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Sid Hartman

Columnist | Sports
Phone: 612-673-4452

Sid Hartman is a sports columnist. He also can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m.

Hartman writes three columns each week.
Recent content from Sid Hartman
Mike Zimmer’s sixth season as Vikings coach included a third postseason appearance and a second playoff victory under his leadership, but it did not

Hartman: Zimmer knows Vikings defense needs big improvement

The Vikings defense ranked only 14th in 2019, and it was gashed by running backs far too often.
Justin Morneau will be the analyst for 80 Twins games on television this season as he takes on a larger public relations role with the team.

Hartman: Morneau to work 80 Twins games on TV as profile keeps rising

Justin Morneau has taken off in broadcasting and public relations roles for the Twins. This year he will work 80 games on TV as Bert Blyleven's role continues to be reduced.
In a December 30 game, Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders disputed a call against the Brooklyn Nets at Target Center.

Hartman: Despite struggles, owner Taylor still believes in Saunders

Wolves owner Glen Taylor said that at no point during this season, including the 5-27 streak before the trade deadline, has he considered firing coach Ryan Saunders
Asked to judge the Twins’ 101-victory, AL Central-winning 2019 season, team owner Jim Pohlad said: “Did we exceed our expectations? I’m not sure

Hartman: Twins owner Pohlad believes team has 'World Series-caliber organization'

Twins owner Jim Pohlad explained how the front-office team of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine approached him with the plan to sign a player like Donaldson to a four-year, $92 million deal, the richest in club history.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Marty Davis, the CEO of Cambria, is a big baseball fan, and the company is set to host the Cambria Classic at U.S.…
Minnesota Timberwolves President Gersson Rosas

Hartman: After flurry of trades, Rosas and Towns must lead Wolves

It's hard to recall a week in Minnesota sports history with such a dramatic burst of trade activity involving two local professional teams.
Vikings chief operating officer Kevin Warren talks to reporters after being named Big Ten Commissioner during a news conference last June.

Hartman: New commissioner Warren great for Big Ten, Coyle says

Kevin Warren, the former chief financial officer of the Vikings, took over as Big Ten commissioner for the retiring Jim Delany last month.
Newly signed Twins slugger Josh Donaldson interacted with fans while waiting to sign autographs during TwinsFest.

Hartman: Twins end Donaldson's long wait for big payday

He has never had a contract of longer than two seasons before now.
Denver's Jerami Grant was defended by Robert Covington of the Timberwolves on Jan. 20.

Hartman: Wolves hurt on the court, and in the stands

After beginning the season with some promise, the Timberwolves have been on a 5-24 slide. Home attendance has dropped to 14,569 per game, the lowest in the league, according to ESPN.
Twins outfielder Max Kepler took questions on stage for a Facebook Live event during TwinsFest on Saturday.

Hartman: Healthier Kepler prepares for another big season for Twins

One of the Twins' best front-office decisions last year was signing Max Kepler to a contract that locked him into the team's plans through 2024.
Twins outfielders, from left, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler, celebrated a May 15 victory over the Angels last season at Target Field, whe

Hartman: One season ago, no one gave the Twins a chance

Last spring, ESPN had 31 experts across their baseball departments pick who they thought would win the AL Central, and only three picked the Twins while the remaining 28 picked the Indians.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Twins President Dave St. Peter gave a health update on several players: “[Byron Buxton] got a full clean bill of health…
Twins third baseman Miguel Sano bobbled a grounder by White Sox pinch hitter Welington Castillo but made the throw to first. Jorge Polanco backed him

Hartman: Twins scout Guerrero landed both Sano, Polanco as teens

Fred Guerrero continues to spot, develop talent in the Dominican Republic and Latin America.
Hartman: Super Bowl stories for Mahomes, Shanahan started in Twin Cities

Hartman: Super Bowl stories for Mahomes, Shanahan started in Twin Cities

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan were born here when their dads were working for the Twins and Gophers.
P.J. Fleck and the Gophers made a New Year’s Day bowl — the Outback, against Auburn — just three years after calamity.

Hartman: Fleck engineered historic Gophers turnaround

When the history of Gophers football is written, you will not be able pass up the fact that only three years ago, this program was in its worst straits ever when P.J. Fleck took over as coach.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS• Brian Gutekunst, the son of former Gophers football coach John Gutekunst, is in his second season as general manager of the Packers,…
Minnesota Twins owner Jim Pohlad.

Hartman: Pohlads spend big to build Twins into a contender

Josh Donaldson's $92 million deal is the latest example debunking the myth that Twins ownership has been frugal.
The Packers Za'darius Smith sacked Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins on Dec. 23.

Hartman: Vikings trail rival Packers in talent, cap space

Tough roster choices are ahead for the Vikings, needed to free up salary and see if developing players are ready. Overall, the Packers appear to have a more competitive roster than the Vikings' from top to bottom.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) sacked Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the fourth quarter .

Hartman: Instead of playoff magic, Vikings simply disappear in defeat

This loss doesn't take away from a very good season, but the front office will have a lot of question marks as it prepares for what's ahead, including some tough salary calls.
The Vikings' Everson Griffen (97) and Anthony Barr (55) celebrated at the end of the game after defeating the LA Chargers.

Hartman: Three big signings saved Vikings' year

Some savvy salary cap moves kept Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Barr and Everson Griffen as part of a playoff team.
Hartman: Did we just see the best week ever for Gophers and Vikings?

Hartman: Did we just see the best week ever for Gophers and Vikings?

There's an argument to be made that last week was the best stretch of football for the Gophers and the Vikings since the NFL came to Minnesota.
Drew Brees turns 41 on Jan. 15, but the longtime Saints quarterback continues to be among the best in the game.

Hartman: Vikings pass defense faces tough test in Saints

The Vikings ranked 15th this season in pass defense, giving up 233.6 yards per game, after ranking third in 2018, second in 2017 and third in 2016.
Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs celebrated after his 61-yard touchdown beat the Saints two years ago.

Hartman: Vikings, Saints develop one of NFL's best playoff rivalries

The two teams have split their past two postseason games, both in dramatic fashion.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky fumbled the ball before being sacked by Vikings defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes in the fourth quarter.

Hartman: Vikings reserves outplayed Bears starters

Mike Zimmer came away from Sunday's loss pleased with some young players and the Vikings' running game.
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen couldn’t come up with a catch on a long pass from Kirk Cousins against Green Bay on Monday.

Hartman: Vikings' Thielen says he feels great, is ready for playoffs

The standout receiver is back but hasn't been much of a factor since returning from a hamstring injury.
Vikings safety Anthony Harris has had his best season, with career highs in tackles (60), interceptions (six) and pass deflections (11). He will be an

Hartman: Vikings free agent Harris focused on playoffs, not contract

The fifth-year safety, in the midst of his best season, will become an unrestricted free agent.
The Vikings need running back Dalvin Cook to be healthy next week when the postseason begins, otherwise their playoff stay might be a short one.

Hartman: A holiday wish list to cheer Minnesota's teams

The Vikings need good health, and the Twins need better pitching. There's a gift just right for everybody, including a top state basketball recruit for Richard Pitino.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins met with Packers counterpart Aaron Rodgers after Green Bay’s 21-16 victory on Sept. 15.

Hartman: Since joining Vikings, Cousins has outplayed Rodgers

The Vikings' decision to give Kirk Cousins big money was in direct response to the success the Packers have had with Aaron Rodgers. So far, the numbers show Cousins is holding up his end of the bargain.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • There was great news for Rick Spielman and the Vikings front office when the NFL announced the 2020 salary cap should go…
Vikings players Everson Griffen and Anthony Barr celebrated at the end of Sunday's victory over the Chargers in Carson, Calif.

Hartman: Vikings, Griffen face contract/salary cap dilemma

The standout defensive end could void his current contract and become an unrestricted free agent.
Vikings linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr posed last season.

Hartman: Former UCLA teammates leading Vikings defense

It was fitting that two of the best performances in the Chargers game in Los Angeles came from linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks
Kyle Rudolph has only 35 catches this season after making 64 in 2018, but his six TDs have surpassed his 2018 total of four.

Hartman: Rudolph making history in Vikings' playoff push

The Vikings tight end isn't getting a lot of catches, but he has made enough to move into the top five in franchise history.
Vikings defensive back Anthony Harris said the secondary needs to build off its performance against Detroit, when they allowed only 161 passing yards,

Hartman: Vikings' pass defense is looking for answers

The unit is allowing 236.6 yards per game through the air, and it faces Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers on Sunday.
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter celebrated after he sacked Lions quarterback David Blough.

Hartman: Vikings struck gold in drafting Hunter

Defensive end Danielle Hunter was a third-round pick in 2015 and has steadily been piling up sacks ever since.
Vikings' Everson Griffen sacked Lions quarterback David Blough in the fourth quarter

Hartman: Vikings defense looking more like what Zimmer expects

A late Lions score in the fourth quarter was the only blemish for the Vikings' defense, which had struggled recently.
Kirk Cousins’ passer rating of 111.9 is second-best in the NFL and tops Daunte Culpepper’s Vikings record of 110.9 in 2004.

Hartman: Cousins' season could be a historic one for the Vikings quarterback

Kirk Cousins' 111.9 rating ranks second in the NFL behind Ryan Tannehill, who has played just eight games. But that mark would be the highest in Vikings history, a record set in 2004 by Daunte Culpepper.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Jerry Reichow will be the Vikings’ honorary captain for their game with the Lions on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Reichow played…
Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter on Monday.

Hartman: Treadwell's second chance with Vikings is paying off

Laquon Treadwell, a former first-round draft pick who was cut by the Vikings then later returned, had the longest reception of his NFL career against Seattle.
Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo celebrated during a preseason game vs. Seattle

Hartman: Defensive end Odenigbo prepares to step in for Vikings

Ifeadi Odenigbo could play a more pivotal role as other linemen age or have contract issues.
Gophers running back Shannon Brooks ran with the ball before being stopped by the Wisconsin defense during the third quarter.

Hartman: Wisconsin reclaims Axe from Gophers by stuffing the run

The Badgers, who went into the game giving up only 98.5 yards rushing per game, limited the Gophers to 76 yards.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on what makes Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson so hard to cover: “First of all, he’s really accurate.…
Gophers players celebrated with the Paul Bunyan Axe after beating Wisconsin 37-15 last season in Madison.

Hartman: This Gophers-Badgers battle might be the best yet

Saturday's meeting will be only the third time in 129 games both teams are ranked in the Top 15.
When coach P.J. Fleck led the Gophers onto the field Saturday, he and his team were charging toward new heights.

Hartman: Gophers' expected win at Northwestern is the new normal

The Gophers didn't do everything perfectly Saturday, but that shows just how great this club is, and how far it has exceeded expectations: 16-point road win in the Big Ten is considered normal.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • It may be that the Vikings’ only chance to win the NFC North is if they win every game the rest of the…
Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson (6) ran with the ball after making a catch against Iowa. The Gophers face a different sort of challenge this Satur

Hartman: Fleck teaching his Gophers about winning as a front-runner

Winning as the favorite at Northwestern on Saturday is the next challenge as coach P.J. Fleck teaches his team about "championship football."
Gophers defensive back Benjamin St-Juste defended against a pass attempt to Illinois wide receiver Ricky Smalling last month.

Hartman: Grad transfer St.-Juste took unique path to U starting job

Defensive back Benjamin St.-Juste graduated high school at 16 and had already graduated from Michigan before transferring to the Gophers in the offseason.
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) sacked Broncos quarterback Brandon Allen in the third quarter Sunday.

Hartman: Vikings fortunate in rallying to beat Denver

Coach Mike Zimmer said that while he's pleased with the record, he thinks his team has a long way to go before it starts thinking about postseason success.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck was escorted off the Kinnick Stadium field following Saturday’s disappointing loss at Iowa.

Hartman: Gophers beat themselves in first loss of the season

Then they almost completely dominated in the second half, but they just had too many uncharacteristic plays.

Hartman: Vikings safety Harris ranks among NFL's best

Undrafted out of college in 2015, Anthony Harris has been one of the Vikings' biggest surprises.
Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson (6) celebrated his first touchdown against Georgia Southern.

Hartman: Gophers toughened by close victories early in season

Nonconference victories made the Gophers confident in the big-play ability they displayed vs. Penn State.
Tanner Morgan’s latest impressive performance at quarterback for the Gophers included getting the pass off over the pressure of Penn State defensive

Hartman: Gophers put together a historic performance vs. Penn State

Sid Hartman writes: "I have covered Gophers football for 75 years, and I have never seen a display like I saw after P.J. Fleck's 17th-ranked squad defeated No. 4 Penn State."

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Despite a tough loss at Kansas City last week, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has posted a 127.1 passer rating over his past…
Nov. 25, 1962: The Minneapolis Sunday Tribune Sports “Peach” was packed with college football coverage and photography — including the above s

Hartman: The Proof Is In The Paper

Gophers star Bobby Bell should never have been called for a late hit against Wisconsin in 1962.
Gophers linebacker Carter Coughlin sacked Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna during a game earlier this season.

Hartman: U's senior defensive players will play vital role vs. Penn State

The veteran Gophers' defense has weathered tough times with Minnesota, and now is contributing to the team's 8-0 start.
In October 2005, both Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, right, and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer pointed out to defensive back Anthony Henry that he sh

Hartman: NFL coaching great Parcells says upcoming schedule will test Vikings

Bill Parcells hasn't coached since 2006, but he has kept in close touch with Mike Zimmer. "They have some tough road games. I think that will be a key time for the Vikings," Parcells said.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Who would have thought the Gophers football team would begin November ranked ahead of Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa?   • Gophers coach
Vikings wide receiver and seventh-round draft pick Bisi Johnson has 15 receptions for 161 yards this season, including this touchdown catch against th

Hartman: Vikings rookie receiver Johnson has been a quick learner

It's an impressive rookie season, considering rookie Bisi Johnson was drafted in the seventh round, only eight picks from the final selection of the 2019 draft.
Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski spoke with quarterback Kirk Cousins during Week 3 of the preseason vs. the Arizona Cardinals

Hartman: Stefanski has found Vikings' offensive blueprint

The Vikings' productive run-pass mix stems from Kevin Stefanski working well with both Kubiaks.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he is pleased with the team’s 6-2 start, but the second-half schedule gets tougher.

Hartman: Zimmer calls 6-2 'good,' sees big challenge ahead for Vikings

This is easily the most balanced Vikings team that Mike Zimmer has coached.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • The Gophers’ 2020 schedule includes difficult games against Michigan and Michigan State, but they don’t have to face Ohio State or Penn State.…
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck hugged University of Minnesota president Joan Gabel following a 40-17 defeat of Illinois on Oct. 5.

Hartman: Fleck has delivered on his promise at Minnesota

P.J. Fleck has guided the Gophers to success they haven't achieved in years, but the focus remains on each individual game.
January 18, 1988: As Redskins celebrated, Darrin Nelson lay dejected after missing a pass from Wade Wilson in the final minute of the game.

Hartman: Loss to Redskins in '87 NFC title game denied Vikings fifth Super Bowl berth

A possible fifth Super Bowl berth vanished after a dropped pass in the NFC title game.
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter celebrated after a sack of Matthew Stafford at TCF Bank Stadium last year. The Vikings have won their past three

Hartman: Vikings have a tradition of success against Lions

The two clubs have faced off 115 times since 1961 and the Vikings have won .652 percent of the time with a 74-39-2 record.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, on why the offense has performed so well the past two weeks: “I think we are executing better.…
Vikings offensive guard Dakota Dozier spiked the ball in the end zone after a preseason touchdown in August.

Hartman: Dakota Dozier finds Vikings to his liking

The backup guard has started three games with his new team after signing as a free agent.
Vikings receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs after a touchdown in the third quarter against the New York Giants on Oct. 2

Hartman: Diggs, Thielen starting to look like their old selves

The Vikings' star receivers are more comfortable in a new offensive scheme, and it is starting to show.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer

Hartman: Vikings showcase offensive balance in thumping Eagles

When the Vikings revamped their offensive coaching staff in the offseason, they had to envision the kind of game they played Sunday in beating Philadelphia.
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter sacked Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in the third quarter Sunday.

Hartman: Hunter went from raw at LSU to a star with Vikings

Defensive end Danielle Hunter, a fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft, said working under different coaches and being around NFL veterans made a big difference in changing his game.
Kirk Cousins in action during the second half against Philadelphia on Oct. 7, 2018

Hartman: Cousins has enjoyed past success against Eagles

Kirk Cousins has averaged more than 300 yards passing in going 5-3 in his career against Philadelphia.
Max Kepler was among the many Twins players dealing with nagging injuries toward the end of the season.

Hartman: Injuries gave Twins no chance against dominant Yankees

After a disappointing end to a historic season, the Twins believe they are in good shape for 2020.
Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco, left, and third baseman Miguel Sano, center, talking with new teammate Marwin Gonzalez at spring training earlier this

Hartman: Young Twins stars emerged to put together a historic season

Even if the Twins lose this series in three games, the fact is that they are in prime position to contend for years.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Kirk Cousins being sacked six times in the Bears game means that he has taken eight sacks on the season, but it…
Nelson Cruz followed through on his 40th home run of the season, and his 400th career homer, a 412 foot solo shot to right field on September 22.

Hartman: Cruz beings playoff savvy to battle against Yankees

Nelson Cruz's postseason success — and production vs. the Yankees — makes him a key figure in the ALDS.
Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco

Hartman: Twins need Polanco at his best to top the Yankees

2019 was a breakout year for Jorge Polanco, especially after last season when he was suspended 81 games for using a performance-enhancing drug.
Give former general managers Bill Smith and Terry Ryan some credit for this becoming a Twins season worth celebrating. 3B Miguel Sano, at left, carryi

Hartman: Ex-GMs Ryan, Smith had a hand in building Twins success

The Twins' first trip to the playoffs in a decade shows how long it can take to build a winner, and also how old managers and front office executives often take the fall for underperforming teams while building foundations.