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MINNESOTA SPORTS BRIEFS: Vikings to begin camp Thursday

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MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings report to training camp at Minnesota State University-Mankato on Thursday and will practice for the first time on Friday.

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Head coach Leslie Frazier will host an opening news conference on Thursday before putting his team through a pair of workouts the following day. Both rookies and veterans are due in camp on Thursday. Eighteen of 22 starters from a playoff team return, plus newly-acquired Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings. 

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The NFL is getting set to conduct a study on human growth hormone. ESPN reports the league and union have agreed to have blood samples taken from all players during training camp to determine the threshold for a positive test. The NFLPA board says several additional issues need to be resolved, including discipline, before an agreement on HGH testing is put up for vote by the players. The samples will be used only for study and will not result in suspensions. 

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Minnesota outfielder Clete Thomas hit a solo homer and drove in two as the Twins picked up a 4-3 win over the Angels last night in Anaheim. Thomas also helped the cause by robbing pinch hitter Chris Iannetta of what would have been a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning. Samuel Deduno tossed seven innings of two-run ball to improve to 6-4 while Glen Perkins nailed down his 24th save for the Twins. Joe Mauer was 3-for-4 for Minnesota, which has won three out of four since the All-Star break and five of six overall. Joe Blanton's woeful season continued as he allowed four runs and threw 90 pitches in just three-and-two-thirds innings to fall to 2-13 for Los Angeles. Mike Trout went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Halos, who have lost back-to-back games after winning their first two after the break. The Twins continue their three-game series with the Angels tonight in Anaheim. Kyle Gibson will get the ball for Minnesota. He is 2-and-2 with a 6.45 ERA in four starts this season. The Halos will counter with Tommy Hanson, who is 4-and-2 with a 5.10 ERA. First pitch is set for 9:05 p.m. 

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A pair of Minnesota Wild players are among the 48 players selected to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic men's hockey team. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, both previous Olympic team members, are on the "orientation camp" roster. In addition, there are 13 other players from Minnesota on the orientation camp roster. They include Roseau's Dustin Byfuglien of the Jets, St. St. Paul's Justin Faulk of the Hurricanes, Minnetonka's Jake Gardiner of the Maple Leafs, Bloomington's Erik Johnson of the Avalanche, Eden Prairie's Nick Leddy of the Blackhawks, Minneapolis' Paul Martin of the Penguins, St. Paul's Ryan McDonagh of the Rangers, Spring Lake Park's David Backes of the Blues, Blaine's Nick Bjugstad of the Panthers, St. Paul's Kyle Okposo of the Islanders, Warroad's T.J. Oshie of the Blues, Hastings' Derek Stepan of the Rangers, and Plymouth's Blake Wheeler of the Jets. Former Gopher Phil Kessel of Madison, Wisconsin is also on the camp roster. All 48 players will participate in the orientation camp, which gets underway August 26th in Arlington, Virginia. The camp roster, which will eventually get trimmed to the final Olympic roster, has players from 24 NHL teams that will look for Gold at next year's Sochi Games.

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Kurt Kleinendorst is the first head coach of the Iowa Wild, the Minnesota Wild's new AHL affiliate. Kleinendorst replaces former Houston Aeros coach John Torchetti, who left the team to coach in the KHL in Russia. The 52-year-old coached last year at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and has years of experience coaching minor league and international hockey. Kleinendorst was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

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The WNBA Minnesota Lynx have won six straight games and have run their league-best record to 13-and-3 after Sunday night's 82-77 win at Phoenix. The same two teams turn around and play again tomorrow afternoon, this time at the Target Center. Phoenix is 9-and-8 on the year. Tomorrow's tip time is noon in Minneapolis. 

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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is getting set for this weekend's NASCAR festivities. The Nationwide series will run the Indiana 250 on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Sprint Cup Series' Brickyard 400 will take place Sunday starting at 1 p.m. With seven races to go before the start of the Chase, Jimmie Johnson holds a 56-point lead on Clint Bowyer in the standings. Carl Edwards is 73 points behind Johnson. 

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