Minnesota Sports Roundup: Ponder says marriage won't be a distractionMinnesota Sports
-- Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder says getting married is not a distraction as he prepares for Sunday's must-win game at Houston.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder says getting married is not a distraction as he prepares for Sunday's must-win game at Houston.
Ponder married ESPN reporter Samantha Steele Monday afternoon in Hudson, Wisconsin. Ponder says they got married at the St. Croix County courthouse just across the border to avoid public attention in Minnesota. Ponder told reporters they're planning a big ceremony for the offseason. The Vikings will be back on the practice field today.
Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Walsh earned the honors after nailing all five of his field goal attempts, including three from 50 yards or longer, in Sunday's 36-22 win over the Rams.
The Timberwolves look to get back in the win column tonight when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder. Minnesota is coming off road losses to Orlando and Miami on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. The T'wolves are now 12-11 on the season. The Thunder are 21-4 after a 90-82 win at Atlanta last night. Tipoff tonight is set for 6 p.m.
University of Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill turned up the heat on his football team yesterday, literally. The team practiced indoors and Kill had his coaching staff crank the heat so his team can be conditioned for the warmer weather of Houston, Texas next week. The Golden Gophers take on Texas Tech in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas on December 28th, but will arrive in Houston on Saturday and practice four days outdoors next week. The game will be played at Reliant Stadium, which could have its roof closed for the evening game. That would put the indoor temperature at around 72-degrees for the contest. Kill wants his team ready for that.
Long-time Minnesota-Duluth head football coach and athletic director Bob Nielson is stepping down from both positions to take the head coaching job at Western Illinois. Nielson won two NCAA Division II national titles with the Bulldogs and five conference titles in his ten years on the job. The 53-year-old Nielson was the NSIC Coach of the Year three times. He takes over a Leathernecks program that was 3-8 last season.
An Oakdale man has admitted to stealing more than $380,000 dollars from an amateur hockey league. Fifty-five-year-old Steven Brier pleaded guilty this week to tax evasion and told the court he gambled at casinos to win the money back -- in order to repay the organization. Brier's crimes happened between 2005 and 2011 while he served as treasurer for District-Two of what is now Minnesota Hockey.