• Vikings coach Mike Zimmer talked about the importance of getting Anthony Barr back at linebacker after he missed three games because of a hamstring injury. “It helps a lot,” Zimmer said. “Eric Wilson did a nice job when he was in there. There are just more things we can do with Anthony that allow us to be a little bit more versatile I guess is the best way to say it.”
• Pro Football Focus wrote this past week that Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is on pace for the highest single-season grade from them in his career, and in addition he is posting the best numbers of his career in the red zone with a 83.4 passer grade, fifth best in the NFL. Cousins has 13 touchdown passes against zero interceptions in the red zone. … There is no question that Cousins’ $84 million contract, all guaranteed, forced the Packers’ hand in giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers a four-year deal worth $134 million with $100 million guaranteed.
• The standings currently have the Vikings picking 17th in the 2019 draft. CBS Sports expert Chris Trapasso sees them drafting Oklahoma guard Ben Powers. “The Vikings want to pass the football frequently with Kirk Cousins and their stellar pair of receivers,” he wrote. “Powers is the most impressive pass-blocking guard I’ve watched this season. Perfect match.”
• Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose entered Saturday posting the second-highest field goal percentage of his career (48.2 percent) and easily the highest three-point percentage (47.6 percent). You have to imagine he’s going to be in the conversation to be an All-Star and also in the running for Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year.
• Former Gophers and Minnetonka High School pitcher Jim Brower was named Seattle Mariners bullpen coach. Brower, who pitched in 354 games with eight teams from 1999 to 2007, served as a Seattle assistant coach in 2018.