• Before signing with the Vikings, Kirk Cousins spent time in town during Super Bowl week. He visited the Gophers football team and coach P.J. Fleck, who has known Cousins for a few years. “I know our team enjoyed his message,” Fleck said. “He is a winner in every sense of the word and exudes positivity and professionalism. He is exactly the kind of person you want around your program and leading a team. I am so excited he is a Viking.”
• At his news conference Thursday, Cousins said he had a great relationship with Michigan State assistant coach Brad Salem, the son of former Gophers coach Joe Salem, as they worked together for two years with the Spartans.
• Fleck talked about how Gophers defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. has looked this spring: “[He] has done a phenomenal job, he is really improving every single day. You can see the development mentally with him, just in terms of bring in the system. He’s so much more comfortable in the system. He’s playing a lot faster.” Winfield will most likely get a medical redshirt for last season.
• Karl-Anthony Towns on if the Timberwolves can make the playoffs in a tight Western Conference even if fellow All-Star Jimmy Butler isn’t back for the regular season: “Absolutely, there’s not a doubt in my mind. But for us, we have to get back all around to what we are in the playoffs, and not be a first-round-and-out team.”
• While the Vikings have the eighth-hardest strength of schedule in the NFL in 2018, they are tied for the easiest schedule in the NFC North with the Bears. The Packers have the toughest schedule in the league and the Lions are second.
• Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino has one scholarship left for the Class of 2018 and is targeting St. Louis’ Courtney Ramey, the 40th-ranked player in the country. It would be an unbelievable get if the Gophers could land the four-star point guard.