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Continued: Wilfs back Frazier in retooling roster

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 16, 2011 - 4:35 AM

When the Vikings faced the Broncos on Dec. 4, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf told me in an exclusive interview that Leslie Frazier will be retained as Vikings coach next season.

Checking with Frazier on Thursday about what he has heard concerning his coaching status, he told me Zygi and Mark Wilf have assured him he will return.

He said the team owners realize a lot of holes must be filled next year, and they plan to do everything they can to upgrade the roster and rebound from this dismal 2-11 season.

"It's frustrating to go through the losses that we've had this season, but I think we're on the same page in regards to what we need to do this offseason to avoid another season like this," Frazier said. "[The Wilfs] have been very supportive throughout this year. I'm looking forward to when we sit down this offseason to just dissect our entire team and organization and just figure out what we've got to do. They're very supportive. They've been humble in all aspects."

Frazier said the Vikings will have a good nucleus coming back and one of the positives looking ahead to 2012 is there is a limited number of key Vikings players who will be free agents at the end of this year.

This group includes linebacker E.J. Henderson and tight ends Visanthe Shiancoe and Jim Kleinsasser.

"We just need to fill a few holes," Frazier said. "You and I both know, you can do that in our league. You can turn things around real fast."

One thing that has impressed Frazier about this group of players is that despite their 2-11 record, they never have quit on the coach.

"That's the darndest thing," he said. "Our guys have battled every week and just a play here or there could have changed our fortune for this season. I mean to be down like they were against Detroit and to battle back and to have a chance to win that game on the last play, I mean just incredible. The fight that they have and the way they want to compete to try to win, they really want to win. So we'll keep fighting."

And rest assured, after losing their past two matchups with the Saints -- including the 2009 NFC Championship Game -- the Vikings will have every reason to try and win Sunday in order to hurt New Orleans' playoff positioning.

Teammates leaving?

Justin Morneau said he has talked to Twins free agents Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, trying to keep updated and convince them the team needs them to come back and that it's going to be a good season next year.

"They know the manager and how fun it is to play on this baseball team, and how close it is, how much of a family it is," Morneau said. "Sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side, but they have to weigh their options and do what's best for their families and themselves, and hopefully it ends up being that they're Minnesota Twins.

"They're great teammates, great people. I've enjoyed playing with them, and I hope they're all back."

But now Morneau can most likely say goodbye to both Kubel and Cuddyer, because with the Twins signing former Oakland outfielder Josh Willingham to a three-year, $21 million contract, there's a good chance neither player will be back with the club.

A year ago, after Twins players complained about having difficulty seeing the ball coming out of the pitcher's hand because of the backdrop in center field at Target Field, the team removed a number of pine trees from in front of the batter's eye.

Now team president Dave St. Peter reports another change might be made to improve the batter's eye before the 2012 season.

St. Peter also said promoters of the Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw concert, which will be held next July 8 in Target Field, told him the concert was the fastest sellout (less than 24 hours) of the tour.

Coleman emerges

Former Hopkins star Joe Coleman has come on strong for the Gophers men's basketball team in the past three games, and coach Tubby Smith paid the freshman a real compliment when he said: "Joe is probably the most aggressive player that I've had the good fortune to coach. He doesn't mind challenging anyone at the basket. He knocked down a three the other day, and he's developing an outside shot. He's a real force. He adds some real quality depth to our backcourt."

Coleman has averaged 10.3 points and two assists per game over the Gophers' past three contests, after putting up a total of two points over the team's first nine games.

Smith has had pretty good luck with Hopkins players in the past, including Dan Coleman, Joe's brother, whom he coached for one season, and Blake Hoffarber. One Hopkins star who didn't stick around was Royce White, who never played for the Gophers after some off-court issues and eventually transferred to Iowa State. He is averaging 15 points and 9.7 rebounds per game for the Cyclones this season.

Jottings

• Forbes Magazine, in its most recent issue, ranks the Wild No. 14 in NHL franchise value. Forbes rates the value of the franchise at $213 million and reports the team lost $5.9 million last year. The Toronto Maple Leafs are rated the most valuable franchise at $521 million and their most recent profit was $81.8 million, followed by the New York Rangers with a value of $507 million and profit of $41.4 million and the Montreal Canadiens with a team value of $445 million and profit of $47.7 million.

• Gophers recruits Connor Reilly and Mario Lucia are the top two scorers for Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League. Reilly has 25 goals and 31 assists in 33 games and Lucia has 22 goals and 34 assists in 29 games. ... One of Reilly's brothers, Mike, is the team's top scoring defenseman with 13 goals and 29 assists in 29 games. Another brother, Ryan, has 19 goals and 19 assists in 33 games. ... Also on the team is St. Francis' Joey Benik, a St. Cloud State recruit who has 10 goals and 38 assists, and Edina's Steven Fogarty, a Notre Dame recruit and Rangers draft pick who has 16 goals and 24 assists.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 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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Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 108 FINAL
Sacramento 107
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Golden State 114
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Edmonton 3 FINAL
San Jose 4
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
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Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
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Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
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Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
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Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
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Jackson State 66
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Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
LSU 79 FINAL
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
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Cal State Fullerton 72
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Idaho 86
DePaul 59 FINAL
Oregon State 90
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Pacific 69
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San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 56 FINAL
Utah State 57
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Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
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(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
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South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
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Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
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Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
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Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
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New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
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Northern Ariz 71
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(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
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Grand Canyon 51
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
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Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
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Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
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Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
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