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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
Doubts persist on whether Sam Bradford can take Vikings to Super Bowl

Doubts persist on whether Sam Bradford can take Vikings to Super Bowl

If you're a Vikings fan with the stomach to watch this weekend's NFL playoff games, you will probably see two pretty entertaining games.You will most…
Since Paul Molitor mentioned it, here are some free agent suggestions

Since Paul Molitor mentioned it, here are some free agent suggestions

If you don't think the Twins have done anything so far in free agency … well, that's not true.They did sign catcher Jason Castro, which…
Great regular season carries little weight during playoffs

Great regular season carries little weight during playoffs

We're more than halfway into a Wild season, and there have been no swoons, dips or slumps. Sure, there have been times when Minnesota hasn't…
Twins banking on Hector Santiago

Twins banking on Hector Santiago

In a relatively quiet transaction heading into this past weekend, the Twins made a pretty significant pitching decision.Hector Santiago, acquired from the Angels in a…
Let's see two! United at TCF adds to Twin Cities sports binge options

Let's see two! United at TCF adds to Twin Cities sports binge options

When Minnesota United's first Major League Soccer schedule was announced, the natural inclination was to inspect it thoroughly for not only the best chances to get to a home match or two but also dates in which United matches coincide with other local sporting events — creating the opportunity for a grand day of Minnesota sports.
Any way all four NFC playoff teams can lose this weekend?

Any way all four NFC playoff teams can lose this weekend?

So it has come to this: not only did the Vikings tumble from 5-0 and on top of the world to 8-8 and not even…
It's hard to tell Brewster and Fleck quotes apart

It's hard to tell Brewster and Fleck quotes apart

First, as always, the disclaimer: The comparisons between current Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck and former Gophers coach Tim Brewster start and stop with their…
The thing about U coaches: They don't actually leave, despite all the rumors

The thing about U coaches: They don't actually leave, despite all the rumors

One of the greatest items from the satire masters at the Onion came via a headline boldly announcing, "Elvis Dead." Below it, in slightly smaller…
Former St. Thomas Academy player Schmidt loves being USC holder

Former St. Thomas Academy player Schmidt loves being USC holder

A week ago, the Inver Grove Heights native and multisport standout trotted out on the field for one of the biggest moments of his life.
Coyle, Kaler picked fiery salesman to help change Gophers culture

Coyle, Kaler picked fiery salesman to help change Gophers culture

The University of Minnesota has entrusted 36-year-old P.J. Fleck with bringing a "culture of excellence" to the on-field and off-field performances of the school's most-visible team.
Ski-U-Mah, Fleck mantra have something in common

Ski-U-Mah, Fleck mantra have something in common

Fleck is hoping to shout Row the Boat and Ski-U-Mah at new job.
Next football coach will be getting best Gophers job since 1942

Next football coach will be getting best Gophers job since 1942

There's no clear-cut answer as to who will be the starting quarterback for the Gophers football team next season. Recruiting is a giant question mark…
The press box is a strange place to watch a game

The press box is a strange place to watch a game

The inevitable questions that come from working in the Star Tribune sports department are these two: 1) Do you know Sid Hartman? 2) Does being…
Ride the Vikings roller coaster season one more time

Ride the Vikings roller coaster season one more time

The Vikings finished their season Sunday with an 8-8 record, suggesting there were an equal number of good and bad things that happened. Raise your…
Rand: Predicting the unpredictable: 2017 in sports

Rand: Predicting the unpredictable: 2017 in sports

Guesses about the year ahead are the best we can do.
What you need to know about the Gophers football controversy

What you need to know about the Gophers football controversy

The case goes back to an incident that took place the night of Sept. 1.
Parallel universes: an update

Parallel universes: an update

In the span of a couple of weeks during a whirlwind spring, the Timberwolves and Wild pulled off what looked to be coaching coups. Both…
Joel Maturi Sports Pavilion? Naming process draws fire

Joel Maturi Sports Pavilion? Naming process draws fire

Tucked away as part of the final business at last Thursday's U Board of Regents meeting, a significant change was voted on and approved:The Sports…
Tuesday's talker: Are the Timberwolves following the Twins' path of disappointment?

Tuesday's talker: Are the Timberwolves following the Twins' path of disappointment?

The 2016 Twins started the year with so much promise. Front-office types and fans, encouraged by an 83-79 finish in 2015 that included a realistic…
Local soccer fans a-Buzz over new stadium

Local soccer fans a-Buzz over new stadium

The vision of Buzz Lagos, the co-founder of the Minnesota Thunder and the longtime head coach of the now-defunct amateur-turned-professional club, was instrumental in bringing Major League Soccer to the Twin Cities and soccer getting its own stadium.
Vikings find one more way to win

Vikings find one more way to win

Wait, the Vikings still won that game Sunday? ¶ Yes, yes they did. ¶ At times they seemed to do everything in their power to…
Ticketing may exacerbate Wolves' turnout troubles

Ticketing may exacerbate Wolves' turnout troubles

The Timberwolves will carry one of the NBA's worst records and the NBA's lowest average attendance into their next home game Friday against Detroit. Those…
Vikings have been overfull of surprises in odd season

Vikings have been overfull of surprises in odd season

If you feel like three seasons worth of drama already have been crammed into 12 Vikings games so far in 2016, you're not alone. It's…
A Minnesota meet-up: Mauer, Whalen finally cross paths

A Minnesota meet-up: Mauer, Whalen finally cross paths

Until Tuesday, despite all their similarities and accomplishments in Minnesota, Joe Mauer and Lindsay Whalen had never met.
Thin margins, once a friend to Vikings, now getting thinner

Thin margins, once a friend to Vikings, now getting thinner

When you scrape away all the injuries and other problems the 2016 Vikings have encountered, you still find a team that — despite going 1-6…
More of the same from Gophers football, Vikings, Wolves and Wild

More of the same from Gophers football, Vikings, Wolves and Wild

The Vikings, Wild, Wolves and Gophers football teams change each year, so why do things not seem to change?
Draft-day decisionmaking hasn't benefitted Vikings O-line

Draft-day decisionmaking hasn't benefitted Vikings O-line

There is a definite gap in commitment to choosing linemen in the top of the draft between some teams and the Vikings.
RandBall: Comparing Vikings' Blair Walsh, former Twin Ron Davis

RandBall: Comparing Vikings' Blair Walsh, former Twin Ron Davis

If you are a Twins fan of a certain age, you never will forgive Ron Davis. You still have nightmares about his glasses. You will…
Five steps to a better 2017 for Twins

Five steps to a better 2017 for Twins

Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have an uphill climb when it comes to remaking the Twins after five 90-loss seasons in a six-year span —…
Fans seem disinterested in Gophers' showdown with Nebraska despite winning streak

Fans seem disinterested in Gophers' showdown with Nebraska despite winning streak

This tends to be a pro sports market. Gophers football hasn't exactly lit the world on fire for the past half-century. Minnesota's current four-game winning…
Relying on numbers doesn't always add up

Relying on numbers doesn't always add up

The site FiveThirtyEight.com is in the numbers game, building a business out of the types of predictive analytics that have become so seductive in recent…
Is leadership art or science?

Is leadership art or science?

Twins President Dave St. Peter talked Monday about the organization striving to achieve "the balance between the art and science of baseball" with the new…
RandBall: Sunday's game among most 'Vikings-esque' in recent memory

RandBall: Sunday's game among most 'Vikings-esque' in recent memory

Watching Vikings games for more years than I care to admit (not because I’m ashamed but because it makes me feel old) puts me in…
Who can Theo Epstein help end a drought next?

Who can Theo Epstein help end a drought next?

Theo Epstein is 42 years old and he's already built World Series champions for arguably the two longest-suffering (or at least loudest-suffering) fan bases in…
Norv Turner not totally to blame, but ugly numbers don't lie

Norv Turner not totally to blame, but ugly numbers don't lie

Norv Turner is out as Vikings offensive coordinator after 2½ years on the job. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer described it Wednesday as a true…
Recent Super Bowl champs show it's not yet time for Vikings to break out the white flags

Recent Super Bowl champs show it's not yet time for Vikings to break out the white flags

About the only good thing to happen in Chicago on Monday night, if you're a Vikings fan, was that legendary Vikings receiver Randy Moss dressed…
Getting an early read on the 0-2 Timberwolves

Getting an early read on the 0-2 Timberwolves

It's far too early to draw any hard conclusions about this year's Timberwolves, particularly in relation to disappointing Wolves teams in the past. That said,…
Wolves, Wild fans ... relax (Gophers fans ... give team some credit)

Wolves, Wild fans ... relax (Gophers fans ... give team some credit)

You can tell how much fans care about the Timberwolves this season by how much they're losing their minds over two road defeats to start the year.
Sunday night's Cardinals-Seahawks tie offers points to ponder

Sunday night's Cardinals-Seahawks tie offers points to ponder

NFL TV ratings are down this season, which was probably a good thing for the league Sunday night. It meant fewer people saw the Cardinals…
Bad-call curse afflicts Lynx

Bad-call curse afflicts Lynx

It's a tradition that goes back more than a half-century, and probably even longer: Minnesota teams being on the wrong end of questionable (or flat-out…
Among Carson Wentz's fans, loyalty lines are turning blurry

Among Carson Wentz's fans, loyalty lines are turning blurry

Brent Tehven is a former North Dakota State football player, part owner of an NDSU-themed bar in Fargo, an acquaintance of Bison-turned-Eagles QB Carson Wentz…
Thomas Vanek looking like a better fit with Red Wings ... so far

Thomas Vanek looking like a better fit with Red Wings ... so far

It's early, and it's not like the Wild (12 goals in three games, two of them victories) has been missing Thomas Vanek.But it's also worth…
Rare pair of Nikes a big kick

Rare pair of Nikes a big kick

Aaron Borland is a bit of a shoe collector, with more than 40 pairs to his name. And he's also had his share of luck…
Record D-III football crowd sought when St. John's, St. Thomas meet at Target Field

Record D-III football crowd sought when St. John's, St. Thomas meet at Target Field

News emerged Friday that St. Thomas and St. John's will play their 2017 regular-season football game at Target Field, and more details emerged Monday during…
RandBall: Like local climate, local sports teams run extremely hot or cold

RandBall: Like local climate, local sports teams run extremely hot or cold

We're in a time of extremes in Twin Cities sports, and we could be for quite a while. Here's a team-by-team look.

Target Field to host MIAC rivals

One of the best rivalries in local college football is moving to a baseball field in 2017.Multiple sources confirmed MIAC rivals St. John's and St.…
A Chicago weekend calls

A Chicago weekend calls

Gophers-Illini, World Series and Vikings-Bears are the lures.
If Cubs can break their curse, then there's hope for Vikings

If Cubs can break their curse, then there's hope for Vikings

As a society, we are very busy these days. We bounce from thing to thing — sometimes from four things to five other things. I…
Minnesota teams love to recycle No. 1 overall picks

Minnesota teams love to recycle No. 1 overall picks

It must be rough: lose a player to a major injury … and then go out and get a player who was once highly regarded…
Asking new coaches to work magic with old rosters not always successful

Asking new coaches to work magic with old rosters not always successful

Coaching changes typically don't happen because everything is going great. Sure, there are rare occasions when a coach leaves a team on a winning note…
RandBall: October's madness is more than a match for March

RandBall: October's madness is more than a match for March

In October, we had or will have games by the Twins, Gophers football, Gophers men's and women's hockey, Gophers volleyball, Vikings, Lynx, Timberwolves and Wild … and more.
Carmelo Anthony is Puerto Rico's soccer savior

Carmelo Anthony is Puerto Rico's soccer savior

Carmelo Anthony's purchase of an expansion franchise in the North American Soccer League was announced in 2015, and Puerto Rico FC began play in this year's fall season.
Can't ignore that these Vikings rival the 1998, 2009 squads

Can't ignore that these Vikings rival the 1998, 2009 squads

It's too early to make Super Bowl plans. Even the mere mention of it scares Vikings fans. Deadspin's Drew Magary chided me for even saying…
Vikings flying under the national radar despite 4-0 start

Vikings flying under the national radar despite 4-0 start

The big national story to emerge from the Vikings' 24-10 victory over the Giants on Monday wasn't the fact that Minnesota is now 4-0 (one…
Page 2: Dozier's power could have high trade value

Page 2: Dozier's power could have high trade value

Derek Falvey was officially named the Twins' new chief baseball officer on Monday. He is all of 33 years old — and he has at…
Technology and Tiger different, but crowds at Hazeltine same as always

Technology and Tiger different, but crowds at Hazeltine same as always

We've known officially for 14 years that Hazeltine National would be host to three magnificent golf tournaments: the PGA Championship in 2002 and 2009 plus…
Michael Phelps drives like he swims but his short game needs work

Michael Phelps drives like he swims but his short game needs work

Phelps on the golf course looks like a regular guy (albeit a tall guy with a clear swimmer's build). He crushed his drive down the middle on the first hole — prompting one fan to remark, "He does everything right" — but Phelps' approach was beyond the green and his putt missed the mark.
It was especially wet at Target Field this year

It was especially wet at Target Field this year

If you've been paying attention at all this summer in Minneapolis, you've noticed two things: an unusual amount of rain and an extraordinary amount of…

Optimism as usual, except that others agree

Thursday marked the fall equinox and Monday is the Timberwolves' media day … which means we're inching toward NBA season … which means it's time…
Approval ratings for local sports entities

Approval ratings for local sports entities

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal presidential poll came out Wednesday, and for some reason I've decided to take one of the most important decisions…
Sam Bradford-Teddy Bridgewater comparison impossible, so let's do it

Sam Bradford-Teddy Bridgewater comparison impossible, so let's do it

The comparisons between Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater are as natural as they are unfortunate.They're natural, of course, since one was supposed to be the…
Makeshift Bradford jersey stands out above the (many) other Vikings QBs

Makeshift Bradford jersey stands out above the (many) other Vikings QBs

So many past quarterbacks. So many jerseys spotted outside U.S. Bank Stadium.
Sunday Q&A with Lynx guard Anna Cruz

Sunday Q&A with Lynx guard Anna Cruz

She returned to the Lynx once the Olympics were over.
U of M debuts new model to care for former NFL players

U of M debuts new model to care for former NFL players

The health of former NFL players has only become a real front-burner issue in recent years, but it’s been on the mind of Dr. Archie…
Ryan Longwell got a kick out of playing for both teams

Ryan Longwell got a kick out of playing for both teams

Ryan Longwell kicked during some of the most interesting years of the Vikings/Packers rivalry — for the Packers from 1997-2005 and the Vikings from 2006-2011,…
RandBall: Disturbing trends continue in September

RandBall: Disturbing trends continue in September

The last few days offered a continuation of some issues that you might have thought were on their way to being solved or resolved.
What's the over-under on these Vikings numbers being right?

What's the over-under on these Vikings numbers being right?

This week's Access Vikings podcast is naturally heavy on the discussion of new quarterback Sam Bradford. Even though Mike Zimmer on Wednesday was coy about…
Dozier blasting 'em like Babe

Dozier blasting 'em like Babe

Brian Dozier has been on a home run tear that is not just impressive but legitimately historic.The damage: 31 home runs in the 70 games…
Laboring through details from the weekend

Laboring through details from the weekend

A few thoughts to tie together a long holiday weekend:
Bradford: the good, the bad

Bradford: the good, the bad

The Vikings didn't waste much time trying to move on from Teddy Bridgewater's devastating knee injury, announcing Saturday — four days after Bridgewater went down…
Not all veterans offended by Kaepernick

Not all veterans offended by Kaepernick

Some Armed Forces personnel support QB's right to free speech.
Thursday's local sports event options seem endless

Thursday's local sports event options seem endless

A look at options for entertainment Thursday night in the Twin Cities.
RandBall: For the Twins, it's not great when you need 48

RandBall: For the Twins, it's not great when you need 48

They're still throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, which in a lost season is not a bad short-term plan. In a mostly lost decade, it's not a good long-term plan.
Rand: Oh yeah, about that Vikings game

Rand: Oh yeah, about that Vikings game

Even as the building played a starring role Sunday, here are a few observations from the day that are mostly about football:
Rotten rotation remains at heart of Twins' troubles

Rotten rotation remains at heart of Twins' troubles

The term "outlier" is so useful that it tends to get overused. At the risk of doing so, let's try it on in a couple…
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