MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Frazier says Ponder is still Vikings starter at QB
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier says Christian Ponder is still the starting quarterback, if he's healthy.
Frazier said they will see how Ponder feels coming out of the bye week. The 1-3 Vikings will have the weekend off. Frazier says while reserve Matt Cassell played well in last Sunday's win, it still wasn't enough to name him the starter just yet. They will host the Carolina Panthers a week from Sunday. In other team news, the Vikings waived offensive tackle DeMarcus Love.
University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill says he is looking for a "defining moment" to help turn his program around. He says if his team could pull off an upset at No. 17 Michigan this Saturday, that could be one of those "defining moments" that changes the course of a college football program. The two schools will meet for the 100th time this Saturday in Ann Arbor. The "Little Brown Jug" is college football's oldest rivalry trophy and it is up for grabs each year in this series. The Golden Gophers are 4-1 this season, while Michigan is 3-1. Kickoff on Saturday is 2:30 p.m.
The Minnesota Wild begin the 2013 season tomorrow night at home against the Los Angeles Kings. Minnesota will then host Anaheim on Saturday before heading to Nashville on Tuesday. The Wild finished with 55 points last season and grabbed the eighth seed in the playoffs but lost in the opening round to Chicago. The Kings were fifth in the West last year with 59 points. The Wild completed a two-day training camp session in Duluth yesterday. They will work out at the Xcel Energy Center later this morning.
The AHL Iowa Wild will hold a scrimmage tonight at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The event is open to the public and free of admission with the donation of one non-perishable food item per person. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. It's the first chance fans will get to see the team prior to the regular season. The puck drops at 7 p.m. The Iowa Wild is the AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.
The Minnesota Timberwolves opened up 2013-14 training camp yesterday in Mankato and will continue practicing there through Friday. The T'wolves will play next Monday against Moscow at the Target Center in an exhibition game.
Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger is out indefinitely after successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Monday. Budinger was heading into training camp feeling confident that his knee was back to full strength after surgery in November when he tore the meniscus in the same knee last season. He returned last season in March to play a total of 23 games.
Disney on Ice is making the WNBA Finals move. The "Gwinnett Daily Post" reports the Atlanta Dream have to play their Finals home games at the Arena at Gwinnett Center, about a half-hour outside of Atlanta, because Philips Arena is hosting Disney on Ice. Game Three of the best-of-five series will be in Atlanta on October 10th. The series starts Sunday in Minnesota. Here is the 2013 WNBA Final slate:
Game One (Sunday, October 6th): Atlanta at Minnesota, 7:30pm
Game Two (Tuesday, October 8th): Atlanta at Minnesota, 7pm
Game Three (Thursday, October 10th): Minnesota at Atlanta, 7:30pm
Game Four (Sunday, October 13th): Minnesota at Atlanta, 7pm (if necessary)
Game Five (Wednesday, October 16th): Atlanta at Minnesota, 7pm (if necessary)
Former Minnesota Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano worked seven innings of one-run ball to push the Pittsburgh Pirates past Cincinnati 6-2 last night in the National League Wild Card game. Russell Martin hit a pair of solo homers and Marlon Byrd homered and drove in two runs. Another former Twin is playing first base for Pittsburgh. Justin Morneau was 1-for-4 with a walk in last night's contest. The Bucs will face the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Divisional Series starting tomorrow.
The Tampa Bay Rays are in a must-win situation once again as they meet the Cleveland Indians in the AL Wild Card game tonight at Progressive Field. Alex Cobb will get the ball for Tampa. Cleveland will counter with Danny Salazar. The Rays knocked off the Texas Rangers 5-2 in the tiebreaker game on Monday. Tampa won four of the six meetings with Cleveland this season. The winner of tonight's game will face the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS starting Friday.
Ned Yost is returning to the Kansas City Royals dugout. The veteran manager has agreed to a two-year contract extension through the 2015 season. Yost led the Royals to an 86-76 mark this season, the team's first winning season since 2003 and its best finish since 92 wins in 1989.
The NCAA Division II national volleyball poll is out and Concordia-St. Paul is the new No. 1 team, taking the spot previously held by Minnesota-Duluth. The two teams swapped positions, with the Bulldogs falling to second in the nation. Southwest Minnesota State is ranked seventh this week, but two slots.
The MIAC has honored cross country runners for their accomplishments over the past weekend. Bethel junior Matt Berens of Oakdale won the MIAC men's cross country Athlete of the Week honor for the third time this season. He won the college division of the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational last week on the U of M campus. Carleton junior Colette Celichowski of Shorewood is the MIAC women's cross country Athlete of the Week. She finished sixth at the Griak Invitational.
NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup heads to the heartland this week. Drivers will take aim at Kansas Speedway in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400. Matt Kenseth maintains an eight-point lead on last week's winner at Dover, Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch is 12 points back of Kenseth with seven races to go.