• Mike Sherels, the Gophers linebackers coach who has been battling digestive system problems that nearly killed him, was on the phone in the pressbox to the bench in Saturday’s victory over Colorado State. Sherels said he plans to be working every day.
• Craig Thompson, the commissioner of the Mountain West Conference and a University of Minnesota graduate, was at the Gophers-Colorado State game and had this to say about the Rams’ expectations this season: “They were about middle of the pack in the Mountain West, but they’re making great strides. This freshman quarterback [Collin Hill] is going to really help them, a true freshman. I think they found the answer with him.”
• The Gophers thought this might be their year to beat Wisconsin, which began the season unranked. But after the Badgers’ convincing victory at Michigan State, forget it.
• Sports Illustrated’s Peter King on Sam Bradford’s Vikings debut last weekend against the Packers: “Could you have ever figured the next part [of Bradford’s story]? That Bradford would have his best game as a pro — his only game in his 64 NFL games completing at least 70 percent of his throws, for at least 250 yards, with a rating above 120, and winning — in his first start for his third team?”
• One benefit for the Vikings in Sunday’s game at Carolina is that they aren’t the only team missing their top running back. The Panthers will have to do without Jonathan Stewart, who suffered a hamstring injury in their victory over San Francisco last week. One player the Vikings will have to cover is veteran tight end Greg Olsen, who has 12 receptions for 195 yards on the season, both NFL highs for a tight end.
• This will be the second Vikings-Panthers game in a row in which Carolina doesn’t have to face Adrian Peterson, who missed the 2014 game because he was suspended. The good news for the Vikings is that they won that game 31-13, scoring two touchdowns off blocked punts at TCF Bank Stadium.