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MINNEAPOLIS — To any Minnesota Vikings fans who have reserved rooms in Atlanta the first week of February, it would be wise to check if you can get your deposit returned. After Sunday's miserable performance in a 27-6 loss to the lowly Buffalo Bills at U.S. Bank Stadium, Super Bowl LIII should be the furthest thing from Vikings fans' minds. The Bills were so bad in going 0-2 during the first two weeks of the NFL season: • Some talking heads theorized they would lose to the Alabama Crimson Tide, college football's premier team.
MINNEAPOLIS—League-wide, the third game of the NFL's four-game preseason is considered the only one of any real significance since the starters tend to play the entire first half and into the second. That doesn't always hold true, as was the case Thursday night, Aug. 23, when the lowly Cleveland Browns blanked the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles 5-0 in a game in which even NFL Films would delete the footage.
MINNEAPOLIS — Kirk Cousins' home debut at U.S. Bank Stadium won't make anyone forget the "Minnesota Miracle" any time soon. The Minnesota Vikings' new $84 million quarterback looked unsteady in his quarter-plus during the Vikings' drab 14-10 preseason loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday, Aug. 18. Cousins completed 3 of 8 attempts for 12 yards and was sacked once in a forgettable performance. But they play the preseason for a reason, right? It's to get the kinks out after an offseason of OTAs and film study.
DULUTH—The University of Minnesota Duluth is not only the champion of NCAA Division I, the Bulldogs are now the 'it' team in college men's hockey. As the only team to win two national titles in the past eight years and the team that did it this season despite being the final at-large team selected for the 16-team NCAA field, UMD has all the factors pointing in its direction for continued success in the future.
ST. PAUL — No snow angels on the Xcel Energy Center ice were necessary this time. Unlike 2011, when Minnesota Duluth needed Kyle Schmidt's overtime game-winner and subsequent on-ice celebration to beat Michigan and secure the school's first NCAA men's hockey title, the Bulldogs outplayed Notre Dame from beginning to end in a 2-1 victory Saturday night before 18,303 mostly partisan UMD fans.
ST. PAUL — As a young hockey player, Louie Roehl begged to emulate his father and don goaltending pads. Dale Roehl was a standout goalie at Minnetonka High School and was drafted by the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers in 1987. Instead of testing the professional hockey waters, however, the elder Roehl played football at Minnesota Duluth where he was an award-winning strong safety. The younger Roehl begged his father the entire summer to play goalie at the Squirt level.
ST. PAUL — Mike Sertich was beloved during his 18 seasons as Minnesota Duluth men's hockey coach. "Sertie" ushered in the golden era of UMD hockey with back-to-back NCAA final four appearances in 1984-85, multiple Hobey Baker Award winners and player personalities that are fondly recalled decades later.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Duluth's entry into the 2018 NCAA tournament came about only because Ohio State's overtime loss to Notre Dame in the Big Ten championship game allowed the Bulldogs to sneak past Minnesota as the final at-large team by one-ten thousandth of a computer ranking point. That means UMD coach Scott Sandelin, in a backward sort of way, has his former longtime assistant and current Buckeyes head man, Steve Rohlik, to thank for the Bulldogs' opportunity at a second national title.
ST. PAUL — Brothers Joey and Mikey Anderson played key roles in guiding Minnesota Duluth to the Frozen Four in their first season together with the Bulldogs men's hockey team. But the brothers' toughest foes may be each other during practice. UMD teammates were asked during Wednesday's pre-Frozen Four news conference at Xcel Energy Center which brother wins the most battles when going into the corner during practice. Understandably, the answers were mostly politically correct.
DULUTH—Unlike modern-day NFL players, Kyle Schmidt had no preconceived notion to perform a snow angel on the Xcel Energy Center ice seven years ago. But when you score the biggest goal in Minnesota Duluth men's hockey history, you're allowed some leeway. Schmidt, a senior wing from Hermantown, scored on Travis Oleksuk's no-look, behind-the-net pass to defeat Michigan 3-2 in overtime of the 2011 Frozen Four championship game, giving the Bulldogs their lone NCAA title.