MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Wolves open season tonight against Orlando at home
The Minnesota Timberwolves open the 2013-14 season with a home game tonight against Orlando at the Target Center. The Wolves enter a season with heightened expectations. Minnesota has Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio both back and healthy. Shooting guard Kevin Martin came over from Oklahoma City, while the team added first round draft choices Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng (JOR-jee DENG). Orlando lost in Indianapolis last night 97-87. Tonight's game in Minneapolis is set to begin at 7 p.m.
The University of Minnesota women's basketball team ran past Winona State 82-44 in an exhibition game last night at Williams Arena. Gopher newcomer Amanda Zahui (ZOW-WEE) poured in 28 points in the game. Rachel Banham of Lakeville added 13. Abby Busch of Fairfax paced the Warriors with ten. Minnesota led 43-19 at halftime and never looked back. The Golden Gophers host Minnesota State-Moorhead on Saturday at the Barn at 2 p.m.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier says he still thinks his team can turn the season around. He says he has seen enough in gamefilm to see his team hasn't quit on the season and that gives him hope. Frazier says the fact they held Green Bay to a field goal on a late drive after the game was no longer in doubt is a good sign they are working hard. Minnesota is at Dallas on Sunday at noon. Minnesota made a minor roster move yesterday, waiving tight end Chase Ford and signing free agent defensive end Justin Trattou.
The Minnesota Vikings were quiet as the NFL trade deadline passed yesterday. Jared Allen had been rumored to be on the trading block, with reported interest from Seattle, Denver, and Dallas. But, the Vikes did not pull the trigger. In fact, the only noise came out east and it was a minor deal. Philadelphia and New England brokered a trade, with the latter acquiring tackle Isaac Sopoaga and a sixth-round draft pick in 2014 in exchange for a fifth-round selection next year.
The father of Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata has passed away. The elder Asiata was the driver of a charter bus that slammed into the back of a construction vehicle on Interstate 80 in Utah east of the capital city. The 53-year-old Asiata was killed when the force of the collision drove a piece of heavy equipment on the back of the truck through the drivers' side window and caused massive chest trauma. The younger Asiata, a second-year back from the University of Utah, has yet to catch a pass or carry the ball in six appearances this season.
The Sioux Falls, South Dakota man accused of murdering the two-year-old son of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was released from jail Tuesday after his family posted bond. The prosecutor says 27-year-old Joey Patterson's family "put up 750 thousand dollars cash." Patterson is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter after prosecutors say he beat two-year-old Tyrese Ruffin. The defendant is the boyfriend of the boy's mother. Vikings running back Peterson said he only recently found out that Tyrese was his son.
Golden Gopher head football coach Jerry Kill was part of yesterday's weekly media briefing and said he is getting more and more involved with the program again. He had taken a leave of absence after missing the Michigan game in early October and has not been part of day-to-day operations since. Kill says he did attend every practice last week, leading into the upset win against Nebraska. He also says he plans to travel with the team to Bloomington, Indiana this weekend when his Gophers take on the Hoosiers of Indiana University. Kill says he'll remain in the press box and allow defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys to serve as acting head coach on the sideline. Kill says stepping away has offered him a new perspective and he feels comfortable distributing more duties to his long-time assistants. He says he has to manage his time better, be sure he continues to get rest, and says he's confident he'll "beat the odds" and be driving a brand new pickup truck in the spring. He is not currently allowed to drive a vehicle.
Golden Gopher men's hockey player Sam Warning of Chesterfield, Missouri is this week's Big Ten Second Star Player of the Week. Warning helped Minnesota go 1-0-and-1 against No. 5 Boston College in a key non-conference showdown last weekend. He notched three assists in the two games. Ohio State forward Nick Oddo was the First Star, while Michigan goaltender Zach Vagelvoort was the league's Third Star. Top-ranked Minnesota is idle this coming weekend.
The Minnesota Wild players had a day off yesterday, one day removed from a 5-1 setback to the hands of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. The defeat snapped a three-game winning streak for Minnesota. Head coach Mike Yeo will put his team through an on-ice workout today and tomorrow at the Xcel Energy Center before it takes on the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night for a 7 p.m. game.