• The 2019 NFL schedule didn't give the Vikings any breaks. They have the 10th-toughest strength of schedule in the NFL and third toughest in the NFC. Their opponents' combined record last year was 130-124-2. The defending NFC North champion Bears are tied for the fifth hardest strength of schedule.

• Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he has liked what he's seen from running back Dalvin Cook this spring, saying: "Cook has had a really, really good spring. Gary [Kubiak] and I were talking about him this morning. He looks really, really good, especially with the things we're trying to do in the running game."

• Gophers coach P.J. Fleck on the start of the summer program for his football team: "They'll be working out, they'll be lifting, they'll be having their own player practices and doing what they do. This is a time of year where the coaches can't have a lot of contact with them at all, in terms of the coaching aspect, we're on the road recruiting and at camps anyway."

• College football writer Phil Steele has Gophers linebacker Carter Coughlin as a preseason All-America. Coughlin was also named Academic All-Big Ten in 2018. Among other Steele selections, he picked Nebraska to win the Big Ten West while tabbing the Gophers for fourth, and had Fresno State, the Gophers' second opponent, as the co-favorite to win the Mountain West Conference.

• One downside to the deep Twins roster is that they can only allow one player on the All-Star ballot at each position. Mitch Garver is not on the ballot at catcher, but Jason Castro ranked third among AL catchers in voting released Monday. 2017 All-Star Miguel Sano also is not on the ballot, as Marwin Gonzalez is at third for the Twins.

• ESPN's latest NBA mock draft had a surprise at No. 11 with the Timberwolves taking Nassir Little, a 6-6 forward who averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds as a freshman last season at North Carolina, on Thursday.