With defensive end Danielle Hunter locked up with a contract extension last week, next in line
for the Minnesota Vikings appears to be Stefon Diggs, who can become a free agent after the coming season.
The wide receiver’s deal won’t approach the reported $72 million Hunter received, but it could be worth nearly $50 million over four years.
Meanwhile, fellow wideout Adam Thielen, a Pro Bowl starter last season, is signed through 2020 for nearly $18 million.
No one could blame Thielen should he wish to renegotiate.
Diggs, 24, has caught 200 passes for 2,472 yards the past three seasons.
Thielen, 27, has 172 catches for 2,387 yards the past three seasons.
Should Thielen have a season this year like last year, when he caught 91 passes for a team-leading 1,276 yards, a contract renegotiation could become an issue.
By the way, the Vikings got a nice discount with the Hunter signing. The 6-foot-5, 252-pounder, just 23 years old, would have been worth considerably more on the open market in 2019 if he were to perform as he has to date.
The Vikings’ other significant free agent, outside linebacker Anthony Barr, is thought to be seeking at least a four-year deal worth about $12 million a season. This is an interesting case for the Vikings because he’s not the team’s dominant defensive player. It’ll be surprising if the Vikings offer as much as $10 million a year.
Looking ahead, with the Vikings up against the NFL salary cap, it wouldn’t be surprising at the end of next year if several front-line players are released if they decline salary renegotiation. They could include Andrew Sendejo, Mike Remmers and Kyle Rudolph.
Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen are important players now, but they are getting up in years, and if they don’t have strong seasons, could be jettisoned if they refuse salary cuts. Meanwhile, there probably isn’t enough money to extend Nick Easton, who could become expendable after the coming season.
Jack Morris, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 29 in Cooperstown, N.Y., was more than just a baseball pitcher in high school at Highland Park.
“What a great athlete!” Larry Overskei said.
Overseki, the former Gophers basketball co-captain, had Morris in a physical education class he taught.
“He high-jumped six feet, two inches in his tennis shoes on the gym floor — it was phenomenal,” Overskei said.
Overskei coached Morris in basketball at Highland Park from 1970 through 1972, and the Scots won two conference championships.
“We ran a match-up zone press in a prelim game against Henry Sibley at the University (of Minnesota),” Overskei recalled. “It was 53-13 at halftime. (Sibley) couldn’t get the ball past half court — Jack was cat-quick. And he was really an emotional player.”
Morris, who went on to Brigham Young, asked Overskei to write him a letter of recommendation to the Provo, Utah, university, as well as coach Dick Siebert at Minnesota.
“Siebert didn’t even look at him,” Overskei said. “That’s true. Jack threw hard in high school, but he was wild.”
Overskei, 69, recently retired after 47 years as a teacher and highly successful basketball and golf prep coach. He and former Gophers basketball players Paul Presthus and Don Linehan honored Johnny Kundla with a No. 100 jersey for the beloved late Minnesota coach on his 100th birthday.
Twins batting less than .200 entering Saturday: Logan Morrison (.191), (rehabbing) Byron Buxton (.156) and (disabled) Jason Castro (.143). Bobby Wilson, who has played in 24 games, is batting .134. (Demoted) Miguel Sano is at .203, Max Kepler at .221, and Brian Dozier .219. Team batting average is .235 — 26th of baseball’s 30 clubs.
In six games (24 at-bats) for Class A Fort Myers, Sano is hitting .333 with eight hits (seven singles and a double) and seven strikeouts.
Twins third baseman Eduardo Escobar on Sano: “We all miss him — he’s a good teammate. Hopefully he can get better.”
Phil Hughes, who allowed 14 hits in 12 innings during seven appearances (6.75 earned-run average) for the Twins before his trade to San Diego in May, has given up 13 hits in 8 2/3 innings in seven appearances for the Padres and has a 6.23 ERA.
A packed Mount Olivet Church in Minneapolis last Thursday heard entertaining and heart-felt eulogies from Darby and Danny Hendrickson, sons of noted prep hockey coach Larry, who died at 75 of heart failure.
Left-fielder Brent Rooker, 6-3 and 215 pounds, who the Twins signed for $1.94 million out of Mississippi State in last year’s draft, last Thursday hit two home runs (Nos. 12 and 13 of the season) and a double in a 10-6 Class AA Chattanooga loss to Montgomery. But he has struck out 87 times in 71 games while hitting .265.
Undrafted by the NBA, 6-5 shooting guard J.P. Macura last week agreed to a two-way free agent contract with Charlotte, and the Lakeville North grad is expected to play in the Hornets’ summer league in Las Vegas this week. Macura, 23, who worked out for the Timberwolves before the draft, is expected to spend this season with G-League Greensboro (N.C.).
It’s a first great grandson, Nico Louie Nanne, for Minnesota hockey icon Lou Nanne and a grandson for son Lou, the former RPI winger. The elder Nanne, 77, was honored by the Italian Heritage Month last week in hometown Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Plans are for ESPN to televise 19 hours of live X Games Minneapolis from July 19-22.
With the transfer of 7-foot Matz Stockman, the Gophers basketball team is counting on the recovery of 6-10 incoming freshman Daniel Oturu, the Cretin-Derham Hall star who had surgery on his right shoulder last spring.
Oturu is recovering well, working with the Gophers on what weight and conditioning training he’s allowed while taking six credits of classes at summer school and living on campus at Minnesota. He’s also focusing on his left-hand moves because he’s not allowed yet to move his right arm above his shoulder.
Oturu is expected to be fully recovered by September.
The University of St. Thomas basketball team has incoming freshman commitments from guards Anders Nelson from Edina and Zach Theisen from Osseo, as well as wing Sam Vascellaro from St. Thomas Academy.
Ballpark Tours is making its 36th annual trek to Wrigley Field this weekend for the Twins-Cubs series. For its first trip in 1982, bleacher tickets were $3.
“And you could walk up and buy a busload of them the day of the game,” said BPT’s Julian Loscalzo, who estimates the same tickets this season were $80 when he bought them last December.
Meanwhile, some 275 alumni and friends associated with Cretin-Derham Hall purchased tickets for Sunday’s Twins-Cubs game at Wrigley Field, where graduate Joe Mauer had eight runs batted in the first two games of the series.
Construction of the massive Topgolf driving facility in Brooklyn Center continues, but it is still a few months out from opening. A jobs announcement is expected in a few weeks.
An official scorer at Twins games, noted author Stew Thornley, discusses “Box Score: The Role of Baseball’s Official Scorer,” on July 19 at the University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education Conference Center at the St. Paul campus.
DON’T PRINT THAT
Word is the Vikings have offered Stefon Diggs a contract in the $9 million per year range, but the potential free agent wideout is seeking much more.
The Vikings mega-contract player signings bring immense expectations and pressure for the entire organization this year. And Minnesota has a tough early-season schedule, facing the Packers, Rams and Eagles — each on the road — among its first five games.
The pressure the Vikings will face isn’t unlike what the Wild experienced with the mega-signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, or the Timberwolves with the acquisitions of Jimmy Butler, Jeff
Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford, and extending Andrew Wiggins.
Try as they might, there’s absolutely no way the Timberwolves would be able to trade Wiggins, considering his $147.9 million, five-year contract that kicks in this season.
There was some early talk about free agent Crawford signing with the Golden State Warriors, but that seems unlikely now.
It’s looking like highly-sought Geno Crandall, the former DeLaSalle-North Dakota basketball star, could choose Xavier over Minnesota because of his relationship with former Gophers assistant Ben Johnson, the ex-Gophers assistant now with the Musketeers.
Colorado State was the clear favorite for the 6-4 point guard, who is visiting Gonzaga this weekend, but doesn’t have a scholarship available.
The University of Minnesota had total revenue of $116.4 million and total expenses of $114.2 million from athletics for the 2016-17 fiscal year, ranking eighth in the Big Ten and 25th nationally among public schools reporting in a database survey by USA Today last week.
The survey shows total Gophers ticket sales of $20.5 million for 2017, down nearly $3.4 million from 2016. Minnesota received contributions totaling $14 million and $58.3 million from
Meanwhile, College World Series champion Oregon State coach Pat Casey will make $1.1 million this year. That’s four times what coach John Anderson will make after taking the Gophers to a NCAA baseball regional.
Since Lindsay Whalen’s hiring as Gophers women’s basketball coach in April, the university reports more than 700 new season-ticket sales for a total of 2,038 for the coming season with a 95 percent renewal rate.
Gophers men’s hockey season tickets, under new coach Bob Motzko, have renewed at about 80 percent, with total sales of 4,644 for the coming season.
Look for former Southwest State star Mike Walker to be named new boys basketball coach at Minneapolis Roosevelt, replacing Robert Mestas, who left for the Burnsville coaching job.
Former Vikings stars Joe Kapp, Mick Tingelhoff, Bill Brown, Fred McNeill, Wally Hilgenberg and Matt Blair all were diagnosed with memory loss. Now word comes from the San Diego Union-Tribune that another ex-Viking, Ed White, faces Alzheimer’s disease.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is favored at 13-to-2 odds to become next season’s NFL Most Valuable Player, according to Bovada-Las Vegas. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is 22-to-1, behind Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Deshaun Watson.
Of 130 FBS head football coaches, the Gophers’ P.J. Fleck is ranked No. 47 by Athlonsports.com. Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst is No. 22. Alabama’s Nick Saban is No. 1.
Vikings ownership still has no plans to sell its former 12-acre Winter Park training facility in Eden Prairie. Their new facility in Eagan is 200 acres, with the football component 40 acres.
The Vikings continue to work on adding a team-owned four-star hotel and conference center on the grounds.
The Gophers athletics department, thanks mainly to the Big Ten Network, will receive some $50 million in media revenue this year, according to multiple reports.
It’ll be interesting whether corporate sales are affected with the coming next year of the women’s major golf tournament, the KPMG, to Hazeltine National in Chaska on June 20-23, and the 3M Open PGA Tour tournament that’s expected to follow within a few weeks.
This year’s KPMG tournament that concludes Sunday at Kemper Lakes (Ill.) is playing at a record 6,741 yards for women.
Ex-Gopher Tom Lehman, 59, who’ll play in the 3M Championship Aug. 3-5 in Blaine and has won $597,662 this year on the senior tour, will agree to a new corporate sponsorship deal soon.
Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, on what players seek in NBA free agency, which began this weekend: “Four things I think are critical, one being the city you’re in, and we feel very strongly about that. Secondly, I would say the winning is important to most players. Obviously, the third is the money. And then the people they’re playing with and who they’re going to be around with every day. We feel we’re in good position there.”