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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
Buzz about Vikings a positive for Twins as well

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 could end up worse off than 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…
This Vikings win tops them all — at least for now

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 reflects on judging Black History Month essay contest

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,…
Five Minnesota teams making the playoffs this year still a possibility

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

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.
The Eagles aren't dead yet

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

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…
Vikings have a chance to exorcise two playoff demons

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 —…
Dream takes flight for Gophers gymnast/drone pilot

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.
Vikings' 2018 opponents pose many challenges, especially on road

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…
Which type of Vikings fan are you?

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…
Things are falling into place for Vikings, Wolves

Things are falling into place for Vikings, Wolves

Three thoughts from the long sports weekend:
Ten Minnesota sports story lines to watch in 2018

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

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

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

Yeah, it's late for Christmas, but it's the thought that counts.
Fleck delivers with new recruiting class

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

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…
Wolves should follow Jimmy Butler's lead in shot selection

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…
These are crazy ways to decide an NFL game

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

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.
Talker: Disney buys key Fox assets

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

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…
Wild strives to get the extra point

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

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.
Wolves need rest, help

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

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…
Jimmy Butler would be the ideal teammate in pickup basketball

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

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

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
Wild's talent stream has dried up in recent seasons

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…
Vikings have had good backup QB plans over the years

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:…
Playoff history favors Wolves

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

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
Vikings cornerback Terence Newman warns against complacency

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.…
Wolves have been good but not great so far

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,…
Case Keenum latest in long line unexpected veteran quarterbacks to lead Vikings

Case Keenum latest in long line unexpected veteran quarterbacks to lead Vikings

If the first 20 years of Vikings history were defined by success but near-misses in the Super Bowl, the past 30 years have been defined…
Weekend rewing: Coaching matters

Weekend rewing: Coaching matters

Three thoughts from the weekend in sports:• Watching the Vikings methodically close out a very good team Sunday to improve their record to 8-2, then having…
Health and good fortune benefits Timberwolves

Health and good fortune benefits Timberwolves

The Timberwolves felt, albeit briefly, the impact of being without one of their best players earlier this season when Jimmy Butler missed back-to-back games due…
After a rough start, Devan Dubnyk is holding happily at zero

After a rough start, Devan Dubnyk is holding happily at zero

It's interesting how streaks get started.For much of the early part of this NHL season, Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk didn't look comfortable. He wasn't exactly…
Five story lines about the Vikings that don't involve quarterbacks

Five story lines about the Vikings that don't involve quarterbacks

Everyone is consumed by the Vikings' quarterback situation, and rightfully so. It's fascinating, and this week's decision — Case Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater? — will…
For Jason Zucker, a milestone has come into view

For Jason Zucker, a milestone has come into view

In its past three games, the Wild has scored six goals — and all of them were scored by wing Jason Zucker. That gives Zucker…
Daunte Culpepper and Teddy Bridgewater rehabbed their knee injuries in much different manners

Daunte Culpepper and Teddy Bridgewater rehabbed their knee injuries in much different manners

Before Teddy Bridgewater, the last time the Vikings lost a long-term QB to a devastating knee injury after they had drafted him in the first…
Sustained success much more important than winning now for Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck

Sustained success much more important than winning now for Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck, with his "Row The Boat" mantra, relentless energy and 4-5 record in his debut season, has made himself a pretty easy…
Harrison Smith is Vikings' midseason MVP

Harrison Smith is Vikings' midseason MVP

The Vikings are 6-2 and coming off a bye week that arrived at the exact midpoint of their season. If ever there was an opportunity…
Wolves' Jamal Crawford tops at long-range shots at the end of quarters

Wolves' Jamal Crawford tops at long-range shots at the end of quarters

When Jamal Crawford banked in a desperation three-pointer from 38 feet away for the Wolves at the end of the first quarter of their game…
Vikings' schedule is a matter of debate

Vikings' schedule is a matter of debate

The narrative at the start of this Vikings season was that their schedule during the first half would be considerably easier than it would be…
Metrics make Case Keenum's case

Metrics make Case Keenum's case

If we look at objective measures designed to get to the heart of what a quarterback is contributing to a team, Case Keenum is playing…
Wolves are pretty much the same as last year except for the final four minutes

Wolves are pretty much the same as last year except for the final four minutes

If you've watched all or even some of the Timberwolves' first seven games this season, including Monday's 125-122 overtime victory at Miami, you might be…
Is this World Series as good as Twins-Braves in 1991?

Is this World Series as good as Twins-Braves in 1991?

Here's a question that's likely to elicit a highly emotional response from a lot of folks around here: Is this crazy World Series between the…
Three local pro teams make it a streak over weekend

Three local pro teams make it a streak over weekend

The Wolves, Wild and Vikings faced interesting games in rapid-fire succession this past weekend, and all got the best possible answers and outcomes for which they could have hoped.
Vikings are among Super Bowl contenders

Vikings are among Super Bowl contenders

As of Friday, we are 100 days away from Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis. As we near the midpoint of the regular season, making it…
Wild and Wolves got what they deserved

Wild and Wolves got what they deserved

On Tuesday, the Wild and Timberwolves received dramatically different types of information about key players missing games. They also responded in dramatically different ways during…
Zach Parise's loss hurts Wild but not as much as it would in his heyday

Zach Parise's loss hurts Wild but not as much as it would in his heyday

The Wild announced that forward Zach Parise underwent successful microdiscectomy surgery Tuesday, a procedure that is expected to keep him out for the next eight…
This 5-2 Vikings team feels different from last year's squad

This 5-2 Vikings team feels different from last year's squad

It's late October, with the Vikings in sole possession of first place in the NFC North while carrying a 5-2 record. We haven't been able…
Wild need depth for next stretch, 21 games in 42 days

Wild need depth for next stretch, 21 games in 42 days

The Wild's maddeningly dumb early season schedule — during which Minnesota will play exactly twice during a 12-day span that ends Thursday — has a…
Anthony Barr's hit pours gasoline on Vikings-Packers fire

Anthony Barr's hit pours gasoline on Vikings-Packers fire

Some of us like to think of sports rivalries as always-on, volume-cranked-to-11 affairs.That's true to an extent, but it's also true that if you really…
New and improved says it all about remodeled Target Center

New and improved says it all about remodeled Target Center

The new ticket lobby at Target Center, home of the Timberwolves and Lynx, is one of the centerpieces of the renovated building.More than that, it's…
Weekend chatter starts with quarterbacks

Weekend chatter starts with quarterbacks

Four thoughts from a fascinating weekend in sports:• Usually it's far too dramatic to declare that one play changed the balance of power in the NFC…
Relax, Packer Backers

Relax, Packer Backers

It's Vikings/Packers week, which means it's time for two fan bases that exist on stubbornly parallel planes to suddenly veer into each other and collide…
U.S. soccer team's collapse a lot like the 2003 Vikings

U.S. soccer team's collapse a lot like the 2003 Vikings

For every terrible thing that happens on a national sports level, I bet you I can find a local sports comparison. And there's a good…
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer needed to clarify quarterback situation — and he did by playing Bradford

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer needed to clarify quarterback situation — and he did by playing Bradford

Sam Bradford is a quarterback with an injury history who stayed healthy for the Vikings last season but missed three games early this season after…
Twins need pitching, but it comes at a price

Twins need pitching, but it comes at a price

Their offseason shopping list is easy: pitching, pitching, pitching. But that makes their offseason shopping list hard because they want and need the same thing as pretty much every other team.
Cam Newton's answer raises questions we should ask ourselves

Cam Newton's answer raises questions we should ask ourselves

On Wednesday, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was asked by Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue about wide receiver Devin Funchess embracing the physicality of the routes…
Watching Twins-Yankees looks like a rerun

Watching Twins-Yankees looks like a rerun

A group of us gathered Tuesday for the Twins/Yankees game at Liquor Lyle's, a Minneapolis bar that has won my heart over the years for…
Joe Mauer, Zach Parise have walked parallel paths of high fan expectation

Joe Mauer, Zach Parise have walked parallel paths of high fan expectation

Joe Mauer and Zach Parise have enough personal and professional similarities that sometimes it seems as if they are living the same life.Both are Minnesota…
It's a busy week for local teams

It's a busy week for local teams

October in Minnesota is an incredible convergence of the last gasps of summer weather, the definitive transition to fall with leaves changing colors before tumbling…
RandBall: Buckle up for another roller-coaster Vikings season

RandBall: Buckle up for another roller-coaster Vikings season

The Vikings had a truly exceptional year in 1998, going 15-1 and setting an NFL record (at the time) for points in a season with…
Twins expect sellouts for ALDS home games — if they advance there

Twins expect sellouts for ALDS home games — if they advance there

The last time the Twins made the postseason in 2010, they were in their first season at Target Field. Their home attendance for the season…
How about this rotation for Twins in playoff?

How about this rotation for Twins in playoff?

If I had it my way, this is how the Twins would stack up their postseason starting pitchers:• Ervin Santana starts the wild-card game against…
Could Twins be sixth team from Minnesota to stun us?

Could Twins be sixth team from Minnesota to stun us?

The currency of Minnesota sports fandom is the feeling of great optimism that fades — or more likely falls quickly and clumsily — into disappointment.Cataloging…
Let's try another St. John's-St. Thomas game at Target Field

Let's try another St. John's-St. Thomas game at Target Field

An announced crowd of 37,355 watched St. Thomas defeat St. John's 20-17 in a football game Saturday at Target Field that destroyed the previous Division…
Rand: Guess I was wrong again about the Vikings and Twins

Rand: Guess I was wrong again about the Vikings and Twins

What were we thinking when we thought we had it all figured out?
Making sure your fans are safe is just smart baseball

Making sure your fans are safe is just smart baseball

Having only been a dad for 3½ years, I still can neatly divide my memories and lifestyle into two distinct categories: B.C. (before children) and…
Readers deliver some smoking hot takes

Readers deliver some smoking hot takes

I was at home minding my own business, checking work e-mail and watching another torturous Twins-Yankees game, when I received at 9:45 p.m. Tuesday an…
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