Vikings coach Brad Childress and his Gophers counterpart, Tim Brewster, are without a doubt closer personal friends than any past local NFL and Big Ten coach.

Their wives are also close. In fact, the two couples are taking a trip to Costa Rica in the future that they bid for at the recent fundraising gala for St. David's Childhood Development and Family Services.

Since Brewster and Childress have spent a lot of time together, and Brewster was on Broncos coach Mike Shanahan's staff for two years, including in 2006 when Jay Cutler arrived, is there any doubt that Childress is listening to Brewster tell him all the great things he learned about the former Vanderbilt quarterback? Cutler, who has made himself available, could solve the Vikings' quarterback problem for a long time.

Childress also has to be telling the Wilfs, owners of the Vikings, that if they get Cutler, they will have a much better chance of getting to the Super Bowl.

Yes, there was a time that Cutler wasn't available. But now that the owner of the Broncos has given up on trying to keep the 25-year-old and put him on the trading block, here is a chance for the Vikings to become one of the favorites to get to the 2010 Super Bowl.

"Some team is going to be lucky to get this Pro Bowl quarterback who can play with the best in the NFL," Brewster said. "Jake Plummer was the quarterback my first year [with the Broncos] when we lost to Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game," Brewster said. "But Mike was always high on Cutler, and the next year he took over.

"He is an extremely good passer, is very mobile, has great size and any club could built around Cutler."

Brewster assumes the price for Cutler will be high, but he will be worth the price.

Brewster didn't want to get involved in the Vikings team, but from what the Gophers coach said about Cutler, one would assume the combination of Cutler's passing and Adrian Peterson's running would create a lot of headaches for any defense.

"Cutler would help any club," Brewster said. "He will provide any team with great leadership."

Brewster has great respect for Shanahan's judge of ability. And Shanahan looked for Cutler, once he got more experience, to be in the same class with great quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

But I wonder how the Vikings can make a deal for Cutler, unless it is a three-way trade in which the Broncos get a quarterback from the third team. The Hartman betting line is Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels will be the only veteran quarterbacks on the roster when training camp opens.

Crede upbeat Joe Crede, the new Twins third baseman who has had surgery twice on his back, said he is feeling good.

"Last spring, I was a little slower out of the gate. It was after my first surgery. I didn't really know what to expect, how my body was going to react," he said. "This year, coming off the second one, I kind of know how my body is going to react and what to expect. My recovery time is a little shorter after the second surgery, I definitely feel a big difference this year."

Jottings Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi hasn't raised the men's basketball ticket prices for the seven years he has been on the job. And despite the great interest in Tubby Smith and the revitalized program, Maturi says he won't raise the prices unless he has a change of heart. ... Smith will spend the week in Detroit supervising coaching meetings as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Ryan Stoa, the Gophers hockey captain who signed with the Colorado Avalanche, received a $850,000 bonus to sign a two-year contract.

The Gophers and Wisconsin are battling for Tom Parish of Hartland, Wis., the most hotly recruited senior high school quarterback in the Midwest. Rumors are that Parish will commit to Minnesota when he attends the Gophers scrimmage Saturday. Parish's father played high school quarterback for Bob Berezowitz, father of Gophers recruiting coordinator Dan Berezowitz.

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis said that one reason his team is in first place in the NHL's Northwest Division is the addition of former Wild forward Pavol Demitra and his great passing. ... Ex-Gopher John Perpich is scouting for the Atlanta Thrashers.

Apparently Ken Novak, coach of state Class 4A champion Hopkins, was puzzled that Royce White wasn't named Metro Player of the Year. Novak said: "Royce White is a very talented kid. He really is. He's a kid that sometimes gets a bum rap as far as what's going on, because I think people put so much pressure on him to try to be unbelievable. But he is unbelievable. He jumps very well. He's got hands the size of a baseball mitt. He's got the rare ability to be able to feel the defense, and spin back, go back the other way. He can flat-out score. He's going to be a good addition to the Gophers."

The New Orleans Saints, who recently signed two defensive backs -- Pierson Prioleau and ex-Viking Darren Sharper -- cut veteran safety Kevin Kaesviharn last week. Kaesviharn, 32, played at Lakeville High School and Augustana and spent the past two seasons with the Saints. He started 11 games at free safety last season before missing the Saints' last five games because of a neck injury. He had 64 tackles and two interceptions. Kaesviharn, who was scheduled to make $1.6 million next season, spent the first six years of his NFL career with the Bengals.

Villanova assistant coach Doug West, who spent nine seasons with the Timberwolves after they drafted in him the second round of their first draft in 1989, apparently didn't think the Wildcats would succeed on their final play in the East Regional final, when Scottie Reynolds took a pass, dribbled into the lane and hit a running jump shot with half a second left to beat Pittsburgh 78-76 on Saturday in Boston. West told Slam Online that Villanova players run the play at the end of every practice but added, "That play works maybe once every 500 times." West joined the Villanova coaching staff under Jay Wright in the fall of 2007, after fellow former Wildcats player Ed Pinckney left to join the Wolves coaching staff as an assistant.

Former Gophers forward Dusty Rychart said on his website that he is about to get citizenship in Australia, where the Grand Rapids, Minn., native has played pro basketball for the past seven years. Rychart averaged 15.1 points and 8.5 rebounds this past season for the Wollongong Hawks, the fourth team he has played for in Australia's National Basketball League.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on his Podcast once a week at