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Continued: Hartman: Vikings' perfect preseason helps gain respect

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 30, 2014 - 11:49 PM

One of the weaknesses of Jerry Kill’s team in his first three years as Gophers coach was special teams. But the play of the special teams and the kicking game in Thursday’s 42-20 victory over Eastern Illinois might have been one of the unit’s best displays since Kill took over.

Freshman Ryan Santoso handled the kickoffs, and junior Pete Mortell handled the punts. Santoso had seven kickoffs that averaged 63.6 yards and featured five touchbacks, a great start to his career with the Gophers. For comparison’s sake, in 2013, Chris Hawthorne averaged 62.2 yards per kickoff during his senior season and had six touchbacks on 62 attempts.

Santoso also went 6-for-6 on extra points but didn’t attempt a field goal. He was ranked as the seventh-best kicker in the nation by ESPN in the class of 2013.

Mortell, meanwhile, had five punts that averaged 51.2 yards, including a long of 61 yards. He had two punts downed inside the 20-yard line and two touchbacks. Last season, Mortell averaged 43.3 yards per punt and had a long of 62.

Sid's Jottings

The Timberwolves have to be thrilled with the way fans have reacted to their big Kevin Love trade, which ultimately landed them the past two No. 1 overall picks in Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett along with veteran forward Thaddeus Young. In the five days after the trade was announced, the Wolves website received more visitors and page views than in any other five-day period in team history. In that time the Wolves also sold more full-season-ticket equivalents than they had in the previous two months combined. That uptick in sales means the Wolves have already surpassed last season’s total season-ticket revenue with over a month to go before training camp opens in Mankato.

Among the happiest Gophers football parents in the stands Thursday were Stan and Carolyn Edwards of Novi, Mich. They watched their son Berkley run four times for 60 yards and two touchdowns, including a 42-yarder. Both parents were wearing Gophers jerseys. Both Stan and Berkley’s brother Braylon played at Michigan on their way to the NFL. And when Stan was asked in a BTN interview if he will wear a Minnesota jersey when the Gophers play at Michigan on Sept. 27 to open Big Ten play, his wife immediately answered by saying, “He better.”

Eastern Illinois hadn’t been shut out in 126 consecutive games, and until Jerry Kill emptied his bench with about seven minutes to play Thursday, the Gophers had a chance to break that streak.

Former Vikings receiver Percy Harvin had seven catches for 92 yards over two preseason games for Seattle.

• Former Gophers safety Brock Vereen sat out Chicago’s preseason finale Thursday, but the fourth-round draft pick has a really good shot at a starting job.

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  • Mike Zimmer is hoping that a 4-0 preseason has the Vikings pointed in the right direction as he prepares for his first regular season as an NFL head coach. “We’re not making mistakes and we play hard,” he said. “… We played clean, hard, tough football.”

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Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 2 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 9
Washington 0 FINAL
Miami 8
Boston 4 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Houston 3
Toronto - WP: C. Hynes 9 FINAL
Boston - LP: D. Hinojosa 7
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Norberto 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Whitley 0
St. Louis 5 FINAL
NY Mets 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Kansas City 4
LA Angels 1 FINAL
Oakland 4
San Diego 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox 2
Chicago WSox 12 FINAL
Seattle 4
Cleveland 2 FINAL
San Francisco 5
Milwaukee 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 11
Arizona 3 FINAL
Cincinnati 0
Texas 4 FINAL
Colorado 10
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Detroit 78 FINAL
Charlotte 102
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Washington 106
San Antonio 103 FINAL
Orlando 91
Indiana 87 FINAL
Boston 100
Brooklyn 100 FINAL
New York 98
Chicago 91 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Dallas 135 FINAL
Oklahoma City 131
Sacramento 111 FINAL
Houston 115
Toronto 113 FINAL
Minnesota 99
Denver 84 FINAL
Utah 98
LA Clippers 126 FINAL
Portland 122
New Orleans 113 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Toronto 3 FINAL
Buffalo 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Anaheim 5
Colorado 1 FINAL
San Jose 5
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ULM 62
UCLA 69 FINAL
Michigan 65
Temple 58 FINAL
West Virginia 66
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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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