Vikings could play on U campus again

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 27, 2011 - 10:51 AM

The Metrodome roof isn't yet repaired. Joel Maturi thinks TCF Bank Stadium could be an option in 2011.

If the Metrodome's roof hasn't been repaired in time for the 2011 Vikings season, Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi is confident the administration would allow the NFL team to play at TCF Bank Stadium.

"I'm not the one who would make that decision," Maturi said. "But I think President [Robert] Bruininks and the Board of Regents has always said that we are willing to be a team player to assist in a manner that's appropriate to assist.

"But I think if indeed they can't play [at the Metrodome] and TCF Bank Stadium would be the only option for them, I'm pretty confident if necessary we could find a way for that to be done temporarily."

Incidentally, TCF Bank Stadium was set up to hold over 53,000, including standing room, for the Dec. 20 Vikings-Bears game relocated there. The Dome seats about 64,000.

No interest in Young

As it stands right now, the Vikings have zero interest in Vince Young, the Titans quarterback who is going to get his release or be traded.

Young, the former Texas quarterback who led the Longhorns to a 41-38 victory over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl, carries too much baggage, which is why when it came to keeping Young or Titans coach Jeff Fisher, club owner Bud Adams issued a release earlier this month stating Young wouldn't be on the Titans roster in 2011. Young did have a 31-17 record as a Tennessee starter.

The Vikings think enough of nose tackle Fred Evans that the former Texas State-San Marcos player probably will replace Pat Williams if he chooses to retire.

Three years ago, the Vikings' scouting group was so high on Arkansas State safety Tyrell Johnson that they drafted him in the second round (43rd overall). Johnson had a sensational senior year in college, putting up some great performances against much bigger schools.

Last year, however, Johnson had problems because of a knee injury that prevented him from performing well. The Vikings believe that once he gets healthy, he can have a much better season next year.

Twins rank seventh

Keith Law of released his organizational rankings of the teams in Major League Baseball on Wednesday and had the Twins at No. 7.

Law wrote: "A sneaky-good system, it's not loaded with big names but boasts a few impact guys and a ton of depth. This is more than just the Twins' usual assortment of strike-throwing fourth starters and speedy outfielders, a testament to good drafting and some major investments in the international arena, where they've been as aggressive as any club."

Last season, Law had the Twins ranked 13th and said: "They could have two perennial All-Star bats in Aaron Hicks and the just-signed Miguel [Sano], and grabbed a few talented arms who fell in the 2009 draft, but there's not much in the upper levels to help the team in 2010."


• Former Gophers football coach Tim Brewster is reported to be a candidate for wide receivers coach at Alabama. Brewster also is rumored to have interviewed for a job on the Cincinnati Bengals' coaching staff.

• The Gophers football team now has 19 recruits committed, including four junior college players who are already in school. The latest player to commit was Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic defensive end Wedley Estime. With national signing day next Wednesday, 11 potential recruits will be on the Minnesota campus this weekend.

• Gophers baseball coach John Anderson continues to negotiate with Twins President Dave St. Peter about playing the team's entire conference schedule at Target Field if the Metrodome roof isn't fixed in time. Anderson has to find a field for two games with Kansas State before the regular season starts. They are going to play their own Dairy Queen Classic tournament in Arizona in early March, and they are looking for somewhere on the West Coast for a game with Gonzaga, which was scheduled at one time for Stanford, but the field won't be available. The Minnetonka High School baseball field has artificial turf and will be considered for some nonconference weekday games.

• The Gophers wrestling team has risen to No. 4 in the national rankings, behind Penn State, Cornell and Wisconsin. The Gophers won matches with Purdue and Illinois over the weekend.

• Cole Aldrich, the Bloomington Jefferson standout who was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets with the 11th overall pick in last year's NBA draft and then traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, is currently playing with the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA's Development League. Through 16 games in Tulsa, Aldrich is averaging 9.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 28.6 minutes per game. Aldrich has appeared sparingly throughout the season with the Thunder.

•  Former Timberwolves draft pick Ndudi Ebi continues to play basketball overseas with Aget Imola of the Italian Basketball League, Aget Imola is in Lega2, the second-highest division in Italy. Ebi is averaging 20.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. In a game earlier this month against Fastweb CM, he scored 40 points in 31 minutes and grabbed nine rebounds. Ebi is still only 26 years old. ... Ryan Wittman, the Eden Prairie standout and Cornell star, is playing in the same league as Ebi with Marcopoloshop.IT.Forli, and is averaging 14.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

• Former Orono and current Wisconsin star Jon Leuer was recently selected as one of the 10 finalists for the Lowe's senior CLASS award, a designation given out each year to the player in college basketball who performs well in the classroom and on the court. Leuer leads the Badgers in scoring at 19.2 points per game and rebounding at 6.9 per game.

• Rochester native Eric Butorac was in the semifinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday with his doubles partner Jean-Julien Rojer, playing against Bob and Mike Bryan, and lost 6-3, 6-2. Butorac and Rojer were unseeded coming into the Australian Open but won four consecutive matches, including upsets of the fourth- and 12th-seeded doubles teams. ... In other tennis news, Hibbing native Richard Martin was recently named to the Team USA Special Olympics tennis team and will compete at the Special Olympics in Greece this June.

• Vince Varpness, who was a graduate assistant with the Gophers football team under Glen Mason, was recently named head football coach at St. Louis Park.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m.

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