A report surfaced right before the Super Bowl that Eric Decker will test free agency next year and the Broncos are worried that they may lose the former Gophers receiver, if he wouldn’t accept a discounted contract.
Decker, who is from Cold Spring and still has a lot of family in Minnesota, would be a great addition to the Vikings and add tremendous ability and depth to the receiver corps.
Still the Broncos have the option of putting a franchise tag on Decker, a move that would pay him in the range of $11 million in 2014.
• Tubby Smith, the former Gophers men’s basketball coach, has kept quiet about his firing, but this past week he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “For the first time in 22 years, you get fired for winning an NCAA tourney game — that’s fine,” he said. “They wanted a younger guy. That’s what it was. I mean, they couldn’t say that — it would have been a lawsuit waiting to happen. But it’s fine.”
• It wouldn’t be a surprise if the owners of Block E in Minneapolis and Timberwolves management announce this week a $20 million-plus facility that will house offices as well as a practice facility. Regarding Target Center remodeling, the Wolves have asked various architects to come up with bids on the project.
• A number of Eden Prairie High School football players have finalized their college plans. Tackle Robert Olson is going to Oregon State, tight end Zach Hovey is going to Miami (Ohio), quarterback Ryan Connelly will walk on at Wisconsin and running back Anthony Anderson is going to a junior college.
• Reports are out that the Vikings are planning to hire Robb Akey, the former coach at Idaho, to be on their defensive staff. Akey was a player under Mike Zimmer when Zimmer was at Weber State in the 1980s. … Longtime Vikings linebackers coach Fred Pagac joined the Buffalo Bills staff. Pagac had been with the Vikings since 2006.
• Former Gophers strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall was named the strength and conditioning coach at Rice. Yoxall was with the Gophers program for four years in the 1990s.
• GopherIllustrated noted that Tom Lemming, the noted recruiting analyst for ESPN, has Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeff Jones 70th among the top 300 he rated. J.C. Hassenauer, the East Ridge center headed for Alabama, is 167th, and Frank Ragnow of Chanhassen, who has decided to go to Arkansas, is 270th.
• New Twins righthander Ricky Nolasco on pitching in the American League: “One thing I’m not looking forward to is facing Miguel Cabrera. He was my teammate for three years and he’s just an awesome hitter. On the other hand, I won’t have to pitch against Joe Mauer. He’s really tough on pitchers. He has such a good idea of the strike zone that he won’t swing at bad pitches and the umpires know that and will almost never give you a break on a pitch he takes.”
• That was former Gophers guard Justin Cobbs who hit the winning jump shot over No. 1 Arizona for California on Saturday night. Cal won 60-58 and Cobbs was the only player to score for the Golden Bears over the final 10 minutes of regulation.
• Former Gophers guard Chip Armelin is averaging 5.2 points and 2.0 rebounds for Southern Mississippi and scored 11 points in Saturday’s 78-47 victory over Tulane, which put the Golden Eagles at 19-3. Armelin, who sat out last season, has started four games.
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