• Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on the improvements he has seen from defensive lineman and former Louisiana State standout Danielle Hunter: “Danielle has a terrific athletic skill set in the fact that he’s got long arms, speed and strength. He’s an extremely hard worker and he’s going to work a lot on his hand placement and his long arm when he uses that.”


• Former Vikings special teams standout Cordarrelle Patterson grabbed his first touchdown reception for the Raiders in the preseason, a 17-yard score in a 24-20 loss to the Cowboys in Dallas on Aug. 26. He finished that game with four receptions for 30 yards. He also returned two kickoffs for 48 yards.


• The Gophers’ first big test in the nonconference schedule might not come Saturday at Oregon State, a team that finished 4-8 last season and lost its opener 58-27 at Colorado State, but rather when they square off against Middle Tennessee on Sept. 16. The Blue Raiders finished 8-5 last season and lost 52-35 to Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl.


• Twins President Dave St. Peter said the team hopes to revamp two entrances to improve crowd flow at Target Field. “There has always been a pinch point in the right-field corner where Gate 29 and Gate 34 come together and we’re going to try to widen that concourse by as much as 40 feet,” he said. “I think that is going to be a huge improvement for fans coming in and out of the ballpark. Not really revenue-driven improvement, but just more of a fan improvement.”


• No one questions Harrison Smith has great talent at safety, but the Vikings standout said he is looking to get better after having no interceptions last season for the first time in his career. “There is a lot of areas that I want to improve on and make a bigger impact in games,” he said. “I didn’t get my hands on the ball very much last year, so that’s something I want to do this year.”