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Continued: Hartman: Big decisions await Vikings following 2013 season

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 19, 2012 - 9:54 PM

The Vikings are on a roll with an 8-6 record and a two-game winning streak. And they have a strong shot to make the playoffs if they win their final two regular-season games.

However, this might be the year the Vikings have to make hay. While the team has a fairly low-profile group of free agents who could leave after this season, Rob Brzezinski, the Vikings vice president in charge of player contracts, will really have a challenge after the 2013 season because many of the team's superstars are slated to become free agents.

The group that could leave after this season includes these starters: linebacker Jasper Brinkley, right tackle Phil Loadholt, linebacker Erin Henderson and fullback Jerome Felton.

Others who are not that important to the team but will be free agents after the 2012 season include defensive back Jamarca Sanford, offensive linemen Geoff Schwartz and Joe Berger, wide receivers Devin Aromashodu and Jerome Simpson and linebacker Marvin Mitchell.

But taking a peek at the 2013 free-agent group, you see what likely is the most talented free-agent class the Vikings have had.

The class includes wide receiver Percy Harvin, defensive ends Jared Allen and Brian Robison, punter Chris Kluwe, guard Charlie Johnson, quarterback Joe Webb, defensive linemen Everson Griffen and Fred Evans, running back Toby Gerhart and cornerback Cris Cook.

It's going to take a lot of money to sign players such as Harvin, Allen, Robison and Gerhart. There is little chance Gerhart will want to remain as a backup to Adrian Peterson. And Harvin could wind up as one of the highest-paid players in the league, with a lot of clubs bidding for his services.

New title for Molitor

Twins President Dave St. Peter reports that Paul Molitor, in addition to remaining with the organization in 2013 and serving as a roving minor league instructor, also will be working as a special assistant to St. Peter.

It's no secret around Target Field that both St. Peter and General Manager Terry Ryan were interested in having Molitor on the 2013 coaching staff, most likely as the bench coach.

However, manager Ron Gardenhire, while not having any personal problem with Molitor, preferred to have his close, personal friend and former Twins catcher Terry Steinbach as the bench coach. Gardenhire has been a longtime admirer of Steinbach, who has worked with the Twins in spring training and has done a great job.

The interesting thing about Molitor is that in the past he has turned down many chances to coach and manage. However, he was willing to accept the new position with the Twins.

I have a lot of respect for Gardenhire, and he has proven his ability to manage by winning six division titles in 11 years. The late Gene Mauch used to tell me that a manager will steal at best a half-dozen games a season and that you win with talent.

It's no secret the Twins didn't have the pitching the past two years to contend. Gardenhire couldn't pitch for the team, and I hope he gets the talent this year so he can manage a winner.

But if there is a change in managers, it wouldn't surprise me if Molitor was Gardy's successor.

Kubiak respects AP

Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak praised the Vikings running game and Peterson at his weekly news conference when he said: "This could be a 2 1/2-hour game the way they run the ball, and hopefully we can run the ball. [Peterson is] tremendous. They are just lining up and pounding people right now. Nobody has probably ever done it better than he is doing it right now over this stretch.

"What a difference, from a challenge standpoint, we have defensively,'' Kubiak continued. "Going from being spread out and all of a sudden here they come downhill at you with one of the greatest backs in the game. We have a huge challenge there. Then offensively, I think we are facing as good a defensive line as we have faced this year. This is a very physical football team. You look at the times they have been beaten this year. They have been beaten by some excellent teams. I think they are very well-built, especially for a young quarterback. It is going to be an extremely physical challenge for us."

Future U QB has talent

One reason why Max Shortell might have left the Gophers football team is that there is a great quarterback coming in next year: Chris Streveler from Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock, Ill. He was all-state selection on a team that finished 11-1, and he completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,397 yards and 26 touchdowns with four interceptions. He also rushed 156 times for 1,124 yards and 22 TDs.

A number of schools have tried to persuade Streveler to de-commit, but he is solid in his commitment and will enroll in school in January.

Jottings

• Another reason why Mike Grant should be named football coach at St. John's: When former Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi was interviewing coaches to succeed Glen Mason, Grant was one of the coaches Maturi interviewed. He told me that Grant's presentation was as good or better than any other applicant's. However, at the time Maturi didn't feel he could hire a high school coach.

• Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, Glen Perkins and Scott Diamond headline the list of Twins players participating in the team's 53rd annual Winter Caravan that runs Jan. 14-24, with 50 stops in 40 communities scheduled.

• Former Gophers assistant and Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips recently was named Florida's receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.

• St. Thomas was or is ranked in the top five nationally in four fall or winter sports: volleyball (No. 1 with a 40-1 record); football (No. 3, although the Tommies finished 14-1 with a loss in the NCAA Division III championship game); women's basketball (No. 4, 7-1); and men's basketball (No. 4, 8-0). Those four teams have built a combined 69-3 record this school year, with all three losses to top-five ranked teams. The Tommies baseball team is expected to be in the top five when preseason polls are released next month.

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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Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 2:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 65 2nd Half 2:58
Ohio State 74
Stony Brook 39 2nd Half 13:43
Binghamton 32
Cincinnati 33 2nd Half 15:56
UCF 26
Maine 42 2nd Half 11:00
Hartford 44
Monmouth 49 2nd Half 12:14
Manhattan 52
Fairfield 35 2nd Half 13:49
Marist 40
Rowan 34 2nd Half 7:25
Princeton 79
St Bonaventure 35 2nd Half 12:00
Rhode Island 37
Duke 43 2nd Half 17:00
St Johns 47
Saint Peters 57 2nd Half 8:26
Siena 37
Drake 29 2nd Half 13:39
Wichita State 49
Vermont 39 2nd Half 10:11
UMass Lowell 39
Seton Hall 6 1st Half 12:22
Butler 19
NJIT 9 1st Half 10:16
South Alabama 16
Northern Iowa 3:00 PM
Illinois State
Louisville 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
UMBC 3:30 PM
Albany
Niagara 3:30 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 28 2nd Half
SMU 25
Utah 38 2nd Half 11:10
Washington 47
James Madison 54 2nd Half 10:47
Coll of Charleston 36
Delaware 21 2nd Half
Drexel 32
Hofstra 40 2nd Half 11:44
William & Mary 48
Hartford 42 2nd Half 15:18
Albany 44
Binghamton 40 2nd Half 10:16
Stony Brook 47
Towson 37 2nd Half
UNC-Wilmington 30
Wake Forest 53 2nd Half 12:33
(17) Florida State 70
Georgia Tech 51 2nd Half 8:36
Virginia 51
(22) Georgia 35 2nd Half 11:18
(5) Tennessee 34
Drake 68 2nd Half 6:11
Evansville 57
Iona 44 2nd Half
Canisius 32
Fairfield 16 2nd Half
Monmouth 28
Northwestern 50 2nd Half 12:20
Penn State 58
Wisconsin 48 2nd Half 8:24
Michigan State 62
Ohio State 41 2nd Half 11:31
Purdue 53
Northern Iowa 41 2nd Half 11:44
Indiana State 37
Butler 32 2nd Half
Xavier 33
Creighton 12 1st Half 11:19
Marquette 8
Northeastern 9 1st Half 13:32
Elon 9
(2) Connecticut 33 1st Half 10:32
Cincinnati 4
Oregon 15 1st Half 7:37
Arizona 13
NC State 13 1st Half 11:20
(23) Syracuse 17
(7) Maryland 15 1st Half 12:44
Indiana 15
Illinois State 4 1st Half 14:10
Missouri State 4
Colorado 3:00 PM
Washington St
Tulane 3:00 PM
South Florida
(14) Kentucky 3:00 PM
Missouri
Providence 3:00 PM
DePaul
(9) Oregon State 3:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Bradley 3:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
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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
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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