• Recommended for Gophers football fans: Make plans for the spring game at noon Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. It is guaranteed to be a real football contest.
• Speaking of the spring game, coach P.J. Fleck talked about his expectations for his redshirt freshmen. “There is a reason we redshirted them. They have gotten bigger, stronger, faster. … But you’re still young. You’re still freshmen. But again, you can start taking big strides in your redshirt year.”
• Former Twins All-Star catcher Tim Laudner is a big booster of current backup catcher Mitch Garver, who hit .291 with 17 home runs in 88 games at Rochester last season.
• The Wall Street Journal ran a story this past week that said venues such as U.S. Bank Stadium, which will play host to the 2019 Final Four, are basically a new breed of stadium and that venues such as San Antonio’s Alamodome most likely will not be able to compete for those kinds of events going forward.
• Two NFL draft analysts, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports and Charles Davis of NFL.com, believe the Vikings will take Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey with their first-round pick, No. 30 overall, later this month.
• The Vikings social media team had a great sideline video of Stefon Diggs “Minneapolis Miracle” catch in the playoffs. That video is now a finalist for a Webby Award, an award for Internet excellence.
• At least 10 former Gophers will be playing in the minor leagues this season. Pitchers Ben Meyer (Marlins), D.J. Snelten (Giants) and Tom Windle (Phillies) are at Class AAA. The rest are expected to start at Class A: catcher Austin Athmann (Tigers), outfielder Matt Fiedler (Cardinals) and pitchers Alec Crawford (Brewers), Lucas Gilbreath (Rockies), Brian Glowicki (Cubs), Jordan Jess (Pirates) and Dalton Sawyer (Athletics).