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Michael Rand

Digital sports editor | StarTribune.com
phone: 612-673-7564
Michael Rand is digital sports editor. He also writes the RandBall blog and oversees the sports section's 2Day feature on Page 2.
Recent content from Michael Rand
Under the Flying Objects “curse,” the Rockets were bound to beat the Wolves. The Pelicans and Raptors could be dangerous, too.

RandBall: Local pro teams, beware of flying objects

My wife often teases me about my ability to see plausible paths to victory or success for Minnesota sports teams when the reality tells us…
General Manager Rick Spielman said Tuesday the Vikings need to find backups and role players in this week’s NFL draft.

RandBall: NFL draft success sets the table for winning seasons

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said all the right things in his pre-draft news conference with reporters Tuesday, including this: "Every year is a big…
The Packers don’t figure to be a losing team again in 2018 if Green Bay gets a full season of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Vikings' schedule may not be as tough as originally thought

The caveat before we get started with this exercise is to point out Mark Craig's very good Star Tribune piece last week about how the…
For Karl-Anthony Towns and the Wolves, just getting to the postseason was an achievement not reached since the 2003-04 season. Fans hope the team avoi

Postseasons of Wild, Wolves offer some parallels

The middle class of sports — being good enough to reach the playoffs but not good enough to do much once you get there — can be a frustrating place.
Karl-Anthony Towns has stalled in the playoffs. He’s scored 13 points in two games vs. the Rockets despite a 21.6 points per game career average.

Timberwolves offense this postseason can only go up

Mitch Hedberg's excellent and hilarious comedy routine about what happens when escalators break down aside, there is a certain strangeness and discomfort I encounter in…
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby celebrated with the Stanley Cup after the Penguins’ victory in last year’s finals.

Stanley Cup visits Minneapolis, nears tough transition time

In order to keep the Stanley Cup from getting too unwieldy, bands at the bottom need to be removed and replaced as more teams win.
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns took only nine shots in Game 1 vs. the Rockets. Who gets the blame for that?

Why didn't Towns get more shots vs. Houston in Game 1?

In the aftermath of the Wolves’ 104-101 loss to the Rockets on Sunday, there were a lot of big opinions. You could trash the Wolves…
Athletics Director Mark Coyle, left, and new Head Coach Lindsay Whalen met with the media Friday, April 13, at 3 p.m. inside Williams Arena

The 'green files': If there's a job opening, Gophers AD Coyle has names ready

U athletic director Mark Coyle says: "If you came to my house in St. Paul, I can open up a desk drawer and I've got green files of every sport, coaches we want to go after."
The Wolves’ Jimmy Butler blocked a shot by Denver’s Will Barton — one of several big defensive plays by the home team.

Wolves spared Minnesota sport fans more agony

The 2003 Vikings started the season 6-0 and appeared destined for the playoffs. They then proceeded to go 3-6 in their next nine games, many…
When Dessa and the jets got the Twins’ home season going last week, they were working with a franchise on the rise.
singing the national anthem, fou

That's a billion-buck ballclub

The Twins are worth $1.15 billion, according to a new valuation released by Forbes this week, ranking No. 22 among major league teams. There are…
IN THIS PHOTO: Minneapolis, MN., Wednesday, 12/19/2001. Gophers Womens Basketball coach Brenda Oldfield watched her team workout during practice at th

Departure of Gophers' Marlene Stollings has echoes of Brenda Frese's

The last time a Gophers women's basketball coach known for an up-tempo, offensive style bolted town for a job that looked like a lateral move…
Four NBA games this weekend all hurt Wolves playoff chances

Four NBA games this weekend all hurt Wolves playoff chances

The top three teams in the West could have helped the Wolves over the weekend in their quest to end 14 years of playoff futility.
(Left to right) Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler

Two views: Who is the most important player for the Timberwolves?

Each week, Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in on Twin Cities sports topics.
Caption Caption

RandBall: Lynx seem most likely to win title soon, Loons least likely

A couple of months ago, this question was posed to me: Out of the Vikings, Timberwolves, Wild and Twins, which is the team most likely…
Kyle Gibson, like most Twins pitcher, struggled more at Target Field (6-7, 5.72 ERA) than on the road in the 2017 season.

Twins need to perform better, especially their pitchers, at Target Field

For all of their offseason additions aimed at improving on last year's 85-win season and surprise AL wild-card playoff berth, the Twins could do one…
(Left to right) Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson and Jose Berrios have the Twins off to a 2-1 start on the young season.

Quite the changeup: Twins starting pitchers strong out the gate

Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson and Jose Berrios threw 21 shutout innings over three games against the Orioles. Who was the most impressive?
The Minnesota Wild's Jason Zucker (16) skates near Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) during the Wild's 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 13,

Two views: Wild in line to be latest victim of playoff seeding system

Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in on hot sports topics of the week.
While FiveThirtyEight.com has the Twins winning 83 games (the fifth-most by an AL team) this season, the website has Cleveland — led by Cy Young Awa

Wild-card spot gives fringe playoff teams hope

Major League Baseball added a second wild-card playoff team to each league in 2012, at a time when making the playoffs was not a realistic…
Fans, young and old, have been holding up “Circle Me Bert” signs since 2002 at Twins’ games, hoping to catch Bert Blyleven’s eye.

Color commentator Bert Blyleven will keep 'circling' fans this season

It started organically and modestly, as most traditions do. Back in 2002, Twins color commentator Bert Blyleven started circling Twins fans via Telestrator during a…
Cretin-Derham Hall star Daniel Oturu paid a price for getting physical with Apple Valley guard Tre Jones on Saturday.

Page 2: Brief loss of cool costs Cretin-Derham Hall's Daniel Oturu

Daniel Oturu, as he has done all season, showed in his final three high school games why Gophers fans are so excited to have the…
Trevor Siemian

Siemian offers familiar risks, welcome security as Vikings' backup QB

Two views: Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in on hot sports topics of the week.
Twins outfielder Max Kepler, who hit only .152 against lefthanded pitchers last season, seems to be working hard in spring training. If he can have a

Max Kepler could be another big bat in Twins' lineup this season

As several young Twins hitters ascended last season, particularly in the final two months when Minnesota sprinted to the finish and grabbed a wild-card playoff…
Rodney Smith will be a key player for the Gophers when the fall rolls around. For now, he’s here to talk if younger players need him.

Rodney Smith says to teammates he's here for advice this spring

Running back Rodney Smith just turned 22 a few weeks ago. But on the young and inexperienced Gophers football team, Smith talks — and acts…
The Vikings reportedly will be facing the no-longer underdog Eagles in an NFC Championship Game rematch in the NFL’s first game of the year on Thurs

Schedules may decide fate of Vikings, Wolves and Twins

Local fans and media members have spent countless hours dissecting moves made by the Vikings, Twins and Timberwolves in recent months.But for better or worse,…
The Vikings are betting that former Seahawks defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is a step up from Tom Johnson.

Vikings and GM Rick Spielman learning from past mistakes

Recent weeks have offered pretty consistent evidence on a few fronts that the Vikings are trying not to repeat their previous miscues.
MATT YORK • Associated Press
Arizona Cardinals new quarterback Sam Bradford speaks at an NFL football news conference Friday, March 16, 2018, at the

Case Keenum, Sam Bradford reflect on 2017 with the Vikings

Keenum finds Broncos welcoming; Bradford calls his knee "not an issue."
The USGA along with the Royal & Ancient announced a new modern set of golf rules Monday designed to take a large and complicated rule book and make it

Q&A: Minnesota golf official talks about the game's new rules

Doug Hoffmann, the rules and competitions director for the Minnesota Golf Association, chatted with the Star Tribune's Michael Rand about the national and local impact of the changes.
Fomer Cardinals righthander Lance Lynn remained on the free-agent market until the Twins struck the right deal at the right time.

Twins' acquisition of Lynn rewarded patient strategy

The Twins are shelling out $12 million for one season of pitcher Lance Lynn's services, but they're clearly counting on a bigger payoff down the road.
Logan Morrison trotted around the bases 36 times after hitting home runs for the Rays last season.

Two views: Morrison can solve the Twins' troubles at DH if ...

Each week, Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in on the week's top Twin Cities sports issues.
Former Gophers coach Tubby Smith, alive and kicking at Memphis, has been head coach at five different schools.

Former Gophers coach Tubby Smith has a double standard when it comes to player transfers

Former Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith, now with Memphis, got going pretty good Sunday when a reporter asked him after a game if he…
Jeff Teague and the Timberwolves are probably sick of hearing their fans profess their love for Ricky Rubio.

Teague and Wolves weary of hearing about Rubio

And other thoughts from an interesting weekend.
Former Apple Valley standout Harrie Sonie is starting at point guard for Augsburg after playing off guard his first three years. Augsburg guard Harry

Augsburg basketball turns switch, makes NCAA D-III basketball field

With Harry Sonie switching to point guard for his senior season, the Auggies made a strong run through the MIAC postseason tournament and have earned a berth in the Division III field.
The Vikings are expected to be serious participants in the bidding for free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer's comments about Kirk Cousins fuel speculation

If you are looking for a defining date in this whole confusing and wonderfully speculative Vikings QB situation, try this one: Nov. 8, 2017.Here in…
You may have seen a tweet about the Twins signing Logan Morrison— but it wouldn’t have been posted by him.

'LoMo' left Twitter behind

If you're an active Twitter user who likes to check out the social media accounts of local athletes — particularly ones you don't know very…
Dennis Smith Jr. (pictured) and Markelle Fultz are in the NBA now but tied to alleged corruption from when they were collegians.

Page 2: FBI's findings expose an NCAA mired in corruption

For the second consecutive week, Yahoo.com's Pete Thamel delivered a story chronicling just how widespread the corruption in NCAA college basketball really is.
An ecstatic Kendall Coyne got a lift from her fiance, Michael Schofield, after her U.S. hockey team beat Canada.

Watching Olympics on television tiring, but well worth it

The Winter Olympics this year are exhausting to watch, aren't they?OK, before you answer, let's back up. First and foremost, they're exponentially more exhausting for…
Stefon Diggs celebrated after a 61-yard touchdown catch with no time left to beat the Saints in the playoffs.

Diggs' TD and Diggins' medal-winning race shared some striking similarities

Just two weeks into 2018, Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs delivered what seemed like would stand as the signature moment in Minnesota sports for the…
If Kirk Cousins has the Jets’ attention, as reported, that could knock bidding for the free-agent quarterback’s services off the charts.

Page 2: Jets' offer to Kirk Cousins may set bar too high for Vikings

If you believe the Vikings should at least be considering a run at free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason — and you will find me…
For all the strides the Timberwolves have made as a team, the improvement of Andrew Wiggins hasn’t kept pace.

Andrew Wiggins' improvement hasn't kept up with Wolves'

The Timberwolves defeated the Lakers 119-111 on Thursday, giving them a 36-25 record at the All-Star break.Jimmy Butler filled up the stat sheet, finishing with…
Tampa Bay Rays' Chris Archer follows through on a pitch to the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in

Two views: Trading is the Twins' best bet, and Archer is a great target

Star Tribune sports staff Michael Rand and Chris Hine take a stab at assessing the Twins' search for starting pitching help.
Karl-Anthony Towns talked to students during Monday’s NBA’s Building Bridges Through Basketball initiative session. as high school students listen

Wolves helping to build bridges between youths and police

Not long after their practice Monday at Mayo Clinic Square, Timberwolves players Karl-Anthony Towns, Jamal Crawford and Cole Aldrich returned to the court for an…
Wolves fans have been rewarded with a winning team this season, but they are going to pay for it next yaer.

Winning comes at a cost for Timberwolves ticket holders

Enticed by the prospect of an exciting season and lured by rock-bottom prices, Melissa Berman took the plunge and bought Timberwolves season tickets this year.Her…
Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer has logged at least 200 innings and at least 233 strikeouts each of the past three seasons.

When you shoot for the stars

Let's assume, for the sake of argument and positive thinking, that the Twins' offseason pursuit of pitching is not akin to Elon Musk's pursuit of…
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau stood pat at the trade deadline, but he still has a roster spot available for use.

Two views: No trades is the right move for young Timberwolves

Michael Rand and Chris Hine weigh in on this week's hot Minnesota sports topic.
Andrew Wiggins, left, and Karl-Anthony Towns seem to have the Wolves en route to their first playoff berth since 2004, but the team made no moves at t

NBA and MLB teams are spending their boatloads of money more wisely

There has never been more money rolling through major U.S. sports, and there has seldom been more of a reluctance to spend it — or…
With Ervin Santana out to start the season, Twins manager Paul Molitor (center) will need a fill-in starter in April.

Even before Ervin Santana's injury, Twins' rotation was fragile

Panic isn't quite the right word to describe the reaction of Twins fans Tuesday to the news that Ervin Santana, their best and most dependable…
Case Keenum was the No. 2 quarterback in the NFL, according to ESPN’s Total QBR statistic.

I'm nearly positive about who should be the Vikings quarterback next season

The goal at the start of Tuesday was to settle once and for all what I think is the best course of action for the…
The Eagles’ Zach Ertz celebrate winning of Super Bowl LII, which was one of the best Super Bowls ever, if we do say so ourselves.

Where does this Super Bowl rank among other big local sporting events and among all Super Bowls?

Nothing will give you a lesson in recency bias more than to declare something that just happened is the best of its kind to ever…

Some former NFL players used platform to educate

In the midst of the NFL's weeklong product placement extravaganza that culminated with Sunday's Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium, a recurring theme kept putting…
Carolina Panthers defensive end Jared Allen during a news conference on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. T

Mall of America is place to be this week for NFL fans

It was a dizzying day at Mall of America. Here is the best of what we heard and saw out walking around and on radio…
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater stopped by the Star Tribune’s table on Super Bowl Radio Row at Mall of America with his girlfriend, Erika Card

Teddy Bridgewater's comeback inspires book by his girlfriend

Current and former athletes, marketers and handlers hustled briskly from spot to spot on Mall of America's Super Bowl radio row Thursday, promoting everything from…
Eller

Q and A with Vikings great Carl Eller

Vikings legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Carl Eller was making the media rounds Wednesday at Mall of America and promoting a few projects,…
Dan Patrick brought his radio show to the Twin Cities ahead of Super Bowl LII, seen above broadcasting Tuesday.

Media stars Dan Patrick, Rich Eisen rise above the stresses of Super Bowl week

Rich Eisen, Dan Patrick rise above anxiety of big game.
New England Patriots' Tom Brady gets a high five during NFL football Super Bowl 52 Opening Night Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, at the Xcel Center in St. Paul

Yep, Super Bowl LII Opening Night was as wild as rumored

Tom Brady likes tequila, one Star Tribune reporter might be brothers with an Eagles coach, and Super Bowl LII Opening Night was as crazy as we thought it might be.
Fans can pose in this headless Patriots player replica, which stands near the line for photos of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Super Bowl fun on a budget

Plenty to do at the NFL's interactive pop-up museum, the Super Bowl Experience.
Dave Stevens posed with Michael Vick at the NFL alumni vs. Wounded Warrior Amputee game before last year’s Super Bowl.

Former NFL stars to play wounded vets for charity

Charity flag football game will feature Vikings greats.
Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr’s hit put Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers out for most of the year, but he’ll be back.

It might be tough for Vikings to reach 13 victories again next year

The disappointment for the Vikings and their fans of missing out by one game on a chance to not only play in a Super Bowl…
Andrew Wiggins’ new aggressiveness has made the Wolves dangerous..

It's time to move past sorrow over Vikings and embrace state's other pro teams

It's hard not to wallow in Sunday's Vikings loss, and it's going to be even harder as signs of a Minneapolis Super Bowl between the…
Vikings quarterback Case Keenum fumbled the ball after Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett (96) jarred it loose Sunday.

Vikings' offensive line, quarterback Case Keenum both crumbled under Eagles' pressure

On Friday, about 48 hours before the kickoff of the NFC Championship Game between the Vikings and Eagles, I spent entirely too much time fixated…
On clean-out day at Winter Park, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum said he hadn’t thought about free agency much. “I love this team. … I love this

Vikings' most pressing question: Who will be this team's quarterback in 2018?

Keenum, Bradford and Bridgewater are pending free agents, so the Vikings face a big decision
Call Kyle Sloter the ultimate keeper. He went from Denver’s preseason roster to the Vikings’ active roster during 2017.

Kyle Sloter is Vikings' only signed QB for 2018

When considering the Vikings' quarterback situation heading into 2018, much of the conversation — and rightfully so — is focused on Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater…
CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com (top); BRIAN PETERSON • brianp@startribune.com (above left, above right)
Corey Graham celebrated a fou

Pain, on so many levels, for Vikings season

The Vikings last went to the Super Bowl following the 1976 season. I was born during that season — a day before their first regular-season…
Twins manager Paul Molitor, from left, FSN play-by-play announcer Dick Bremer and Derek Falvey, Twins president of baseball operations, chatted on sta

Buzz about Vikings a positive for Twins as well

Twins pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers on Feb. 13, just nine days after the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.
Eagles’ fans have been left cold by their team’s playoff losses in the Super Bowl era, nearly as much as Vikings fans.

Eagles fans could end up worse off than Vikings fans

Vikings fans are so well-versed in their favorite franchise's, ahem, difficult playoff history that they sometimes wear it as a badge of honor. Ask them…
Viking fans were taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions in the second half Sunday, leaving many to wonder if their season was over until the final

This Vikings win tops them all — at least for now

I don't know the last time a single sporting event — or a single play, even — made the entire state of Minnesota so happy.Maybe…
Wolves guard Jamal Crawford, along with Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson, will judge the organization’s Black History Month essay contest in February d

Wolves guard Jamal Crawford reflects on judging Black History Month essay contest

It's generally a good idea to start an interview with a uncontroversial opening question to get a reasonably friendly dialogue going. With that in mind,…
For the first time ever, Minnesota’s five major sports teams have a chance to all make the playoffs in the same year. The Vikings, Twins and Lynx al

Five Minnesota teams making the playoffs this year still a possibility

Starting in the Year 2000, there were five Minnesota professional sports teams playing in the top league in the United States: The Lynx (debuted in…
unstoppable, until: (Top, from right) Randall Cunningham, with Randy Moss and Cris Carter, led what was, in 1998, the most prolific offense in NFL his

Juggernaut … for naught: Vikings fans still haunted by memories of 1998

The 1998 Vikings went 15-1 and set a record (at the time) for points in a season. That team's overtime loss in the NFC Championship Game to Atlanta left a mark that remains today.
Quarterback Nick Foles was just 4-for-11 for 39 yards in the Eagles’ regular-season finale against the Cowboys.

The Eagles aren't dead yet

On this week's Access Vikings podcast — available on startribune.com and iTunes, in case you shamefully haven't listened to it before — I was asked…
The entrance of the new Gophers basketball practice facility sports a mural of Amir Coffey, Eric Curry, Nate Mason and Jordan Murphy from last season.

Amid uncertainty, a new home for Gophers men's basketball practices

There might not be a perfect word to describe everything that is happening with the Gophers men's basketball program right now, but star forward Jordan…
The Vikings’ two best chances for a fifth Super Bowl came in NFC Championship Game OT losses to the Falcons, on a field goal by Morten Andersen, top

Vikings have a chance to exorcise two playoff demons

If you are the kind of Vikings fan who is willing to look ahead more than one game and also can stomach looking back —…
Jack Kramer is both a gymnast for the Gophers and a drone pilot, and he’s found ties between the two.

Dream takes flight for Gophers gymnast/drone pilot

Jack Kramer is a senior on the gymnastics team who specializes on the high bar. And he's a certified drone pilot with a burgeoning business that could help finance his ability to fly real airplanes someday.
The Vikings will make only their third visit to Gillette Stadium in 2018 when they go on the road to face quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Pa

Vikings' 2018 opponents pose many challenges, especially on road

The NFL regular season concluded a few days ago, which meant all 32 teams pretty much immediately knew their entire 2018 home-and-away schedule.The NFL follows…
Do you think the Vikings will make the Super Bowl or just add to the many heartaches of past years and fall short?

Which type of Vikings fan are you?

As the Vikings stacked up enough wins to earn a 13-3 record and the No. 2 seed in the NFC this season (and the bye…
Case Keenum has been the winning pitcher the past three games, setting up the Vikings nicely for the playoffs.

Things are falling into place for Vikings, Wolves

Three thoughts from the long sports weekend:
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