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Sid Hartman

Columnist | Sports
Phone: 612-673-4452
Recent content from Sid Hartman
Adam Thielen has 29 catches for 364 yards in five games this season; he had 30 for 418 in 10 games for the entire 2019 season.

Hartman: Thielen says Vikings have the talent to bounce back from 1-4

Making the playoffs after a 1-4 start undoubtedly will be a challenge for the Vikings , but there's no doubt this offense has enough weapons to go on a big winning streak starting Sunday against the Falcons.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Coach P.J. Fleck and the Gophers will have a huge challenge opening the season with Michigan at TCF Bank Stadium next week,…
Ryan Saunders' Timberwolves were one of 22 teams not invited to the NBA playoff bubble.

Hartman: Wolves coach Saunders navigated difficult first season

It's hard to think of a more difficult rookie coaching season than the one Ryan Saunders just went through with the Timberwolves.
Russell Wilson dropped back and threw the game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds to play.

Hartman: Back-and-forth loss at Seattle is as hard as it gets

The 27-26 loss at Seattle on Sunday night has to qualify as one of the most difficult regular-season losses the Vikings have ever suffered.
Longtime Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was the Vikings defensive backs coach under Bud Grant from 1985-89.

Hartman: Seattle's Carroll won't overlook 1-3 Vikings

Pete Carroll has his Seahawks looking like one of the best teams in football at 4-0, but the former Vikings defensive backs coach knows better than to overlook Mike Zimmer.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • St. Thomas graduate John Schneider is in his ninth season as the general manager of the Seattle Seahawks after spending eight seasons with the…
Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones

Hartman: Daronte Jones leads young Vikings cornerbacks

Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones has had to guide a lot of inexperienced players but has a great mentor in Mike Zimmer.
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen (19) and quarterback Kirk Cousins celebrated after they connected on a pass for a touchdown Sunday in Houston.

Hartman: Vikings show some fight, save their season in Houston

Coach Mike Zimmer's team on Sunday saved its season in a game it had to have. And right now, you see a club that can compete for a playoff spot and is getting better each game.
With two more touchdowns Sunday, Dalvin Cook has scored four in three games; only two NFL players have more this season

Hartman: Vikings running backs can turn season around

The 0-3 Vikings entered Week 4 ranked eighth in the league at 146.7 rushing yards per game and No. 1 overall with 6.03 yards per rush.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS• Pro Football Focus on Vikings rookie receiver Justin Jefferson's breakout game in Week 3: "Jefferson was the highest-graded wideout of the week and should…
Twins players watched from the dugout in the ninth inning.

Hartman: Twins run into familiar end to unfamiliar season

Despite their playoff loss, the Twins did well to navigate in a pandemic and win the AL Central.
Hartman: Twins, Vikings have different fortunes at home

Hartman: Twins, Vikings have different fortunes at home

The Twins this season set a club mark for home winning percentage while the Vikings have opened winless at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Jeff Gladney is only 5-10, which is short for a cornerback, but he has a 6-3 nch wingspan that makes up for a lack of height.

Hartman: Vikings asking a lot of skilled-position rookies

If the Vikings want to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2013, when they finished 5-10-1 in Leslie Frazier's final season, they're going to need some rookies to step up in a big way.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on Titans QB Ryan Tannehill, who has the No. 4 passer rating in football. “I think the biggest…
Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan finished last season as the No. 4-ranked quarterback in the country in passer efficiency at 178.7.

Hartman: U can change fortunes in openers vs. Michigan, Ohio State

Gophers have a chance to defy fortunes against the Wolverines this year and the Buckeyes in 2021.
Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs

Hartman: Cousins gets the blame but Vikings' offense misses Diggs

If anyone thinks Kirk Cousins is the biggest problem on this Vikings team, they don't know football.
Kevin Warren says the Big Ten is better as a conference than it was when he took over as commissioner on Jan. 2.

Hartman: Big Ten's Warren stays thoughtful in unprecedented year

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren took over for Jim Delany on Jan. 2 of this year and since then has dealt with situations that no commissioner has ever dealt with.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Twins starter Kenta Maeda is fourth in the American League in ERA (2.52), tied for eighth in innings (60⅔), first in WHIP (0.76)…
The stands sat empty in accordance with COVID-19 regulations as the Twins took on the Indians on Sept. 12, part of a three-game sweep by the Twins.

Hartman: Twins winning at historic pace at home, but reward will be minimal

The Twins' .808 winning percentage at Target Field won't make a difference if they advance to the neutral-site playoffs.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers handed the ball off to Aaron Jones in the fourth quarter.

Hartman: Packers controlled the ball, and the game against Vikings

It's becoming a familiar pattern, with Aaron Rodgers keeping the Vikings offense off the field.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, right, met Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers after a 23-10 Packers victory last Dec. 23.

Hartman: Cousins motivated after Packers left him feeling ill

Aaron Rodgers has gotten the better of Kirk Cousins and the Vikings — going 2-1-1 against the Purple since 2018, including two dominant victories in 2019.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Packers wideout Allen Lazard starred at Iowa State and has some experience against the Vikings cornerbacks from his Big 12 days. “I actually…
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hands the ball off during the second half vs. the Vikings last season.

Hartman: Zimmer lacks usual info about Packers going into Sunday's game

With no preseason games this year in the NFL because of the virus, scouting teams has been difficult, but the Vikings know Sunday's foe well.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito celebrates with catcher James McCann after closing out a no-hitter on Aug. 25

Hartman: Key week of games coming up for Twins

Cleveland and White Sox are competitive, and the Twins will face both teams in the next week in games that will help shape the postseason.
Unlike when the Vikings and Packers played the first NFL regular-season game in U.S. Bank Stadium on Sept. 18, 2016, there won’t be fans in the stan

Hartman: Facing Packers will restore some normalcy for Vikings

After an ever-changing offseason, Mike Zimmer's team will welcome familiar routines.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Vikings wideout Adam Thielen on getting ready for a regular-season game against the Packers next week without a single preseason game: “You better…
Hartman: Cousins, like Moss, just being honest in controversial quote

Hartman: Cousins, like Moss, just being honest in controversial quote

Kirk Cousins' quote about COVID-19 lit up social media this week, but some of the context was missed - just as Randy Moss' words in 2001.
Rick Spielman and Derek Falvey.

Hartman: Vikings, Twins differ on approach to trades this season

Vikings' deal for Ngakoue was necessary; Twins could afford to wait for injured players to return.
New Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady will be watched closely by offensive consultant Tom Moore, an Owatonna native.

Hartman: With Tom Moore coaching Tom Brady, a historic career continues

The Minnesota native is getting paired with another Hall of Fame quarterback this year.
Elgin Baylor signed with the Lakers, and team president Bob Short, in 1958.

Hartman: In 1959, Lakers star Baylor refused to play to protest racism

Elgin Baylor sat out a neutral-site game in segregated West Virginia after being refused food service.
Hartman: Zimmer, Fleck face uneven playing field due to league choices

Hartman: Zimmer, Fleck face uneven playing field due to league choices

The NFL and NCAA are putting the local head coaches in a bind because there is no consensus on what is or isn't allowed for each team or conference.
Kevin Stefanski is head coach of the Cleveland Browns at age 38. His rise to that position was boosted by his time with the Vikings, going back to 200

Hartman: Stefanski takes his story of success to Cleveland

Kevin Stefanski went from being a personal assistant to Vikings coach Brad Childress in 2006 to becoming the coach of an NFL squad 14 years later. It is as impressive as any coaching rise in the league.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Pro Football Focus ran a 2021 NFL mock draft and had Gophers wideout Rashod Bateman going No. 24 overall to the Packers. PFF…
The other time the Wolves had the No. 1 overall draft pick, they drafted Karl-Anthony Towns, who went on to become the NBA's Rookie of the Year.

Hartman: Wolves get break they needed by winning NBA draft lottery

Winning the NBA draft lottery and getting the first pick is a bright spot in a really tough year for the Timberwolves franchise.
Andre Patterson

Hartman: Don't be surprised if new-look Vikings defense is even better

There's been plenty of turnover, especially in the Vikings' secondary, but others are ready to step in.
Gersson Rosas talked to D’Angelo Russell, one of the key players he brought in as he restructured the Timberwolves.

Hartman: Rosas proud of Wolves' response to difficult year

Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas knows this has been a franchise-altering offseason, even though those changes haven't necessarily been on the court.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • The Vikings’ Mike Zimmer on the idea that he’s an old-school coach: “I know everybody says I’m old school and this and that,…
Vikings safety Harrison Smith celebrated after recovering a fumble vs. the Chargers in Los Angeles.

Hartman: Vikings' Smith faces challenge of mentoring young defensive backs

The five-time Pro Bowl safety will show the ropes to newer players as training camp begins.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck shook hands with Athletic Director Mark Coyle following a win over Illinois last season.

Hartman: Big Ten 2020 football season likely gone for good

Spring football is under consideration, but more top athletes will opt out to prepare for NFL draft.
Wes Johnson — here with All-Star Jose Berrios at Target Field last month — was a surprise hire as Twins pitching coach but has delivered results i

Hartman: Unproven Wes Johnson shows he's right for Twins pitching staff

The Twins front office and manager Rocco Baldelli took a chance when they brought in Wes Johnson last season. The gamble has already paid off.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he is not a patient man, but he knows he is going to have to be patient this…
Jaleel Johnson sacked Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in the second quarter last December

Hartman: Vikings' tackle Johnson could bring big help to new-look defense

With the Vikings losing several veterans, 2017 fourth-round draft pick Jaleel Johnson could emerge in a larger role this season.
Twins starting pitcher Kenta Maeda

Hartman: Twins' depth makes them a World Series contender

Through smart deals and development, the franchise has assembled a fine collection of talent.
Mike Zimmer celebrated the Vikings’ 42-30 victory at Detroit with Kirk Cousins in October. Both had unclear futures entering the offseason, but now

Hartman: Zimmer, Cousins right duo for Vikings' title hopes

The Vikings' decision to give contract extensions to quarterback Kirk Cousins and coach Mike Zimmer this offseason mean that this club has made its decision on who can lead it to a Super Bowl.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Hall of Fame football coach Tony Dungy told Sirius XM Radio that he sees a lot of similarities between Gophers coach P.J. Fleck…
The sun sets behind a silhouette of the Minneapolis skyline as Vikings plays took the field during a game last season.

Hartman: Coronavirus may shrink Vikings' home-field advantage

Since the team moved into U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016, they have posted a 23-9 record at home, a number matched only by the Eagles and Saints for the best home mark in the NFC.
Cleveland starting pitcher Shane Bieber delivers in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals on July 24.

Hartman: Cleveland's pitching will be tough challenge for Twins

A rivalry pitting a strong Cleveland rotation vs. potent Twins offense could become a highlight of the season.
There might not be any NBA in the Twin Cities today if it weren’t for the efforts of Glen Taylor, here watching a Wolves game with wife Becky at Tar

Hartman: Taylor's local ties saved professional basketball in Minnesota

If Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor finds a suitable buyer to meet his demands and his asking price for the club, it will end one of the most important pro sports tenures in state history.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Giving Mike Zimmer a new contract was a no-brainer for the Vikings. The coach’s new deal will keep him with the team through…
Dave St. Peter

Hartman: St. Peter says focus on playing entire season, winning title

The Twins will play in an environment very different from previous seasons, and that's not lost on anybody within our club, president Dave St. Peter said.
Vikings head trainer Eric Sugarman, during training camp in 2017.

Hartman: Twins, Vikings medical staffs staying on top of virus protocols

The Vikings' protocols and safety measures are already being studied by people around the NFL; the Twins effort is being led by a Mayo Clinic physician.
Getting Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins signed to a $66 million extension was one of Rob Brzezinski’s main offseason goals.

Hartman: Salary cap wizard Brzezinski helps Vikings keep Cousins

The Vikings opened this offseason in one of their toughest salary cap spots in recent memory, with the least cap space in the NFL. Rob Brzezinski led the way as the team made a ton of moves to get some relief.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said the club has been pleased with the physical strength of the pitchers in camp: “I think…
Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson celebrated after hitting a home run in a scrimmage at Target Field on July 9

Hartman: This Twins lineup is best in franchise history

The Twins have had better hitters on their rosters over the years, with greats such as Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, Joe Mauer and Rod Carew. But from top to bottom, this club is hard to beat.
Gary Kubiak, left, and Dom Capers.

Hartman: Capers, Kubiak help Zimmer evaluate talent, schemes

The addition of experienced coaches give the Vikings a fresh look at how they do things on offense and defense.
Max Meyer was considered the eighth-best prep prospect in Minnesota in 2017. Then he played for the Gophers and became the No. 3 overall pick in the M

Hartman: Meyer likely to go straight from Gophers to majors

The Woodbury native has a chance to do something that very few players in the history of baseball have accomplished: Skip the minor leagues
Alexander Mattison proved to be a capable backup to Dalvin Cook in his rookie season, rushing for 462 yards and one touchdown for the Vikings.

Hartman: Vikings need to develop depth

The backups on the roster are lacking experience.
Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle hasn’t exactly waited patiently for athletes to return: “I wish everyone was back yesterday," he said.

Hartman: Coyle says university is ready for return of athletes

The list of athletic and medical experts the Gophers have to draw on is large because the University of Minnesota has such a well-respected academic roster
Gary Kubiak was doused with Gatorade four years ago when he won the NFL's ultimate prize as head coach of the Denver Broncos, who beat Carolina 24-10

Hartman: Kubiak's history gives Vikings big advantage in virtual offseason

There was no doubt when Gary Kubiak joined the Vikings last season that he was going to play a big part in the offensive game plan, no matter what his title would be.
In this April 5, 2018, file photo, a flyover of four Air Force jets comes over Target Field after the national anthem as the Mariners and the Twins li

Hartman: Twins ready to play ball, St. Peter says

"We left spring training in March with a really good baseball team, a team poised to take an additional step or two toward the pursuit of a world championship," Dave St. Peter said.
Tanner Morgan says the Gophers offense will benefit from having nine of 11 starters return from last year’s 11-2 team.

Hartman: Gophers looking for more Morgan magic this season

Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan is 15-4 as a starter, indicating his importance to the team.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS• There is no better promoter of the game of golf than Hollis Cavner, the executive director of the 3M Open, so you have to be…
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

Hartman: Vikings can't bank on 2020 free agents for much help

It's hard to think of any season in recent memory when the Vikings brought in such a small free-agent class as they did this offseason.
Twins owner Jim Pohlad took questions from fans during Twins Fest in January.

Hartman: Twins owner Pohlad knows MLB needs to return to play soon

Twins owner Pohlad said communication with the commissioner's office has been steady with the club, but not directly between himself and Rob Manfred.
Tony Dungy’s time with the Gophers and in the NFL has led to awards received, but he’s more of a giver than a taker.

Hartman: Dungy's success story stands atop Gophers list

The former player and coach's voice is clear and forceful on matters of racism.
Garrett Bradbury prepared to snap the ball to quarterback Kirk Cousins during the first day of training for Vikings rookies last July.

Hartman: Vikings growth on offensive line key 2020 factor

Center Garrett Bradbury said that the continuity from last season should put the team at a big advantage when it ends its virtual training camp and gets back on the field in July.
Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes stopped a pass intended for Dallas wide receiver Michael Gallup

Hartman: Hughes, drafted in 2018, has most seniority among Vikings cornerbacks

That Mike Hughes is the most veteran cornerback shows that the group will have a lot of learning to do when Vikings camp opens.
Ifeadi Odenigbo recovered a fumble in December, one play in a season in which the Vikings gave up only 303 points.

Hartman: Vikings set standard high on defense despite big change

Last year the Vikings ranked second in the NFC, allowing 303 points. Still, a lot of people around the club, including Mike Zimmer, felt the team could use a fresh start on defense.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren has created the Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition for student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, chancellors and presidents…
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck

Hartman: U football doesn't sacrifice values while recruiting top talent

The Gophers have five four-star football recruits, and they definitely stand out. But coach P.J. Fleck also looks for high character.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook.

Hartman: Vikings must find a way to pay Cook

Dalvin Cook is signed through 2020, but he'll be looking for a big payday: he's only the 39th-highest-paid running back in the NFL.
Armed policemen watched and waited along Plymouth Avenue in July 1967

Hartman: Unrest in Minneapolis echoes summer of '67

Two Vikings players, guard Milt Sunde and linebacker Ron Acks, were in the National Guard and got called up to help calm the riots in Minneapolis during the summer of 1967.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman on how the team is staying healthy during virtual meetings: “It’s just a matter of staying in communication…
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

Hartman: Zimmer refreshed for challenge of rebuilding defense

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has faith in the talent the team has to fill the holes left by departed starters.
During this game on December 30, Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders disputed a call against the Brooklyn Nets

Hartman: Wolves might prefer to not have NBA season resume

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will hold an important call with the league Thursday to talk about returning to action. Here's why the Wolves may not want the games to resume.