Peterson has eyes on playoffs, rushing record

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – It’s all right there for Adrian Peterson now.

One more game in his remarkable comeback season, and the only thing that remains on the line is everything.

A win against the rival Green Bay Packers on Sunday would put his Minnesota Vikings into the playoffs for the first time since the 2009 season. The milestones of 2,000 yards and Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record are there to be had as well, along with a potential MVP award that would cement his standing ...

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Athmann’s three hits propel Gophers to win over BisonComments Off

MINNEAPOLIS – Austin Athmann went 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead Minnesota to a 5-3 victory against North Dakota State in college baseball Tuesday at Siebert Field.

Brian Glowicki allowed one unearned run in four shutout innings for the Gophers (18-14).

David Ernst drove in two runs for the Bison (8-16).

NDSU 100 000 020–3 7 1

M 001 001 30x–5 9 2

Trewin, Schumacher (3), Mayo (5), Folman (5), Choles (7), Flaa (7) and Leach. Glowicki, Anderson (5), Fiedler (7), Thonvold (8), Kray (8) and Athmann. W–Anderson (2-0). L–Folman (0-3).

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Wild’s Koivu knows playoff berths can be rareComments Off

ST. PAUL – Mikko Koivu has a protein shake in one hand. With his other hand, he begins wiping down his equipment and organizes the pads the same as he does after every practice.

They’re wiped free of ice and sweat and meticulously placed where they’re always placed. Gloves go on top of his locker stall, where he has all six of them – more than any other Wild player – organized in a pyramid.

On this Saturday afternoon, he’s breaking in a new pair of skates in advance of the playoffs, so he pays extra attention to those as he removes them. So when his post-practice routine is complete, only a handful of teammates are still in the locker room – mostly just the team’s younger players, who stay on the ice long after practice is complete.

Koivu takes a seat and watches the young players joke amongst themselves. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that Koivu was one of them, a first-round pick just beginning to make his mark in the NHL.

Now he’s the longest tenured Wild player, his time in the organization predating coach Mike Yeo, general manager Chuck Fletcher and owner Craig Leipold.

Koivu, 31, looks at the Wild’s young players – there are five in the active lineup 23 or younger – and thinks about how much has changed for him. More than anything, the only full-time captain in team history has learned just how hard it is to make it to the playoffs.

“For some reason, when you’re younger, you don’t realize that,” Koivu said. “You just think, ‘Oh, I’m going to do it again next year.’ But the older you get, the more experience you have, you realize it’s not that easy.”

Koivu has played in 601 regular-season games over nine seasons, but he’s only been to the Stanley Cup playoffs three times, and never made it past the first round.

As the Wild prep for the franchise’s fifth Western Conference playoff appearance, starting Thursday at top seed Colorado, there’s as much pressure on Koivu as any Wild skater to avenge a lopsided, 4-1 series loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last season.

Koivu failed to earn a point offensively, and matched against Chicago’s do-it-all center Jonathan Toews, finished a minus-6.

He certainly wasn’t the only Wild player to struggle against the eventual Stanley Cup champions, but as the team’s captain – and the player the Wild chose to build around after letting Marian Gaborik walk as a free agent in 2009 – his struggles were most conspicuous.

“When you’re not able to (produce), obviously you get frustrated and disappointed and you want to do better,” Koivu said. “You have to learn from that individually. You want to be better, and this is my chance for that.”

Each season that ends without a Stanley Cup lasts longer than the previous season.

“It sticks with you longer than when you were younger,” Koivu said.

Koivu became a father to a baby girl just before the season started.

For the first time in his life, Koivu is having thoughts about life beyond hockey. There are no thoughts of retirement – “I’m not that old,” he said with a laugh – but and understanding that he won’t be a pro hockey player forever.

“Before, you just went year by year and got ready for the next one,” Koivu said. “But now it’s something you think about. But I think at the same time, you enjoy it even more. When you realize it goes so fast, you enjoy every single moment.”

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.

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Minnesota-Crookston hires men’s basketball head coach from Dragons staffComments Off

MOORHEAD – Dan Weisse is leaving Minnesota State Moorhead, but staying in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

Weisse was named head men’s basketball coach at Minnesota-Crookston on Tuesday after spending the three previous seasons as an assistant coach with the Dragons.

“It is a lifelong dream to be a head coach, and to do it in one of the best Division II conferences in the country, that means a lot,” Weisse said.

Weisse takes over for Jeff Oseth, who didn’t have his contract renewed after 12 seasons as head coach for the Golden Eagles.

UMC had a 4-23 record last season, including a 1-21 mark in the NSIC.

“I know what challenges are all about, and I am up for the challenge,” said Weisse, who is from Oshkosh, Wis.

Weisse played Division I college basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for head coaches Beau Ryan and Bruce Pearl. Ryan is now the head coach at Wisconsin and Pearl is the head coach at Auburn.

MSUM head coach Chad Watlhall said he would like the find a replacement for Weisse as soon as possible. Weisse was the top assistant and recruiting coordinator for the Dragons. MSUM had a 21-8 record last season.

“It’s a compliment to our program more than anything,” Walthall said of Weisse getting a head coaching job. “It shows people are taking notice to what we’re doing.”

Prior to his time with MSUM, Weisse spent four seasons at North Dakota State, serving as director of basketball operations under former Bison head coach Saul Phillips. Phillips is now the head coach at the University of Ohio.

“I am embracing the opportunity for sure,” Weisse said. “I am ready to hit the floor running.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com

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Vikings sign TE Reisner; OL Samuda injuredComments Off

The Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday signed tight end Allen Reisner, who rejoins the team after spending the final week of the 2012 season and the entire 2013 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Originally signed by the Vikings as a rookie free agent in 2011, Reisner joined the Jaguars after being signed off the Vikings’ practice squad on Dec. 24, 2012.

In 15 career appearances, Reisner has caught seven passes for 58 yards. Reisner has made three career starts, all coming during the 2013 season.

Meanwhile, offensive lineman Josh Samuda fractured and dislocated his ankle during Tuesday’s voluntary workout, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. Surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.

Samuda played for the Miami Dolphins in 2012 but did not play last season. He will likely spend the season on injured reserve.

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UND holds outdoor football practice on less-than-ideal dayComments Off

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota football team plays its home games indoors. The controlled climate at the Alerus Center certainly would have been nice Monday when UND held spring practice No. 9 at Memorial Stadium.

But few were complaining too loudly about the stiff north wind that produced a wind chill of 14 degrees on the Memorial Stadium turf.

“With the cold, we’re asked to deal with it,” said UND receiver Casey Young. “It was cold but it wasn’t terrible. It’s the first day I wore sleeves. Guys got used to it. It comes with North Dakota toughness and that’s what coach talks about.”

UND coach Bubba Schweigert said practice went well, despite the 26-degree temperature and the wind. It wasn’t a big deal, he said, since UND will play six of its games outdoors in 2014 – three of them in late October and November.

“There are going to be some days yet this spring and a lot of days in the fall when we’re going to have to grind through it,” said Schweigert. “It wasn’t a great day but it wasn’t bad out there, either. You have to see what you can get as far as focus and guys fighting through it.”

Young, a junior receiver from Aurora, Colo., came up with one of the two touchdowns during red zone drills.

His touchdown reception came off a deflection. Senior R.J. McGill also came up with a touchdown for the offense, while senior safety Baylee Carr picked off a pass.

Young said UND’s new offensive philosophy is starting to make sense.

“We’re finally starting to get the system going,” he said. “Guys are having a lot fewer mental errors. We’re starting to do things the right way.”

Schweigert said UND will run some live plays during Friday morning’s session. How many plays from scrimmage will be run, however, have yet to be determined.

“We have to go live at some point,” he said.

The two UND team sessions on Monday both ended with one live play.

The offense won the first situation as running back Jer Garman picked up about seven yards on a third-and-2 play.

The defense closed the practice on a sack by redshirt freshman linebacker Kyle Norberg. He tagged up on Ryan Bartels before the sophomore could get a pass off.

“It was a little up and down,” said Schweigert of the practice. “Once again, we saw some guys make plays. Offensively, I thought quarterbacks bought some time and we hadn’t seen that this spring. And we caught some balls downfield, which was good to see.

“But we had some alignment problems and we had a couple of busted assignments. This time of the spring, we’d like to be better than that.”

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor for the Grand Forks Herald and can be reached at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com

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