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Michael Rand

Digital sports editor |
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
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,'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…

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 • (top); BRIAN PETERSON • (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 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:
A Superbowl LII ice sculpture outside the IDS Crystal Court 100 days before the Super Bowl . ] GLEN STUBBE • Friday, Oct

Ten Minnesota sports story lines to watch in 2018

Welcome to 2018. How does it feel to know that someone born Jan. 1, 2000, is now old enough to legally vote? Wait, don't answer…
The Eagles’ Nick Foles was tackled by the Raiders’ Denico Autry (96) and Khalil Mack (52) on Monday night.

Are Philadelphia Eagles weakened enough to prefer playing them on road?

Sports Illustrated's Peter King pretty much nailed it Tuesday morning when writing about how bad the Eagles looked Monday, even in defeating the Raiders 19-10.…
Jimmy Butler.

Ideal gift suggestions for the state's six pro sports teams

Yeah, it's late for Christmas, but it's the thought that counts.
It’s important to remember that coach P. J. Fleck’s recruits should lead to eventual, not immediate, success on the field.

Fleck delivers with new recruiting class

The Gophers football program and head coach P.J. Fleck deserve the victory lap they were able to take Wednesday, when they delivered the most highly…
The Packers would have been a slight favorite this weekend if Aaron Rodgers was playing. They are 9-point underdogs now.

How valuable is Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers? Ask Las Vegas oddsmakers

Getting to the heart of the question, "Just how much does Aaron Rodgers mean to the Packers?" can be an abstract exercise that leads to…
Eight of Jimmy Butler’s 11 shots Monday night were inside the paint and he also got to the line 12 times, making 11.

Wolves should follow Jimmy Butler's lead in shot selection

Jimmy Butler's 37-point performance Monday against the Portland Trail Blazers in a game in which he was questionable to play because of back issues was…
NFL Week 15 oddities Sunday included Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger throwing an interception in the end zone, two plays after a TD was overturned b

These are crazy ways to decide an NFL game

Sunday was a very good day for Vikings fans. If there was lingering tension about a late-season slide following a narrow but troubling loss at…
Vikings fans had the choice Sunday of either rooting for Green Bay — left, Randall Cobb celebrated his touchdown for the Packers with Davante Adams�

RandBall: Carolina loss would have helped Vikings - but fans wanted Packers loss more

Vikings fans had a battle between their hearts and minds on Sunday, though if Twitter is any indication the hearts were winning by a landslide.
Marney Gellner is a sideline reporter for Fox Sports North, which broadcasts many Twins, Wild, Wolves and Lynx games.

Talker: Disney buys key Fox assets

The big business and entertainment headline Thursday morning involved Disney purchasing 21st Century Fox, the Rupert Murdoch media conglomerate. The all-stock price tag — valued…
Latavius Murray found room against the Rams once. There are reasons to think the Vikings would beat the Rams again.

What's the Vikings' smoothest path to the Super Bowl?

Here's a subject we got to toward the end of this week's Access Vikings podcast, prompted by a question from a listener: Who are the…
If goalie Devan Dubnyk and the Wild aim to make the playoffs, they need to improve their ability to win in overtime.

Wild strives to get the extra point

Extra points have become a sore subject in local sports, mostly as they pertain to the NFL. The Vikings have missed a league-high five extra…
The Gophers’ Amir Coffey shot over Arkansas’ Daryl Macon during a 95-79 loss Saturday night in Fayetteville.

Gophers, among others, are finding out past success doesn't ensure future fortune

If Richard Pitino was concerned the Gophers' presence in the Top 25 was creating an illusion among the team has it all figured out, he shouldn't have to worry when the new poll comes out Monday.
Shabazz Muhammad is suffering through a miserable season and has not played in four of the past five games.

Wolves need rest, help

In Wednesday's 113-107 win over the Clippers, every Timberwolves starter played at least 36 minutes — keeping all five in the top 40 in the…
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was suspended one game for a late hit against Buffalo last Sunday. He lost his appeal.

NFL fans divided on how much violence they want to see in the game

In a tweet about as subtle as Rob Gronkowski's late hit Sunday, longtime broadcaster Brent Musburger at least got us directly to the heart of…
Wolves guard Jimmy Butler plays defense, passes the ball and strives to win — he’s be quite a teammate in a pickup game.

Jimmy Butler would be the ideal teammate in pickup basketball

If I was choosing a pickup basketball team and could pick any NBA player I wanted, there are a handful of players (at least) that…
Latavius Murray gained 76 yards against Atlanta on Sunday, including 52 after first contact. Caption

Don't overlook Vikings' running game for keys to winning streak

The lowest point in this Vikings season-to-date probably came in Week 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium against Detroit.What was still assumed to be a short-term…
Vikings fans wore there turkey heads with pride at Ford Field Thursday November 23, 2017 in Detroit , MI.

RandBall: Vikings fans tell of terror that it'll all collapse

Three things in particular seem to be concerning fans, even with the Vikings sitting at 10-2
Defenseman Gustav Olofsson is one of the Wild’s young prospects, but it’s uncertain he will become a reliable player.

Wild's talent stream has dried up in recent seasons

An influx of youth and veteran talent came to the Wild during the labor-shortened 2012-13 season. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed identical 13-year deals…
The Vikings have had excellent backup quarterback performances over the years, including, clockwise from top left: Bob Lee in 1970, Sean Salisbury in

Vikings have had good backup QB plans over the years

As an organization, the Vikings are known for fearsome defenses and losing four Super Bowls.A sneaky thing that is also part of their organizational lore:…
If past is prologue, Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and the rest of the Wolves could be playoff contenders.

Playoff history favors Wolves

So here's an interesting look at how the first 20 games of an NBA season have translated into full-season success in recent years via John…
Put outfielder Eddie Rosario high on the list of Twins worth signing long-term now. And hope 2017 wasn’t the peak.

Which young players should Twins keep on long-term deals? Here's a ranking

There are six players who stand out. All of them are projected to be arbitration-eligible in either 2019 or 2020
Cornerback Terence Newman, shown taking down Carolina tight end Greg Olsen, stills starts despite being 39 years old.

Vikings cornerback Terence Newman warns against complacency

The Vikings are 8-2 heading into their important Thanksgiving game at Detroit, and veteran defensive back Terence Newman isn't complaining. It's better than being 2-8.…
Pistons center Andre Drummond got inside of Jimmy Butler for a dunk Sunday night. Drummond scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds one night before a

Wolves have been good but not great so far

There might not be a perfect word to describe the first 17 games of this important Timberwolves season, but judging by the reactions of players,…
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