Checking in from Target Field. Writing for the Wednesday paper, then I'll turn my attention to the NFL draft.


-The Wild fires Tommy Thompson. Who didn't see that coming?

Whatever you think of Mr. Thompson, you knew Chuck Fletcher would want his own people in that position, and the previous regime did not do well enough in the draft for anyone to make a case for keeping Thompson around. Nice guy, should land on his feet somewhere as a scout.

-The NFL releases its schedules, with the Vikings opening the season on Sept. 9 at New Orleans.

This is final confirmation of what we already knew: Brett Favre is coming back. The NFL would not schedule the first game of the year to showcase Tarvaris Jackson.

I was covering the Vikings in 1998 and 1999, when they lost the NFC title game to Atlanta, then faced Atlanta in Week 1 the next season. The Vikings won that game, but the NFL is an afterthought in Atlanta.

The Saints and their city will be in full party mode. I still say that NFC title game in January featured the best atmosphere I've ever experienced at a football game.

-The Vikings' schedule is fascinating, and more evidence that the NFL knows how to generate maximum interest in its sport.

The Cowboys and Cardinals highlight the home schedule, but the road games are almost all intriguing. Vikings at New Orleans to start the season? What more could a Viking fan ask for? Vikings at Jets? Who doesn't want to see Brett Favre return to New York?

At Patriots? Vikings vs. Randy Moss. At Redskins? Chilly vs. the quarterback he was once rumored to covet, Donovan McNabb. At Eagles? Chilly plays his former employer again.

Add in the natural intrigue surrounding divisional games, and it's a fascinating schedule.

But you'd expect that from the NFL, a league that once was largely ignored for six months of the year and now is the No. 1 sport in the country even during its offseason.

-I don't pretend to study prospects before the draft, so I'll make my predictions vague: I would be very surprised if the Vikings didn't take one or two defensive backs in the first two rounds. I would be very surprised if they didn't take an offensive lineman. I would be very surprised if they took Tim Tebow. I would be very surprised if they took a quarterback in the first two rounds.

I'll be writing off the draft live on Thursday night.

-Delmon Young scored from second on a wild pitch tonight, when the ball kicked away from the pitcher after Michael Cuddyer scored from third. Young scored in part because he's in better shape and in part because he's much more enthusiastic about playing the game this season. In my opinion.

-Amazing first three at-bats for Joe Mauer tonight: Strikeout with nobody out and runners on first and third; groundout with bases loaded; doubleplay grounder.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is Drew Butera's time.

-I'll be on 1500ESPN from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday. I'll sit in with Patrick Reusse from 3-4, then be with Rookie from 4-6. Kevin Seifert and Joe Christensen will be among my guests, talking NFL draft and Twins.

My twitter name is Souhanstrib.

Thursday, I'll be doing the Inside Corner debate with Ron Coomer on the FSN pregame show, which starts at 11:30, and I'll contribute to the postgame show.


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Big Thursday...