lions fire him he will receive a buyout of more than $12 million, according to ESPN.
• One reason the Vikings should beat the Lions is that the Lions are minus-14 in turnover margin, ranking 29th in the NFL.
• Former Gophers wide receiver Eric Decker, who is having another fantastic year catching passes from Peyton Manning with the Broncos, can be a free agent at the end of this season and could wind up with Denver’s franchise tag, meaning a guaranteed contract of about $11.5 million for 2014. Decker has 83 receptions for 1,261 yards and 10 touchdowns, including seven TDs in December.
• George McDonald, a former member of Tim Brewster’s Gophers coaching staff, is the offensive coordinator for Syracuse and worked in the press box calling the plays for the team that beat the Gophers in the Texas Bowl on Friday.
• The Gophers had 3,375 fans travel to the Texas Bowl while Syracuse had 700.
• The North Carolina football team that received $800,000 from the Gophers to be removed from the 2013 schedule played in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., where the Tar Heels beat Cincinnati 39-17.