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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Vikings finish combine work

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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Vikings finish combine work
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

INDIANAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings officials get their final chance to view college prospects today as the NFL Scouting Combine comes to a close in Indianapolis. Defensive backs hit the field for workouts before leaving. Yesterday, the defensive linemen and linebackers took the turf for skill drills. Team general manager Rick Spielman is leading the front office efforts in Indy.

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The Minnesota Twins continue spring training workouts today in Fort Myers, Florida. The team opens Grapefruit League play on Friday against the Boston Red Sox. The Twins start the regular season on March 31st against the White Sox in Chicago.

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Major League Baseball is putting an experimental rule in place regarding home plate collisions for the 2014 season. Rule 7.13 prevents runners from deviating from their direct path to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher. Conversely, catchers will not be allowed to block the pathway of a runner attempting to score without possession of the ball. Instant replay will be available to review potential violations of this rule.

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The Minnesota Wild have two more days off before resuming the season on Thursday at Edmonton. Minnesota won two in-a-row to enter the Olympic break at 31-21-and-7. The Wild currently sit in sixth place in the Western Conference with 69 points. The Oilers are last in the West with just 47 points. Minnesota will have a practice skate today at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Wild recalled Erik Haula and Steven Kampfer from AHL Iowa.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves continue their five-game west coast road trip tonight in Phoenix against the Suns. Minnesota has split its first two games on the trip following a win in Utah on Saturday and a loss in Portland on Sunday. The T'wolves sit at 27-and-29 on the season. The Suns are 33-and-22 after a loss on Sunday to Houston. Both teams blew big leads in the Sunday losses. Tipoff tonight is set for 8 p.m.

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Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love is the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for games played through Sunday. Love averaged 36.7-points and 12.7-rebounds to earn his second weekly honor of the season. He posted his first career triple-double in Saturday's victory in Utah.

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers are back in action tonight as they host the 19th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The Gophers have lost six of their last eight games following Saturday's 64-46 setback at Ohio State. Minnesota sits at 17-and-11 on the year and 6-and-9 in the Big Ten. Iowa is 19-and-7 and 8-and-5, but coming off of a loss at home to Wisconsin on Saturday. Tonight's game tips off at 6 pm.

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 The Golden Gopher women's basketball team lost at No. 24 Michigan State 75-61 last night in East Lansing. Minnesota received 31 points from junior guard Rachel Banham of Lakeville. She was the lone player in double figures for the Gophers. Amanda Zahui recorded ten rebounds and nine points in the loss. Minnesota has now lost two straight after having won four in a row. The Gopher season record is 17-and-11 overall and 6-and-8 in the Big Ten. Minnesota hosts Indiana on Thursday night at Williams Arena.

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Golden Gopher football coach Jerry Kill says he would not have signed his new, more lucrative contract with the University of Minnesota had the administration not taken care of his assistant coaches, too. The contract states that the pool of money paid to his assistant coaches has to remain in the top six in the Big Ten. The school announced the new contract late last week. The pact keeps Kill under contract through the 2018 football season and will pay the fourth-year head coach at Minnesota $2.1 million this coming season.

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University of Minnesota assistant football coach Bill Miller is leaving Jerry Kill's staff to become a linebackers coach at Florida State. Miller coached linebackers with the Gophers and also held the title of associate head coach. He arrived at Minnesota when Jerry Kill was hired in late 2011. Miller has previous experience as an assistant coach at Florida and Miami of Florida, so has connections in the state.

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 Golden Gopher senior Sara Moulton of Eagan has been named the Big Ten Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week after going 3-and-0 in a trio of wins over the weekend. She didn't allow an earned run in 17 innings of work. This is the second time this season she has won the weekly award and the tenth time in her career. The No. 20 Golden Gophers are now 12-and-1 on the season and are in the national Top 25 poll for the first time in more than a decade. Minnesota travels to Tempe, Arizona this weekend for a tournament.

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