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Michael Rand

Digital sports editor |
Phone: 612-673-7564

Michael Rand is the Star Tribune's Digital Sports Senior Writer. In 20 years covering Minnesota sports at the Star Tribune, he has seen just about everything.

Rand is a North Dakota native and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters.
Recent content from Michael Rand
A Bally Sports logo is in the dugout during a spring training baseball game.

Report: Bally Sports North lost more than half its subscribers in 10 years

A Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal report, citing research from S&P Global Market Intelligence, shows a subscriber base that has gone from 2.9 million in 2013 to just 1.2 million now.
Rodgers maybe didn't tell us the whole story. Are you shocked?

Rodgers maybe didn't tell us the whole story. Are you shocked?

Soon-to-be-former Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said two weeks ago he loves direct communication, but one prominent Green Bay executive says Rodgers was unavailable for it.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) in a game against the Vikings in 2021.

Times change: Jackson latest example of quarterback volatility

Five years ago, Kirk Cousins was an anomaly — a high quality quarterback changing teams. But big moves among top QBs have become more and more common.
Wolves coach Chris Finch.

With 8 games left, what is Timberwolves' 'magic number' for postseason?

The Wolves are 37-37 and could easily finish anywhere from in the top 6 in the West to out of the postseason entirely.
Vikings fans could only watch after the Giants won 31-24 during a NFL wild card playoff game.

Are Vikings fans really more negative than all other NFL fans?

Labels are never 100% accurate and methodology for answering such questions is often sketchy. But regular-season success followed by postseason disappointment adds up to a debate topic.
Two mock drafts this week have the Vikings taking Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker with the 23rd pick in the first round.

Will the Vikings hook a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft?

Mock drafts in each of the last two days have the Vikings taking Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker No. 23 overall. Here's why Hooker is a fascinating — and polarizing — potential pick.
Gophers hoping Plitzuweit is the 'anti-Frese' and sticks around

Gophers hoping Plitzuweit is the 'anti-Frese' and sticks around

It was 21 years ago that the Gophers were left in the lurch by Brenda Frese (then Oldfield). Now they're on the other end with new coach Dawn Plitzuweit, who left a high-profile job after just one season.
Matthew Knies is just one of many reasons fans have fallen in love with Gophers men’s hockey again.

Gophers men's hockey success an example of how local sports work

There are tiers of interest among various Minnesota sports teams, but the ebbs and flows are most noticeable among those that start out with smaller fan bases.
St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, left, is held back from fighting Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29).

'C'mon, it will be good!' Mic'd up goalie Fleury was pleading to fight.

In case you thought you had seen it all during the Wild's eventful 8-5 victory over St. Louis, new audio and video on Thursday brought the near battle-of-the-goalies to a higher level.
Minnesota Wild’s Ryan Hartman is congratulated by Mats Zuccarello (36) after scoring Wednesday.

By the numbers: A look inside the Wild's unlikely 14-game point streak

The Wild has earned at least one point in all 14 games it has played in the last month, going 11-0-3 during a run that is spectacular as it is unlikely.
A Bally Sports logo is in the dugout during a spring training baseball game.

Diamond Sports bankruptcy: 3 things for Minnesota sports fans to know

Even if Tuesday's bankruptcy filing wasn't a surprise, it underscores just how much change is on the horizon for local sports TV broadcasts.
Kirk Cousins greeted Aaron Rodgers after a game between the Vikings and Packers.

Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers and a very different NFC North by 2024?

Tuesday's developments were a further indicator that the NFC North could be undergoing a fairly significant transformation at quarterback.
Texas Southern players punch their ticket to March Madness.

March Madness, but not here: How U's struggles create a disconnect

At 12:40 p.m. Monday, about 18 hours after the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournament brackets were revealed, RandBall got around to taking a look at them.
Bud Grant in 1967 and in 2022.

Reflections on the journey of a lifetime. Bud Grant at 95

Bud Grant turned 95 years old last year and visited with Daily Delivery podcast host Michael Rand. You can listen to it here.
Adam Thielen had a great decade for the Vikings.

In the end, numbers just didn't add up for Thielen

The Vikings cut receiver Adam Thielen on Friday, ending a 10-year run and an amazing success story. The data suggests it was the right thing to do.
The Aaron Rodgers Saga is becoming quite the epic.

As Jets get closer to trading for Aaron Rodgers, consider these five things

The Jets met with Rodgers earlier this week, and there is reportedly growing optimism that a trade with the Packers will happen. And there's something that will sound familiar about this to Vikings fans.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Vikings vs. Cousins: Team should finally have leverage in contract talks

In a twist on their relationship, the determination about Kirk Cousins' future with the Vikings might evolve into a more level playing field in which both sides have leverage in negotiations.
Parker Bjorklund, who played high school basketball in Chaska, took a shot against Oral Roberts in January.

St. Thomas basketball ascending quickly — and at a good time

Yes, it's natural to make comparisons between St. Thomas and the other Division I men's basketball program in Minnesota. Not all of them are valid — the Summit League isn't the Big Ten — but others have merit.
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (9) helped lead the way to a third straight road win Saturday.

Being in West is best for playoff hopes of suddenly hot Wild, Wolves

If the Wild and Timberwolves sustain their current momentum into the postseason, they have a chance at deep playoff runs based on the lack of elite teams in the Western Conferences of the NHL and NBA.
Lowest lows, highest highs: Whalen, Johnson show emotional toll of coaching

Lowest lows, highest highs: Whalen, Johnson show emotional toll of coaching

The last 24 hours have served as the ultimate reminder of the emotional ride — and toll — of modern coaching. All you need to confirm that is how Thursday played out for Lindsay Whalen and Ben Johnson.
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards will have a lot to say about the last 18 games.

How will Wolves finish the year? Trying to predict the unpredictable

An up and down year is exactly square at 32-32, with a full range of four outcomes still very much in play.
General Manager Bill Guerin

Wild's lack of scoring made it easy for Guerin to pull off trades

Their recent results and clear offensive deficiencies gave general manager Bill Guerin a clear directive, which he followed through on Tuesday. Next question: Are there more deals to come?
Shot-blocker Dennis Evans was the highest-rated prospect to sign with the Gophers since Kris Humphries in 2003, but he recently backed out of his NLI.

Evans adds evidence: Fixing struggling program harder than ever

Even if you believe the freedom for athletes to make money and change their situations is good, this is undeniable: program-building in modern college sports is harder than ever.
Lou Nanne, a former Gophers and North Stars player who went on to be general manager of the North Stars, has become symbolic of and synonymous with ho

A rich hockey life leads Nanne into Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame

Lou Nanne is our Mr. Hockey in Minnesota. A Gopher, a North Star and a lifelong supporter and builder of the game.
Twins left fielder Joey Gallo waited to bat with 20 seconds on the clock Monday vs. the Red Sox.

The pitch clock: Obnoxious and beautiful, it just might save baseball

Anyone complaining about MLB's pitch clock is afraid of change, plain and simple. While it won't fix everything that ails baseball, it is a desperately needed addition.
Big Ten women's basketball at Target Center: Great event, but those ticket fees . . .

Big Ten women's basketball at Target Center: Great event, but those ticket fees . . .

Click all the way through to buy tickets to the Big Ten women's basketball tournament starting Wednesday at Target Center and you might want a congressional investigation.
Emanuel Reynoso (left) of Minnesota United and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves.

Frustrating mysteries for Wolves, Loons: When will their stars return?

It's late February, and the big questions for the Timberwolves and Minnesota United are the same as they were in early January. The teams probably know more than they're letting on.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf spoke with Kirk Cousins after the season-opener in September.

Cousins and the Vikings: Is there a contract extension that works?

The Vikings and their quarterback have different priorities when it comes to what would work best. Whether they can find middle ground is still the team's biggest question of the offseason.
Minnesota Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson (32) celebrates with teammate Marc-Andre Fleury, left, in a game last month.

If playoffs started now, would the Wild have a goalie controversy?

A fascinating situation is brewing for the Wild. Has the play of Filip Gustavsson be far enough superior to the work of veteran Marc-Andre Fleury that the young goaltender would be the choice?
New Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon (left) worked under Mike Zimmer (right) from 2014 to 2017.

New Cardinals head coach says Zimmer 'one of my biggest mentors'

Jonathan Gannon, the defensive coordinator with the Eagles before being hired for the head job with Arizona, was an original member of Mike Zimmer's defensive staff with the Vikings
Jerry Kill got his first tattoo on Sunday, and nobody will forget it.

Ex-U coach Jerry Kill pays off bowl game promise with massive tattoo

Kill motivated his underdog New Mexico State team by telling them he would get a tattoo if they won their bowl game. They did, and on Sunday he followed through with his end of the deal.
Team LeBron guard Anthony Edwards (1) dunks during the first half of the NBA basketball All-Star game Sunday.

'Just play, man.' Edwards a fan hero for rejecting 'load management'

Anthony Edwards generated headlines during All-Star weekend with his stance on wanting to play every game while other high-end NBA players get nights off that frustrate ticket-buying fans.
Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell introduced new Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores to the media Wednesday.

'Aggressive' but 'not reckless': Let this define the Brian Flores era

Blitzing is far from a guarantee of success when it comes to modern NFL defense. Rather, the gold standard is getting pressure with four rushers — and dialing up the right heat or coverages when it matters most.
LeBron James was helped on defense by ex-Wolves forward Jarred Vanderbilt during Wednesday’s win over the Pelicans.

LeBron James heaps praise on former Wolves turned Lakers teammates

Three former Timberwolves were in the Lakers' starting lineup Wednesday for a victory, and LeBron made his first public comments about the new additions.
USC wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) could be a target for the Vikings.

RandBall: Vikings mock draft. Is a receiver in their future at pick No. 23?

The Vikings have only four picks in the draft as of now. So that puts on extra pressure to get them right. Does that mean adding a pass catcher with their pick in the first round?
2020 vision: Minnesota's sports landscape was altered by two draft choices

2020 vision: Minnesota's sports landscape was altered by two draft choices

It's hard to imagine Minnesota sports right now without Anthony Edwards or Justin Jefferson, so let's take a moment to reflect on the crucial decisions that brought them here.
Vikings QB Kirk Cousins earlier this season in a 24-7 loss to the Eagles.

Vikings as a Super Bowl favorite for next season? They're not even close

When it comes to the Vikings, even after a 13-4 season, they are heavy underdogs to win it all next season. The oddsmakers have spoken — and their numbers tell us a lot.
Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97), center Ryan Hartman (38) and right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) celebrated a goal late last season.

Five reasons why the Wild can't score at even strength this year

Thursday's loss to Vegas was the continuation of a season-long trend that has seen the Wild's goal-scoring script flipped from the past. What exactly are the reasons?
Kirk Cousins walked off the field after the Vikings lost to the New York Giants in an NFC Wild Card game.

Super Bowl QB lesson for Vikings: Good enough isn't good enough

Two things can be true at the same time: Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback who can help the Vikings win, and Cousins is a QB very unlikely to help the Vikings reach the Super Bowl.
Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after a season-ending loss to the Lions.

'Darkness retreat?' Once again Rodgers keeps himself in spotlight

Aside from being one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers also seems to fit this description: He has a need for people to see him as interesting.
Past, present, future: Five things about Vikings hiring Flores

Past, present, future: Five things about Vikings hiring Flores

In firing defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and hiring Brian Flores after one season, the Vikings and Kevin O'Connell have set a course for the future. Now they need to hope they can avoid the past.
Wolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, center.

Wolves' next six months? Three comments by Connolly offer context

The Wolves find themselves in a fascinating position: Ascending in the standings, but still very much in the murky middle — of the playoff chase and some key personnel issues
Say good-bye to a franchise mainstay?

It's fun to pretend to be a general manager — but not to be a real one

From the NBA trade machine to a tool that lets you make NFL cuts and additions to reshape rosters, it's a great time to be an armchair GM. But the real moves are much harder.
Patrick Mahomes (left) and Jalen Hurts (right) will lead their teams into the Super Bowl with performances that leave doubt about whether the Vikings

5 NFL playoff takeaways: Referees, QBs and context for Kirk Cousins

Among other things gleaned from the conference title games, it was hard to watch them and conclude that the Vikings have a Super Bowl ceiling with Cousins as their quarterback.
Five ways bankruptcy could impact Bally Sports North, fans and teams

Five ways bankruptcy could impact Bally Sports North, fans and teams

Bloomberg reported this week that Diamond Sports, which manages all the Bally Sports regional sports networks, is headed for bankruptcy. What happens next will be interesting.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell throws before an NFL wild card football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Minnea

Five ways O'Connell was snubbed from Coach of the Year finalists

Where's the respect for a first-year coach who improved his team by five wins? Even if the Vikings' Kevin O'Connell isn't the NFL's top coach, you can definitely make arguments that he should be among the top five.
The Vikings celebrated a touchdown during their win over Buffalo in November.

Will the Vikings even be favored to defend NFC North title in 2023?

If you answer "yes," then you probably want them to approach the offseason differently than if you answer "no." But however you arrive at either answer is complicated.
Minnesota Twins’ Nelson Cruz and Miguel Sano, right, hold the Bomba award presented to them by members of the Minneapolis Police bomb squad in 2019.

'Bomba Squad' days end for Twins as they load up on pitching, defense

Of the 10 players who had at least 13 home runs for the record-breaking 2019 Twins, only two are left on the roster — and it could be down to one soon.
In 1984, Les Steckel was named coach of the Minnesota Vikings and Lou Holtz started the first of his two seasons at the University of Minnesota.

The next O'Connell? Could it be the son of a failed Vikings head coach?

Les Steckel was head coach of the Vikings for one disastrous season in the 1980s. Now his son Luke — with an excellent reputation — is working his way up in the NFL coaching ranks.
Tim Brewster in 2009

'Stand tall!' Tim Brewster back to old motivational tactics. 'We coming!'

A video released this week of Brewster in his new role as an assistant to Deion Sanders at Colorado is reminiscent of his time with the Gophers, complete with colorful expressions and high volume.
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah takes questions from reporters Wednesday.

Will the Vikings assess their roster honestly after a 13-4 season?

If the goal in 2022 was a competitive rebuild, the evidence of the season was tilted heavily toward "competitive" and not "rebuild." Will that influence Vikings management as it plans for the future?
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) battles for the puck against Minnesota Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson (32) on Tuesday.

Gustavsson's spectacular save big, consistent play even bigger

The Wild goalie preserved Tuesday's win over Washington with an improbable skate blade stop, but consistent performance has been an ever bigger part of Filip Gustavsson's success.
Minnesota Timberwolves Ownership Group Alex Rodriguez, left, Marc Lore,, second from left, and Glen Taylor, right, pose for a photo with Timberwolves

'I'm here not to mess it up': Recalling Connelly's first words with Wolves

In late May, Tim Connelly was introduced as the Wolves' new President of Basketball Operations. Some of the things he said that day are worth revisiting now.
Justin Jefferson (18) in the final seconds of Sunday’s loss.

Vikings mailbag: How did the Giants shut down Justin Jefferson?

The Vikings star receiver was largely shut down during the critical later moments of Sunday's playoff loss.
Minnesota’s Taurus Samuels, left, is defended by Ohio State’s Sean McNeil during the second half Thursday.

Intimate, intense: 'All Access' TV earns strong reactions from Gophers fans

FS1 gave viewers a different look during the Gophers' 70-67 upset of Ohio State, with both head coaches mic'd up and shown throughout the commercial-free broadcast.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, left, speaks with Giants quarterback Daniel Jones at the end of a game in 2019.

What are others predicting for Vikings? (Hint: It's not pretty)

Try finding anyone picking the Vikings to win more than one playoff game. It's much easier finding national outlets projecting a Giants upset Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell celebrated the first of what turned out to be 13 regular-season wins.

Vikings mailbag: Revisiting RandBall's awful season prediction

An Access Vikings podcast listener wants us to re-listen to our season predictions. One of us already knows that it won't be pretty.
Carlos Correa signed a surprising deal with the Twins last offseason. This year’s return qualifies as a shock.

When shopping at Dior store (or for Correa), check the fine details

The well-known quote from Twins shortstop Carlos Correa takes on a different life after the circuitous nature of his free agency.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers sat on the turf after throwing an interception Sunday.

Was Rodgers' final pass for the Packers an interception?

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his team are in for an interesting offseason.
Carlos Correa played 2022 with the Twins, but this free agency period has been wild.

Should Twins fans get their hopes up again about Carlos Correa?

Reports suggesting the Twins have re-emerged as a possibility to land Correa are intriguing, but they also must be considered in a larger context.
Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin, right, and Wild head coach Dean Evason.

In praise of the Wild's top combo: Guerin and Evason

The Wild have navigated major transitions in the last few years without sacrificing success. General Manager Bill Guerein and coach Dean Evason should get a lot of credit.
Chicago Bears quarterback Nathan Peterman throws during pregame of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Detroit. (

It's never been easier to beat the Bears, but do the Vikings want that?

The Vikings will get to face QB Nathan Peterman and a Bears team with more incentive to lose than win on Sunday. But is going for the No. 2 seed really in their best interests?
Vikings right tackle Brian O’Neill (75) talked with left tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) during a practice last season.

Annual tradition: Offensive line problems a threat to Vikings' success

What looked like an improving group has been beset by injuries. Now it seems like the Vikings' offensive line could be its undoing once again.
Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell greets Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after Sunday’s game.

Vikings attempting the improbable: Ruining this amazing season

A year filled with unexpected joy and unbelievable clutch wins is starting to become overshadowed by dismal performances down the stretch.
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch needs his team to find answers soon.

Lineups and effort tonight will tell us all we need to know about Wolves

Players declined to get into details about what needs to change in the midst of a six-game losing streak. That's OK because we will know everything based on what happens Monday against the Nuggets.
Minnesota Vikings players celebrate against the Dolphins.

Vikings in the playoffs: What are the dream (and nightmare) scenarios?

If the Vikings are going to make a deep postseason run, they will probably need some of the same fortune they've enjoyed during the regular season.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Landmark week for access to Bally Sports North and NFL

FuboTV announced a new carriage agreement with Bally Sports parent company Sinclair, while the NFL announced its Sunday Ticket package is going to YouTube.
KFAN’s Paul Allen shows off a coffee mug he received as a gift that shows a complimentary tweet from LeBron James.

Paul Allen: 'God kind of wired me to be tailor-made for this'

The KFAN personality, Vikings play-by-play voice and Canterbury announcer has built a unique brand across multiple platforms. He talked about how it all fits together on Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast.
Carlos Correa is still leaving — but instead of San Francisco, it’s to New York.

Carlos Correa's stunning switch to Mets adds to Twins' pain — and relief

The free agent changed alliances from the Giants to the Mets overnight, a sign that the Twins were no better than third in the sweepstakes to get him.
Justin Jefferson has been part of a season of joy for the Vikings.

Vikings in midst of rare season: Extremely fun, no strings attached

No matter how this season ends, there have already been enough memories to shape the narrative for years to come.
Are the Twins going up or down with Joey Gallo in 2023?

Gallo sets up Twins for ultimate feast or famine season in 2023

Slugger Joey Gallo strikes out a lot, walks a lot and hits a lot of balls hard when he's at his best. When he's at his worst, he does a lot less of that last one.
Are the Twins setting up for a return to struggles, stumbles of 2012?

Are the Twins setting up for a return to struggles, stumbles of 2012?

A decade ago, the Twins signed pitcher Kevin Correia. This week, the Twins missed out on shortstop Carlos Correa. What could those two things tell us about the past and the future?
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley (22) flexes in front of Los Angeles Clippers guard Reggie Jackson (1) during an NBA basketball game Tues

Report: Beverley has a 'desire to return' to Timberwolves

The nugget in a recent Yahoo sports report is at least an intriguing bit of information for the struggling Wolves, who could perhaps use a jolt of Pat Bev energy.
Minnesota Twins' Carlos Correa reacts after the bottom of the fifth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Saturday, Aug. 27, 202

Five questions for Twins, including: What's your plan now?

After missing out on shortstop Carlos Correa, it sounds as though the Twins will only be minor players in free agency. If that's the case, they have a lot of work to do to win games — and win over fans — in 2023.
Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift (32) rushes against Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II (33) on Sunday.

As Vikings mull defensive changes, ask: What took them so long?

The Vikings defense hasn't been very good for much of the season, but it's seemingly only a crisis now because it actually cost them a game.