• The Gophers got great news with the recent NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) announcement for 2016. The football team tied for sixth in the nation, trailing only Dartmouth, Northwestern, Air Force, Penn, Elon and Michigan. Head football coach P.J. Fleck said, “We have the highest [rate] of any public institution [overall]. It’s Notre Dame, Stanford and us. In terms of public institutions, we’re the No. 1 APR in the county, which we’re very proud of. That doesn’t have a lot to do with me just yet, that has to do with a lot of people who were here before me.”
• Look for the Twins to make some big new improvements at Target Field in the offseason heading into 2018, according to Dave St. Peter.
• The Twins have had a lot of success with international signees Miguel Sano, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco. There’s another young player in the minor league system who may follow that path in Jean Carlos Arias, who is hitting .278 as a 19-year-old with the Gulf Coast League Twins. Arias signed for $450,000 as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. He has three home runs, five doubles and four triples, 25 RBI, 20 runs scored and eight stolen bases on the season.
• After all of the contracts given to such players as Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith and Linval Joseph, the Vikings are still $10 million under the salary cap.
• There never was any doubt about Apple Valley standout Tre Jones going to Duke. Mike Krzyzewski had him locked up a long time ago after several visits here. Jones rates 18th in the nation among players for the Class of 2018, according to ESPN. The next big challenge when it comes to recruiting for the Gophers will be Matthew Hurt, who is the eighth-ranked player in the Class of 2019 and has already been offered scholarships by the likes of Duke, Kansas and North Carolina. Will his brother Michael, already with the Gophers, be a help in recruiting? That’s a good question.