• Pro Football Focus rated Mackenzie Alexander as the Vikings’ most improved player in 2018, saying he settled into the slot cornerback role and broke up eight passes while not allowing a touchdown in coverage.
• Latavius Murray, who will be a free agent after two seasons with the Vikings, made it clear he considers himself a lead back. “I want to play. I want to start,” said Murray, 29. “I’m not content being in a backup role.”
• Tre Williams, currently the Gophers men’s basketball team’s lone commitment for 2019, is playing for Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah, a team ranked No. 14 in the country by USA Today. Last month at the Heartland Hoops Classic in Grand Island, Neb., he scored 19 points in a 65-53 victory over No. 13 Sunrise Christian Academy.
• Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck on some redshirt freshmen who could make an impact in 2019: “Guys like [tight end] Brevyn Spann-Ford and [linebacker] Braelen Oliver, players like that, we’re going to need them to help us. Curtis Dunlap Jr. started the bowl game [at right guard]. That redshirt rule [enabling players to play in four games but still redshirt] has really helped us. With these incoming freshmen we’re going to have to redshirt some of them, too, but also play them for four games.”
• Twins President Dave St. Peter on Miguel Sano’s injury: “There is nothing to this injury in my mind, based on what I’ve been told, that is going to keep him out of the lineup come Opening Day.”
• Timberwolves interim coach Ryan Saunders on Josh Okogie’s play at such a young age: “You have to count on guys and you expect a lot out of them and being only 20 years old he has a lot of room to grow, which is exciting.”
• Derrick Rose is very happy in Minnesota and wants to stay here. Look for Wolves owner Glen Taylor to do everything he can to sign the veteran.