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Continued: Hartman: Former coach Mason says Gophers still have work to do

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 30, 2013 - 7:09 AM

The Vikings will travel to Chicago in Week 2. They are a combined 1-5 at Soldier Field and Ford Field in the past three seasons, with their lone victory coming last year when they won 20-13 at Detroit. The Vikings haven’t won in Chicago since 2007.

The team will follow those two road games with a home game against the Cleveland Browns, probably the lone time they will be favored over the first four weeks, and then a so-called home game with the Pittsburgh Steelers in London on Sept. 29.

So the Vikings are going to have to find a way to win on the road against Detroit or Chicago if they want a good chance at being .500 heading into their bye in Week 5.

Financing OK

With all of the talk about the ability of the Wilf Family to be in a position to come up with the $477 million that is their share of the cost of the new Vikings stadium, what about the state’s ability to pay its share with the electronic pulltabs not selling? The Legislature had passed the measure allowing bars and restaurants to use the new electronic devices as a way to raise funds for the stadium, but when that didn’t work out new taxes were levied.

“We’ve reset the financing so we’re not depending on any money from the E-pull tabs or the electronic bingo,” said Gov. Mark Dayton. “The reserve has now been replenished with this one month of the tobacco tax going to the higher tax and then closing corporate loopholes, and that will be $20 million a year. The commissioner of revenue feels it’s very secure, so I think the financing is taken care of.”

Jottings

• One reason the Gophers had more fans than expected Thursday night [44,217] is that the Aspire Company of Atlanta has done a good job selling tickets, with the company getting 10 percent from what it sells. According to David Benedict of the Gophers athletic department, Aspire has generated, to date, more than $2 million in ticket sales. Its goal last year was $1.4 million in sales. At this point only 3,000 student season tickets are sold, but most of those tickets are sold when classes start, which happens next week.

• Lourawls Nairn Jr., a point guard from Wichita, Kan., was in the Twin Cities for an official visit with Richard Pitino and attended the Gophers football game on Thursday. Nairn is ranked as the 61st player in the country for the class of 2014 and has offers from Kansas and Kansas State, but his final three school choices are Indiana, Oklahoma and the Gophers.

• Jon Hoese, former Gophers fullback, was waived by the Oakland Raiders this week after being picked up by the team following his release from Green Bay. Meanwhile MarQueis Gray, the former Gophers quarterback who is now a tight end for the San Francisco 49ers, survived the first round of cuts. Gray has one reception for 13 yards through three games.

 

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

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