Looking back to the five previous times when he failed to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Vikings great Cris Carter said he wasn't upset, as some people assumed.
"A lot of people tried to talk about the times I didn't get in, but those times, we had other Vikings that had gone in: Gary Zimmerman went in, 'Big' Randall McDaniel went in, 'Little Muscle' Johnny Randle went in, then Chris Doleman went in," said the wide receiver, who was voted in Saturday.
"I was able to celebrate [with] those guys, and I didn't want to take attention away from them. But man, trust me, being in the finals, it loses no sweetness with waiting and being on the list."
Carter also said that making the Hall of Fame was something that even he couldn't have believed would happen.
"It's totally surprising," he said. "I mean, you're shocked. You don't even have these types of goals as an athlete, I don't care who you are, how talented you are, or about your dreams and aspirations, you don't set a goal to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
Among those selected with Carter was longtime head coach and two-time Super Bowl winner Bill Parcells. When the Eagles decided to cut Carter following the 1990 preseason, the New York Giants claimed him as well as the Vikings. Parcells was the Giants coach at the time.
Carter, who was released by the Eagles because of substance abuse problems, said he was grateful for all the things the Vikings organization, including then-coach Jerry Burns, did to help him turn his career around.
"The system they put in place as far as testing, counseling, pastor care, day-to-day care, the care of my family for my wife [for what] she went through, all those things they did were invaluable to me," he said.
"That's why the Minnesota Vikings will always have a strong presence in my life, because of what they did off the football field so finally my ability would be able to take over and people would be able to see it.
"At that time [Mike Lynn] was the general manager running the team and claimed it, but he was just part of the team. The ownership team at that time, Roger Headrick and Wheelock Whitney, [they] played a great role, Jeff Diamond, who was doing the personnel, those guys had a great role also in me getting on my feet."
Gophers had to win
If ever the Gophers needed to win a close game, after losing four of their past five conference games, it was the one on Sunday when they were fortunate to beat Iowa 62-59, with the go-ahead basket on a three-point shot by Austin Hollins with 11.6 seconds left to play.
Had they lost Sunday and then come back from playing Michigan State on Wednesday with a loss and a 4-6 conference record, the season would have been sinking toward disappointment.
The Gophers lost a heartbreaker at Wisconsin last week, and it appeared they were going to be unlucky again.
Iowa had the ball with 39 seconds left when a Hawkeyes turnover gave the Gophers the opportunity to turn what looked like certain defeat into victory.
In describing the play drawn up during a timeout, Gophers coach Tubby Smith explained: "We were trying to get a shot for [Austin Hollins] or [Andre Hollins] coming in out of bounds. We wanted to take the first open look and [Austin] came off a double screen at the top [of the key] and just kept curling. Really, it just kind of opened when he came in and we were able to find him, Andre found him open."
Smith also spoke about how important it was to win this particular game.
"We can't afford to lose a game at home here," he said. "We had one foot in the grave, but we were able to dig our way out and claw our way back in it."
Smith said he thought the team defended well, but some ill-advised turnovers helped Iowa stay in the game all the way to the end.
"We threw the ball completely out of bounds there a couple times," Smith said. "You can get down and lose your composure and just give up, but I'm really impressed with our guys and the way they recovered from that. That takes a lot of guts and a lot of courage and a lot of character. I was happy for them."
Senior forward Rodney Williams, who had 10 points and seven rebounds, described it as a big conference victory.
"We're over .500 now in the conference," he said, "and we're getting that much closer to our goal of trying to contend for a Big Ten title. Any win is big."
About Wednesday's game at Michigan State, Williams added: "You know Michigan State is always a tough place to play, but we're going to prepare like we do for any other game and we're going to come out and execute our game plan and hopefully get the victory."
• Winning the NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year won't earn any bonuses for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who will be paid an average of $13.7 million per year through 2017.
• Now that TwinsFest is over, the Gophers baseball team -- expected to be a contender for the Big Ten title -- is able to practice in the Metrodome almost every day. The Gophers open the season Feb. 15-17 at UCLA, a college baseball power. Among the attractive matchups scheduled at the Metrodome is a three-game series with Texas on March 22-24.
• The Gophers football team will face four teams with new coaches this fall: New Mexico State, Western Illinois, San Jose State and Wisconsin.
• Expenditures facing the Gophers athletic department, not including desired new facilities such as a basketball practice arena, are $7 million to remodel Les Bolstad Golf Course and $4 million each to repair the Williams Arena roof and to make the Gophers outdoor track feasible to hold the Big Ten outdoor track meet that was scheduled this year but had to be postponed until the track is repaired.
• Panthers center Ryan Kalil, brother of Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil, made the bold statement at the beginning of the year that Carolina would make the Super Bowl and took out a newspaper ad saying as much. Ryan told the Charolette Observer this week that he has no regrets about that statement: "I have no misconception about how hard it is to win in this league. But I'm not the kind of guy who can buy into managing expectations or rebuilding or timing."
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