The Vikings have just started training camp, and besides sharpening physical skills, coach Brad Childress said there are other personal factors that might decide how a player might perform.

In fact, if you are a psychologist, it helps in coaching a football team.

"You know, it's not as much question marks as it is always the neat thing for me is to watch everybody come back and to kind of form this group together," Childress said. "There's always different dynamics, whether a guy has gotten married in the offseason, or had children, or had family issues, or got divorced or separated, or had something happen.

"Everybody comes in at a different station in life and so that's always the interesting part to me, to blend that whole thing together. Hopefully they've got a chance to relax [in the offseason] and they're still in great shape.

"Every year is so different, whether you're starting or whether you're going on your fifth year. I'm just as excited. This will have a little different dynamic to it this year, but last year will have nothing to do with this year. You've got to kind of eke it out all the way along."

Training camp always yields something unexpected, he said.

"Always the fun part is taking these guys to camp and there's always surprises," he said. "There's always guys that show up, they've gotten better through the offseason program or whether they're showing up as first-time guys on our football team, that they've got a little extra heartbeat and find a way to make the football team.

"I think as we started last year, we had seen flashes of Sidney [Rice], but he was finally completely healthy last year. I thought Darius Reynaud had a good year last year during training camp. He kind of showed up and made everybody pay attention."

Pavano hot

Twins starter Carl Pavano, who is now 13-6 and unbeaten in his past eight starts, is putting up numbers similar to what he did when he was the ace on the Florida Marlins staff.

In 2004 with the Marlins, the righthander was 12-4 in his first 21 starts, with a 3.21 ERA, 151 innings pitched, 54 earned runs, 142 hits, 94 strikeouts and 35 walks. The opposition's batting average was .248.

With the Twins through his first 21 starts, Pavano is 13-6, with an identical 3.21 ERA, 148 2/3 innings pitched, 53 earned runs, 131 hits, 83 strikeouts, 22 walks and the opposition is hitting only .238.

In 2004, he finished with an 18-8 record and a 3.00 ERA on weak team where he was the only starter with a winning record.

Injuries caused Pavano to win only 23 games between 2005 and 2009, when he joined the Twins.

Twins celebration

The Twins will host the 50th Season Celebration Weekend Sept. 3-5. The activities include the introduction of the 50 top players in the history of the franchise on Friday night, the induction of shortstop Greg Gagne into the Twins Hall of Fame and a three-inning Legends game on Sunday.

A number of Twins players have already committed to playing in that Legends game.

Popular local businessman Wheelock Whitney will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday. Whitney probably contributed more than any one person in making this a major league area, and he also was the Twins' first season ticket holder.


Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is signed through next season. Asked if there were any negotiations going with Gardenhire for the future, Twins President Dave St. Peter said that Gardenhire's contract will be taken care of in the fall.

Oakland recalled former Twins righthander Boof Bonser on Saturday from Class AAA Sacramento, where he went 2-1 with a 4.56 ERA in 23 2/3 innings. Bonser was designated for assignment by Boston on June 18 after giving up four runs on six hits and two walks in two innings in his two appearances with the Red Sox, and the Athletics signed him to a minor league deal.

The Timberwolves are in serious negotiations with Target Corp. about the naming rights to Target Center, which expire on Sept. 11 next year. Speculation is that the Wolves received about $2 million a year in 1989 when the original contract was signed. And naturally with inflation they are looking for more. The next contract would no doubt include a sign on the Target Center wall facing Target Field.

John Harris, who has been named the Gophers' director of golf, will be allowed to continue to play some golf on the Champions Tour, according to Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi.

Gary Tinsley, the outstanding Gophers linebacker who has run into some problems with the law, is expected to be a member of the football team this fall, according to coach Tim Brewster. ... Marquise Hill, a big-time recruit from St. Louis, is expected to join linebacker Sam Maresh at Iowa Western Junior College. The Gophers expect all other signed recruits and returning varsity players to report when practice starts on Friday.

Tyler Marz, a 6-2, 285-pound tackle from Springfield, Minn., was impressive enough in the Brewster football camps that he was offered a scholarship for the 2011 season to Minnesota. ... Receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts of Edina, who is ranked with the fastest high school athletes in the state, also impressed Brewster enough that he was offered a scholarship.

Duron Carter, son of former Vikings star wide receiver Cris Carter, enrolled at Ohio State as a freshman, played some and then left school. Cris Carter said his son is interested in Minnesota. However, he will likely enroll first at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas to get his grades in shape.

Nadir Thorpe, an outstanding basketball recruit from the Boston area, has drawn enough interest from the Gophers staff that three coaches -- Tubby Smith, Vince Taylor and Ron Jirsa -- were in Las Vegas recently to watch him play. The Gophers have two scholarships available. Dan Coleman of Hopkins and Josh Oglesby, an Iowa star, are the other two at the top of the Gophers' recruiting list.

Former Gophers placekicker Adam Bailey was named Minnesota's Police Officer of the Year for 2010. He works in St. Paul.

Eden Prairie quarterback Brian Athey is reportedly headed to West Virginia, where a number of his relatives went to school. ... Former Gophers assistant football coach Vic Adamle has been named the assistant head coach at Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie. Adamle was a Gophers assistant for 10 seasons (1997-2006), coaching future NFL running backs Laurence Maroney, Thomas Tapeh and Marion Barber.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. •