MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Frazier fired as Vikings head coach
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The Minnesota Vikings are carrying on without head coach Leslie Frazier. He was fired on Monday after a 5-10-1 record this year.
General Manager Rick Spielman says they felt it was time for a change. The Vikings were 21-31-1 in four seasons under Frazier overall. He had been with the Vikings since 2007 when he was the team's defensive coordinator. Frazier was named interim coach in 2010 after Brad Childress was let go. Minnesota made the playoffs last year with a 10-6 mark, but allowed an NFL-worst 480 points this season. Spielman says a search for a new coach is already underway.
The Vikings signed six players to reserve/future contracts yesterday, including former Minnesota State-Mankato receiver Adam Thielen, who spent time in last year's training camp. Others who inked a deal include safety Brandan Bishop of North Carolina State, cornerback Kip Edwards of Missouri, tackle Kevin Murphy of Harvard, defensive end Spencer Nealy of Texas A&M, and running back Bradley Randle of UNLV.
Dallas forward Shawn Marion went off for 32 points and six rebounds as the Mavericks held off the Timberwolves 100-98 at the Target Center in Minneapolis last night. Dallas led by 19 going into halftime and by 21 in the third quarter. Minnesota rallied to tie it after three quarters, and made a game of it. A last-second shot by Kevin Love to tie the game was blocked and Minnesota coaches erupted thinking there was a foul on the play. There was no call and Dallas won the game. Wolves coach Rick Adelman was puzzled by the "no-call." The Mavs have won three-of-four. Love scored a game-high 36 points with 11 rebounds and four assists in the loss. The T'wolves have lost four-of-five. Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki posted 16 points and Brandon Wright chipped in 14 off the bench. Minnesota hosts New Orleans tomorrow night. The Pelicans beat Portland last night on a buzzer beater.
The Minnesota Wild resume their four-game homestand tonight against the St. Louis Blues at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Minnesota has lost five in-a-row following Sunday's 5-4 setback to the New York Islanders The Wild sit at 20-16-5. The Blues are 26-7-5. Minnesota recalled defenseman Jonathon Blum from AHL Iowa yesterday. The 24-year-old Blum has played in 91 NHL games for Nashville. Tonight's game begins at 7 p.m.
An Eagan woman is being honored as the 10-millionth fan to attend a Minnesota Wild game. Emily Gebhart was recognized Sunday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St.Paul. Gebhart received a prize package that includes a custom Wild jersey, a team-signed hockey stick, four tickets to a Wild-Red Wings game in March, and four tickets to the inaugural Big Ten Championship. Sunday's sell-out crowd of 18,851 brought the all-time Wild total attendance to 10-million-five-thousand-259 fans.
Team USA will skate against Canada in the final preliminary game for each team in the World Juniors in Malmo, Sweden. The game is set for 10:30 a.m. this morning. The American team is led by Golden Gopher head coach Don Lucia and assisted by St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko. Golden Gophers Brady Skjei of Lakeville and Hudson Fasching of Burnsville are on the roster, as is Minnesota State-Mankato standout Zach Stepan of Hastings. The U.S. is 3-0 so far in pool play, while the Candians are 2-0-1.
The DNR has closed Minnesota's second-ever wolf hunting season. Spokesman Dan Stark says hunting and trapping in all zones ended over the weekend. The total statewide target harvest was 220 wolves, and Stark says 237 were taken during this year's hunt. He says overall the season was a success and matched their expectations. The late season was scheduled to run through January 31st or until the statewide target harvest was reached. Minnesota hunters killed a total of 413 wolves in last year's inaugural season.
Auto racing legend Michael Schumacher is showing "slight improvement" after a second operation last night. Doctors say a new scan was taken and showed no signs of any worsening of original lesions on the brain. However, they warn it's too early to say he's out of danger. The 44-year-old Schumacher remains in a medically-induced coma after suffering a major head injury in a ski crash in the French Alps on Sunday.