• Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat announced his retirement this past week, and his leadership in getting the Hennepin County sales tax to build Target Field will go down as a historic achievement. It has been such a success that the stadium is going to paid off much faster than expected. That money has also helped fund libraries and youth sports.

• Twins President Dave St. Peter on the start of spring training: "We feel we have unfinished business and I can tell you that everybody in our organization is incredibly excited to get going."

• Forbes put out its NBA franchise valuations last week and the Timberwolves ranked No. 28 at $1.375 billion, a 9% increase from 2019.

• One reason the Jets might cut star linebacker Avery Williamson is because they believe former Gophers standout Blake Cashman could be a starter. Cashman had 38 tackles in seven games last season before landing on injured reserve with a torn labrum.

• Vikings co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson on how the defense will move forward if it loses key players this offseason: "We've proven since we've been here that we've been able to take players and develop them into players that can win in this league. However [General Manager] Rick [Spielman] and the front office decides we need to do this in order to give our team a chance to win, I accept the challenge and I'm very comfortable that we'll get it done."

• Former Gophers teammates Austin Hollins and Colton Iverson are playing together for Zenit in Russia, which ranks as the 46th-best team in Europe. Hollins is averaging 9.3 points while Iverson is averaging 5.2 points and 4.8 rebounds.

• Ex-Gophers point guard Isaiah Washington is averaging 10.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists for Iona, which is 8-12 on the season.