• Hall of Fame football coach Tony Dungy told Sirius XM Radio that he sees a lot of similarities between Gophers coach P.J. Fleck and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney: “I think that’s the great thing about college football right now,” the former Gophers quarterback said. “I visited with Dabo Swinney a lot. It was not a place where you say automatically, ‘Hey if I take this Clemson job, we’re going to be national championship contenders in three years.’ It wasn’t looked at that way. The fact that it can happen at Clemson, the fact that it can happen at Minnesota, that makes college football great.”
• Could college football go to regional nonconference games in the future? The only FBS program from a neighboring state is Iowa State. Nearby FCS programs will include St. Thomas as well as Drake, North Dakota, North Dakota State, South Dakota and South Dakota State.
• Pro Football Focus ranked the Vikings running backs as the seventh-best group in the NFL. PFF highlighted the return of Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone as giving the Vikings a chance to have the league’s top rushing attack.
• Former Twins prospect Nick Burdi is serving as closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his first two games he gave up no hits, with one walk, four strikeouts and a save in two innings. The 2014 second-round pick never pitched for the Twins because of injury trouble but is now in his third season with Pittsburgh.
• The Gophers men’s hockey team announced the program had an NHL-high 17 alumni playing in the playoffs, including four players — Hudson Fasching, Alex Goligoski, Phil Kessel and Aaron Ness — on Arizona. The Wild has two former Gophers, Kyle Rau and Mat Robson, although it’s unlikely either one will see any action in Edmonton. Not listed was Pittsburgh forward Nick Bjugstad, who will miss the playoffs following spinal surgery in May.