• Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck talked about how he plans to use running backs Rodney Smith, who rushed for 1,219 yards last season, and Shannon Brooks, who rushed for 682 yards. “We love having running backs and we love running the football, but we’re not a big two-back system. You’re going to see different avenues. You might see one split out at wideout, one in the backfield, we’re going to do the best we can to get the best 11 players on the field.”
• Look for Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who can be an unrestricted free agent after this year, to get the next big contract following Everson Griffen’s deal this week. The current highest-paid cornerback in the NFL is Trumaine Jackson with the Rams, making $16.7 million in 2017.
• A year ago at this time, ESPN and other services were predicting a great future for former Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner, but unfortunately he wasn’t drafted. He did get a chance with the Ravens, but they released him without a contract and apparently he’s working out hoping someone will pick him up.
• Jimmy Butler was a guest on Bill Simmons’ popular NBA podcast and broke down his final meeting with the Chicago Bulls before hearing he was traded. “I don’t know if [the Bulls] knew what they really wanted to do until something was presented to them that was, ‘OK, yeah we gotta take this and go that way.’ You’re .500, you’re not a bad team, you’re not a good team. What are you going to do? I don’t blame them.”
• Gophers infielder Micah Coffey played in the Cape Cod League All-Star game last Saturday. Coffey, who was 1-for-2 in the game, is hitting. 271 for Hyannis. Coffey hit .340 for the Gophers last season. … Former Gophers pitcher Ben Meyer, pitching for the Miami Marlins’ Jupiter farm team in the Class A Florida State League, is 4-2 with a 1.50 ERA this season. In 78 innings this season, Meyer, who was a 29th-round pick in the 2015 draft, has struck out 99.