Staff Directory 6370614

Michael Rand

Digital sports editor | StarTribune.com
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
Anthony Edwards after Tuesday’s game, answering a question about Alex Rodriguez.

Wolves' Anthony Edwards doesn't know new owner Alex Rodriguez was a baseball star

In a video that went viral, the Wolves' rookie innocently answered a question about Alex Rodriguez — slated to become a new owner of the team.
Dave Thorson

Thorson brings instant in-state recruiting credibility to U men's basketball

The longtime DeLaSalle coach won nine state titles in 23 years. More importantly, he has the relationships in the state of Minnesota that will help the Gophers make more inroads in recruiting.
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Taylor Rogers (55) throws against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

For the love of Taylor Rogers, please make him the Twins closer

Alexander Colome has been up and down — with his mistakes magnified — in the first three series. He will pitch better, but he probably won't pitch as well as the Twins' best reliever: Taylor Rogers.
Magic Johnson, right, greets Alex Rodriguez during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Charlotte Hornets,

Podcast: A-Rod buying the Wolves; Twins bullpen owned by Mariners

Patrick Reusse joins Michael Rand on Daily Delivery after a very newsy weekend in Minnesota sports, which included former MLB star Alex Rodriguez buying the Wolves along with billionaire Marc Lore.
Zach Parise (11) of the Minnesota Wild.

Wild and Parise need a breakup in their uncomfortable relationship

The NHL trade deadline is Monday. If you have followed the chain of events over the last year, it seems that Parise and the Wild would be best off parting ways.
Kirill Kaprizov (97) of the Minnesota Wild shot the puck past the foot of Colorado Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer on Wednesday.

The Wild we saw crush Colorado can absolutely win in the playoffs

An 8-3 win and four power play goals against one of the NHL's best teams provided clarity on what we can expect from the Wild when it reaches the postseason.
Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell (0) lines up a shot Monday.

Russell, Towns, Edwards: A 21-game audition for Wolves' Big Three

It's a 21-game audition for the Wolves' most important trio. Here are five things to watch tonight vs. Indiana and for the rest of the year.
The Tigers walked-off the Twins, with help from MLB’s extra innings rule.

Twins undefeated in games not governed by baseball's dumbest rule

The Twins lost again in extra innings on Tuesday, falling victim to baseball's bad new rule and reminding us that a pitch clock is the thing that would really solve a problem.
Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1) walks on the court at the end of the championship game against Baylor.

Jalen Suggs' bright future has a link to Gophers, Timberwolves

The Gonzaga star from Minnehaha Academy came up one game short of a perfect season and national title. But he's just at the beginning of a career that could influence the future of the Gophers and Wolves as well.
Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater participates in the school’s Pro Day football workout for NFL scouts on March 9.

ESPN analyst predicts Vikings will draft Big Ten offensive lineman

Todd McShay's latest mock draft has Northwestern lineman Rashawn Slater going to the Vikings in the first round. McShay expanded on that during a conference call Monday.
Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1) celebrates making the game winning basket against UCLA.

How Minnesota's Suggs saved the men's college basketball season

It was a dud of a year and a tournament until former Minnehaha Academy standout Jalen Suggs made some magic on Saturday night to get Gonzaga into the title game.
Byron Buxton hit a long home run and walked twice in a strong debut.

Reaction, overreaction: Breaking down the Twins' opener breakdown

What can we question and what can we just chalk up to a single game microscopic sample size after the Twins blew a 5-2 lead in the ninth inning Thursday?
New York Knicks’ Julius Randle (30) drives the ball around Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jaden McDaniels (3) on Wednesday.

Wolves, McDaniels take defensive step against Thibodeau's Knicks

It was a significant performance even in the midst of a lost season with the Wolves rallying to grind out a one-point victory.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has a daunting task this season.

Winning in the playoffs is all that really matters for the Twins, right?

As the Twins prepare to open the season today in Milwaukee, they find themselves at an interesting spot in their trajectory.
Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Evason talks with left wing Kevin Fiala (22) during Monday’s game.

Wild is entering dangerous territory if it doesn't improve its play

Minnesota has been outshot and outplayed badly in recent games, but has managed to win despite that. The Wild won't be so lucky if that continues.
Q&A: Bally Sports North GM Dimond on streaming, rebrand and more

Q&A: Bally Sports North GM Dimond on streaming, rebrand and more

Longtime Fox Sports North executive Mike Dimond joined Daily Delivery on Tuesday to talk about the rebrand to Bally Sports North and what that means to viewers.
Nets forward Blake Griffin (2) has played in three games with Brooklyn so far.

NBA buyout market is a farce that hurts teams like the Timberwolves

As the Wolves prepare to face the Nets — flush with buyout additions Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge — it's another reminder of the NBA's stacked deck.
Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Did the Timberwolves lay groundwork for a John Collins trade?

The timing made less and less sense for a deal with Atlanta as the deadline approached. But that doesn't mean talks can't resume in a couple months.
Indiana’s Race Thompson (25) is one of several players with Minnesota ties in the transfer portal.

Obsessed by the transfer portal, RandBall explains the fascination

The Gophers and new coach Ben Johnson figure to be major players in the transfer market. That's nothing new at the U, but now the quest is being aided by a turbo-charged form of college free agency.
Minnesota Twins rookie Alex Kirilloff got his first hit in the fourth inning.

Podcast: Twins' dilemma, Wolves' deadline, RandBall's new love

Baseball writer Phil Miller joins the Daily Delivery for a look at the Twins one week before the start of the regular season. Plus the NBA trade deadline and college 'free agency.'
New Gophers men’s basketball coach Ben Johnson was introduced to the media at a press conference at the U of M on Tuesday morning.

Ben Johnson: 'If you can shoot the basketball, I'm going to love you'

The new Gophers coach joined the Daily Delivery podcast to talk about his recruiting philosophy. Last year's Gophers took a lot of threes but didn't make a lot. He aims to fix that.
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch.

Edwards has 'high ceiling' but needs to 'learn some habits,' says Finch

In a wide-ranging interview, new Timberwolves coach Chris Finch talked about his new job, the team's recent improvement and No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards.
Minnesota Gophers head coach Lindsay Whalen has had success recruiting in the state.

Whalen's advice for Johnson: 'Grow and foster relationships' in state

New Gophers men's basketball coach Ben Johnson is going to get a lot of unsolicited advice in the coming days, weeks and months. But this is a voice he should heed.
Ben Johnson during a 2003 game with the Gophers.

How can Johnson succeed? By recruiting players like himself

The new Gophers head coach chose Northwestern coming out of DeLaSalle but later transferred to the U. So can Ben Johnson attract players like . . . Ben Johnson?
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph caught the winning touchdown over New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams in overtime of the 2019 playoff

Rudolph wants to be 'overachiever' with Giants, not settle for mediocrity

Former Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is joining his new team after a decade in purple, and is hoping to see his pass-catching numbers rebound.
Three things to watch: Wolves trade, Wild response, Vikings extensions

Three things to watch: Wolves trade, Wild response, Vikings extensions

There are two times of great convergence on the sports calendar: late March and early October. It's going to be an eventful week in Minnesota sports even for teams that aren't playing.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins

Catch-2022: Kirk Cousins' $45 million was guaranteed Friday

Cousins has played reasonably well in his three seasons with the Vikings. But he and agent have played the contract game even better.
Dan Bailey after missing a kick and Ryan Longwell after making one.

'It's an entire operation.' Ex-Viking Longwell takes on team's kicking problems.

The ex-Vikings kicker, who made 86% of his field goals with the team, tells what's wrong. "There are reasons a guy like Dan Bailey goes from making 10, 15 or 20 kicks in a row to missing."
Lindsay Whalen gave a pat on the back to guard Sara Scalia after a loss to Indiana this season.

Whalen: Team made progress but is 'emotionally and mentally drained'

Gophers women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen joined the Daily Delivery podcast to talk about the challenges of her third season with the team.
Richard Pitino in 2013 when, at age 30, he was introduced as the Gophers head coach.

Five questions in the wake of Richard Pitino's firing as Gophers coach

The Gophers will try to reach another level with their next hire. Can they get there? Or is that an unrealistic goal?
Clockwise from left: Kirill Kaprizov of the Wild, Crystal Dangerfield of the Lynx, Anthony Edwards of the Wolves and Justin Jefferson of the Vikings.

Kaprizov leads a new golden age of young Minnesota athletes

It's a great time to get in on the ground floor with potential young stars across all of Minnesotan's major pro sports teams.
Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Riley Reiff (71) was cut earlier this week. (AP Photo/David Berding)

Will the Vikings end up regretting cutting Riley Reiff?

The tackle was here for four seasons. On an offensive line that often had question marks, he was a relatively stable and consistent presence.
Best-case and worst-case scenarios for Wolves in second half

Best-case and worst-case scenarios for Wolves in second half

At 7-29 at the break, the Wolves have the worst record in the NBA. From here, there is a volatile range of possibilities set to unfold over the next few months.
Vikings kickers under Mike Zimmer include (clockwise from top left): Dan Bailey, Daniel Carlson, Blair Walsh and Kai Forbath.

Kicking woes have been at the heart of Vikings struggles under Zimmer

The release of Dan Bailey on Tuesday was just the latest spin on a kicking carousel that has been a constant of Mike Zimmer's coaching tenure in Minnesota.
Minnesota Wild left wing Marcus Foligno greeted head coach Dean Evason during a practice. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com

Foligno suddenly a goal machine (and lets rookie Kaprizov know it)

On Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast, Wild veteran Marcus Foligno talked about a number of subjects, including Zach Parise's benching and Foligno's scoring outburst this season.
Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins, center top, is reportedly coveted by the Timberwolves.

Trade target: Can the Timberwolves really get Atlanta's John Collins?

After a report emerged last week, speculation naturally followed. Can the Wolves make this work and acquire a needed power forward?
Byron Buxton, Andrelton Simmons and Josh Donaldson are considered three of the elite defensive players in the major leagues.

Glove wizards: Buxton, Simmons, Donaldson can help Twins save runs

The trio has had health concerns. But if they can stay on the field together for a reasonable part of the season, they could be worth 50 runs saved.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18)

Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson: 'I don't run from competition'

After 1,400 receiving yards as a rookie, Jefferson wants even more. Super Bowl contention. Growing his game. And ultimately a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Zach Parise

After benching Parise, Wild's path forward will become clearer tonight

Will the decision to make the veteran a healthy scratch on Wednesday make the Wild stronger or will Minnesota go in the other direction?
Kirk Cousins

If Vikings aren't trading Cousins, at least don't extend his contract

GM Rick Spielman was pretty definitive in shooting down offseason trade speculation about the Vikings QB. Michael Rand counters with a plea for the team's future.
Twins Senior Vice President and General Manager Thad Levine and Executive Vice President and Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey ANTHONY SOUFFLE • a

Can GM Thad Levine convince you the Twins will win in October?

Levine's argument bangs head-on into the Twins ugly history of having lost 18 playoff games in a row dating back to 2004.
Ricky Rubio is clearly frustrated with losing, but what else is going on?

Ricky Rubio is clearly frustrated with losing, but what else is going on?

The Wolves guard's comments after Sunday's loss to Phoenix were suggestive of a player who isn't happy. A look at a deeper message in his words.
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch spoke to his team.

For Wolves and Gophers, three-point math doesn't add up

Both teams shoot a lot of threes but don't make a lot of threes. If you're looking for a common cause of defeat, start there.
Q&A: Where are we with streaming? What should a Minnesota fan do?

Q&A: Where are we with streaming? What should a Minnesota fan do?

An interview with Jason Gurwin of the Streamable on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast gives you a lay of the land on where things stand with trying to stream regional sports networks.
Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery during a game in 2019.

Ex-Lynx guard Montgomery becomes part owner of Atlanta team

The team was sold after former Sen. Kelly Loeffler came under fire from players in the league. Messaging from players played a role in Loeffler's U.S. Senate defeat.
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas, left, and Anthony Edwards

The Timberwolves want to play fast. Here's the question: Why?

The Wolves already play fast and have struggled doing it. Even if that's the way President Gersson Rosas wants them to play in the future, it's hurting them in the present.
Russell Wilson would consider going to four teams, including ... the Bears?

Russell Wilson would consider going to four teams, including ... the Bears?

Wilson's messy offseason in Seattle got a little more interesting Thursday. The Seahawks QB reportedly isn't demanding a trade, but he's saying where he'd be willing to go.
Ex-Gopher Brock Vereen tells you everything about getting drafted in the NFL

Ex-Gopher Brock Vereen tells you everything about getting drafted in the NFL

"If you meet with the Patriots, they're going to ask you the toughest questions ever." Vereen joined the Daily Delivery podcast to describe what fans don't see or hear.
Vikings coach Jerry Burns, Herschel Walker and general manger Mile Lynn. Photo: Brian Peterson, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Deshaun Watson to Vikings proposal sounds like Herschel Walker deal

Every proposed deal suggested by national media members adds more parts the Vikings would seemingly need to give up.
The Twins are hoping to have 10,000 fans at Target Field after no in-person attendance in 2020. JEFF WHEELER • jeff.wheeler@startribune.com

If Twins can have 10,000 fans at Target Field, would you be one of them?

The return to in-person attendance is going to be a fascinating question in 2021. Both for fans and for Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who will be the one making the call on the team's proposals.
Timberwolves President of Operations, Gersson Rosas, left, and D’Angelo Russell at news conference last February after Russell was traded to Minneso

With Saunders fired and Finch hired, all eyes turn to Wolves offense

Gersson Rosas has remade the Wolves' roster and has hand-picked his coach. Now it's time to see if his vision on offense is correct.
Masai Ujiri, the Raptors’ president of basketball operations, has made a lot of bold moves, such as hiring Teresa Resch as a VP.

Teresa Resch: The Minnesotan who helps make the NBA's Raptors great

Resch, a Lakefield, Minn., native, is the vice president of basketball operations for the forward-thinking Raptors. "I've been here eight seasons and I think it's taken eight seasons to figure out how to describe what I do."
The Colts gave up two draft picks to acquire Carson Wentz from the Eagles.

Wentz trade for two draft picks naturally leads to Kirk Cousins thoughts

You can see how the deal makes sense for both the Eagles and Colts. Does it have anything to do with the Vikings?
LeBron James (23) of the Los Angeles Lakers hugged Minnesota Timberwolves Anthony Edwards (1) at the end of the game.

Anthony Edwards: 'Work comes first, and the goals and accomplishments come later'

Love from LeBron one day and an oh-so-close try for a game-winning shot the next. We got a sneak peak at the ideal future for the Wolves on Tuesday, even in a loss to the Lakers. A visit with Anthony Edwards on the Daily Delivery podcast.
Fans watched the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Twins at Hammond Stadium prior to last year’s spring training being shut down. (Carlos Gonzalez/Star

Twins head into spring two pitchers short of true contention

Projections about how the Twins will fare in 2021 are generally optimistic. But if the roster is basically the same at the end of the season as it is now, RandBall writes that it's hard to see how the October streak of ineptitude ends.
DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes for a 42 yard touchdown during the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Champio

Would the Vikings take another wide receiver? One mock draft says yes

On the long list of things the Vikings need in order to upgrade their overall performance, the offensive line and defensive line help are top priorities. But what if they addressed a 'want' instead of a 'need' with their first pick.
Jordan McLaughlin (6), who hit two clutch free throws to close out the game,  drives past Toronto Raptors’ Norman Powell.

In game-clinching sequence, Wolves learn from a previous mistake

A strong overall effort was about to go to waste — right up until the Wolves changed the narrative during Sunday's victory over Toronto.
Craig Finn of The Hold Steady performs in 2014.

Craig Finn: Busted with fake Twins playoff tickets and a World Series dream

The Hold Steady's frontman on his creative process, the band's new release and what happens when you show up at Yankee Stadium after buying counterfeit tickets.
J.J. Watt’s release from the Texans could have an impact on Deshaun Watson’s future and create an interesting trade market for Kirk Cousins.

Watt leaving Houston; why that matters in any Deshaun Watson trade

What does this mean if you're a Vikings fan? That depends on how far into the Kirk Cousins trade swirl you want to go.
Gersson Rosas chatted with D’Angelo Russell before a Wolves game last season soon after the team picked him up in a trade.

NBA expert: Wolves should listen to just about every trade offer

Around this time last year, Wolves President Gersson Rosas remade the team's roster with a flurry of trades at the NBA deadline. Is it time to try again?
Minnesota Twins Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Graver and Rocco Baldelli posed for a photo with their awards before the start of a game.

Blame the Bomba Squad? MLB messing with the baseball again.

Transparency on this issue has been sorely lacking, particularly in recent years, about the game's soaring number of home runs.
The NFL rumor mill around quarterback trades has never been this active. The latest QB that Vikings fans could dream of acquiring? Russell Wilson.

Now Vikings fans get to obsess about trading for Russell Wilson

The Seahawks QB was asked Tuesday if he's available in a trade. His answer: "That's a Seahawks question." Is this just blowing smoke, or is there a fire blazing here.
St. Thomas main rival for decades has been St. John’s, but it’s worth considering what kind of rivalries they’ll build with the Gophers now that

Is there a Gophers vs. Tommies sports rivalry in our future?

St. Thomas expects gains in visibility and exposure from moving up to Division I. Will the Tommies be able to build a rivalry with the U, at least some key sports?
Cleveland Cavaliers’ JaVale McGee, center, drives to the basket against Minnesota Timberwolves’ Naz Reid, left, and Jaden McDaniels , right.

Youngest Wolves have been the best Wolves, which is good and bad

The heartbeat of a young team has been its young core, which is promising for the future — but troubling if you're looking for success in the moment.
Minnesota Vikings new quarterback Kirk Cousins, right, is welcomed to the podium by head coach Mike Zimmer after signing in 2018.

Zimmer tries to douse QB gossip, says Cousins is 'our guy'

During a Friday appearance on NFL Network, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer reiterated that the team is quite happy with Kirk Cousins.
Brett Favre and Vikings coach Brad Childress were all smiles after Favre’s first day of practice in 2010.

Brad Childress on Mahomes, Rodgers, Favre, Cousins and his biggest regret

In a wide-ranging interview on the Daily Delivery podcast, the former Vikings head coach gave his assessments of some of the most important quarterbacks in your world.
Randy Moss leaves the field at Giant Stadium after the Vikings were beaten by the New York Giants 41-0.

For Vikings fans, a new way to look at that '41-donut' playoff disaster

Do you ever stare at the past for so long that you start to wonder if what you remember actually happened?
Yes, there's now a bobblehead of Tom Kelly wearing Zubaz, smoking a cigar

Yes, there's now a bobblehead of Tom Kelly wearing Zubaz, smoking a cigar

The iconic photo of former the former Twins manager loading a ball into a pitching machine for batting practice has morphed into a bobblehead.
Over the past two seasons, Nelson Cruz has hit 57 home runs, the second highest mark in the American League behind Mike Trout (62). It’s hard to ima

It's hard to imagine the Twins' lineup without Nelson Cruz

It was becoming increasingly likely that the Twins would need to think about life without Cruz. But now that won't be an issue going into the 2021 season.
Maybe it’s the absence of fans or the absence of veteran teammates, but Ricky Rubio’s return to Minnesota hasn’t benefited the point guard or th

Rubio and the Timberwolves aren't giving each other what they need

Twenty games into this largely disappointing season, two things are true: What Ricky Rubio envisioned of the Wolves has yet to materialize, and vice-versa.
Stubborn? LaFleur still insists kicking late FG was right call

Stubborn? LaFleur still insists kicking late FG was right call

If you thought the second-guessing about coach Matt LaFleur's fourth-quarter decision against Tampa Bay had an impact, you are 100% incorrect.
Patrick Mahomes: The perfect quarterback

Mahomes the perfect quarterback to win back-to-back Super Bowls

The rare combination of a great but inexpensive quarterback is driving Kansas City to greatness, and also creates a question about the relationship between the Vikings and Kirk Cousins.
Deshaun Watson has asked for a trade out of Houston, but even if the Vikings have the assets to acquire the star quarterback that doesn’t mean they

The Vikings could trade for Deshaun Watson, but should they?

It's rare that a quarterback of his age and skill set would become available.
The Timberwolves decision to draft Anthony Edwards over James Wiseman is already looking questionable, though both players have a long way to go in th

Forget Flynn vs. Curry, the Wolves have three new Golden State problems

The fallout from last year's mega-trade and draft will follow these teams for years. Early returns favor the Warriors.
A report in the Wall Street Journal says that Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred wants to delay or shorten the 2021 season. Why would

Why does MLB want to delay or shorten season again? Follow the money

Health reasons might be valid, but as usual that's not driving this story.