• While Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has his critics, coach Leslie Frazier is not one of them. “This will be his third season, his second as a full-time starter,” Frazier said. “We are expecting him to take another step forward. We saw glimpses in December when we went 4-0 of what he can be. We are really excited about some of the things we saw down the stretch of the season and we are looking forward for him to carry it over to our next season.”
• Trevor Plouffe hit .333 in the four rehab games that he played at Rochester and hit a home run. That got him warmed up to come play for the big-league club when he was activated by the Twins from the disabled list Saturday.
• Dwight Opperman, the well-respected local businessman who died this past week at 89, was one of the bigger shareholders in the Wild.
• One thing the Gophers men’s basketball team lacked last season was a consistent three-point shooter. They might have found the guy to solve that problem in Malik Smith, who played for coach Richard Pitino at Florida International last year, where he set a school record with 96 threes and ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference and No. 16 nationally with an average of three per game.
• Chris Mannix’s Sports Illustrated big board has the Timberwolves taking UCLA shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad with their ninth pick in the NBA draft and then taking Rudy Gobert, a center out of France, 26th overall. Muhammad worked out for the Wolves on Sunday.
• Four years ago, Mike Miller didn’t make much of a contribution with the Timberwolves and had talked of retiring, but he has been a big factor for the Heat. In these NBA Finals, he made eight of his first nine three-point tries, and in last year’s championship clincher he made seven of eight threes.
• Twins second-round pick Ryan Eades did not start for Louisiana State in its College World Series opener Sunday night. Eades is 8-1 this season with a 2.79 ERA with 100 innings pitched.
• Miguel Sano has struggled a bit since being called up to Class 2A New Britain hitting .091 through five games with two runs scored and three RBI. But Sano is still seeing the ball well, drawing six walks.
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. • firstname.lastname@example.org