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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Cleveland shuts out Twins, goes for sweep this afternoon

MINNEAPOLIS -- Cleveland lefty T.J. House and four relievers combined on a six-hit shutout as the Indians blanked the Minnesota Twins 5-0 at Target Field last night.  House gave up four hits and three walks over five-and-a-third innings as he moved to 2-and-3.  Mike Aviles went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI, while Zach Walters also went deep for the Indians, who have won four of five.  Ricky Nolasco fell to 5-and-9 after permitting four runs in six-and-two-thirds frames for the losing Twins.  Minnesota has dropped four straight.  Cleveland guns for the sweep in game three of the series set for this afternoon in Minneapolis at 12:10 p.m.

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Cleveland Indians slugger Nick Swisher's season has come to an end.  Swisher had arthroscopic surgery on both knees yesterday.  The recovery period is expected to be eight-to-10 weeks.  Swisher has hit .208 with eight homers and 42 RBI in 97 games this season. 

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The defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx open the 2014 playoffs tonight at home against the San Antonio Stars.  Head coach Cheryl Reeve says three-game series go really fast and the challenge is to make sure you come out of the gates ready because there's very little margin for error.  Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson are expected to be healthy for this playoff run.  The Lynx have played in three straight WBNA Finals.  Tonight's tipoff is set for 8 p.m.

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The Minnesota Vikings continue to gear up for their third preseason game, set for Saturday in Kansas City against the Chiefs.  Minnesota is 2-and-0 so far in exhibition play following Saturday's 30-28 home win over Arizona.  The Purple had beaten Oakland earlier this month 10-6 in Minneapolis.  The Chiefs are 1-and-1, with a win over Cincinnati and a loss to Carolina.  Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer says playing a road game in Kansas City is a good test for his team at this point of the preseason.  Kickoff on Saturday is set for 7 p.m.

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Former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff has been selected as the senior nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2015.  Tingelhoff will be an automatic finalist on the ballot in February and will need 80-percent of the vote to be inducted into the Hall.  The voting takes place Super Bowl weekend in Arizona in February.  The six-time Pro Bowler never missed a game in 17 seasons with the Vikings from 1962-78.  He started all 240 games he played in and appeared in 19 postseason contests, including four Super Bowls.  His former head coach Bud Grant says if Tingelhoff does gain admittance into the Hall, it would be "justice served."

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The Minnesota Vikings are the 20th most valuable franchise in the NFL.  The Vikings are worth an estimated $1.15 billion according to Forbes.  The Dallas Cowboys top the list at $3.2 billion.  Only seven teams are below the one-billion-dollar threshold, with the average value of an NFL franchise now $1.43 billion.

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The NFL's experiment with longer extra points is over for now.  Extra point kicks will move back to the two-yard line beginning with this week's preseason games.  The league pushed kicks back to the 15 during the first two weeks of the preseason to provide an extra challenge.  The conversion rate was 94.3-percent from the 15-yard line, with eight of 141 PAT's missed.  That compares to a 99.6-percent success rate from normal distance last regular season.  Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh missed an extra point in last weekend's win over Arizona.

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The Golden Gopher football team will be back on the practice field today, getting prepped for next week's season opener against Eastern Illinois.  Sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner of Lakeville says the team feels ready to play a game right now and it is hard having to wait for the game.  Next Thursday's game is set to kickoff at 6 p.m. and there are tickets still remaining.  The team will not practice tomorrow.

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