C.J. Ham, the Vikings fullback out of Duluth Denfeld and Augustana, was praised by starting running back Dalvin Cook for his all-around game. The 24-year-old Ham has only one carry, but it was for a 1-yard touchdown, and he also caught a pass for 12 yards last week. “Very important,” Cook said. “You have a key guy like C.J. at fullback that can catch the ball, run the ball, and run-block, pass-block, can do it all. He’s a key piece to the offense and a hidden piece to the offense. A lot of the things he does fly under the radar.”


• Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards said Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is No. 8 in the NFL with a 100.1 passer rating, continues to improve. “You can just see how comfortable he is in the offense,” Edwards said of the league’s highest-paid player. “The other thing he’s done is moving around in the pocket a lot. He’s scrambling to run and scrambling to throw.”


• Twins rookie reliever Trevor Hildenberger, who has played a big role in his team’s playoff-bound season, recalled what it was like to be selected by the Twins in the 22nd round out of the University of California in 2014: “I was actually at a birthday party for my mom, barbecuing, and I was on the grill when the scout called me and told me I was selected. It was an exciting day for me and my family and a great opportunity that the Twins provided for me to come play professional baseball.”


• Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, spoke this past week about how things are going with the Andrew Wiggins deal: “I think it just has to do with that Andrew has gone away from his agent and is now sort of representing himself with advice from others. I think he just wants to be cautious and be sure he is doing the right thing. He has all the information and I’m confident that just give him some time, and we’re not pushing him, that we’ll get this worked out.”