As snow started falling Wednesday in downtown Minneapolis, U.S. Bank Stadium was being transformed inside for springtime. For the first time in the building's roughly 28-month history, a hard court was installed so the stadium can play host to four basketball games this weekend. The marquee event features the University of Minnesota men vs. Oklahoma State University at 9 p.m. Friday. "This is history," a smiling Patrick Talty said as he stood on the court, which was gleaming under the stadium's lights. Talty is general manager for SMG, the operator of the stadium and this weekend's event. The games are a prelude to the NCAA's March Madness, the men's college basketball tournament that culminates April 6-8 with the Final Four in Minneapolis. While not a full-on dress rehearsal for April, this weekend's games will give SMG some early clues on how the building's lights and acoustics, scoreboards, locker rooms and seating will perform for basketball. The NCAA requires the host venue to … [Read more...] about U.S. Bank Stadium gets ready for its first-ever basketball games
Every Thursday morning, we’ll answer your Vikings questions submitted via Twitter and email for our weekly Access Vikings podcasts and post-game Overtime videos using the hashtag #AVOT. From @donraul007: Trae Waynes having another solid, if unspectacular, season. Do you think he gets a long-term deal, and if so what kinda numbers would they be looking at? AK: Waynes is putting together a solid fourth NFL season, and perhaps the best number showcasing that is how often quarterbacks throw at him. A year ago, Waynes was the league’s fifth-most targeted cornerback getting thrown at 102 times, according to Pro Football Focus. That’s nearly 6 ½ per game. Waynes has seen that drop by almost one-third. He’s been targeted 43 times in 10 games, or about 4.3 throws per game this season. He’s still allowing a 100-plus rating in coverage, per PFF, but he’s been a full-time contributor of a Vikings defense allowing the fewest passing touchdowns (14) so far. … [Read more...] about Mailbag: What’s cornerback Trae Waynes’ future with the Vikings?
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes’ hamstring injury is not something the Vikings are concerned about, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. Rhodes clutched his right hamstring late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 24-17 victory over Green Bay after defending Packers receiver Davante Adams on a 36-yard catch. He was helped off the field and did not return to the game. “Thankfully it’s very, very mild,” Zimmer said Monday. “As far as what the TV doctors were reporting is erroneous.” Zimmer referred to speculation that spread online from former NFL team doctor David Chao, who watched the play on television and opined on Twitter that the injury could be season ending. Instead, it sounds like Rhodes might miss little to no playing time heading into Sunday’s game in New England. Despite Rhodes’ tendency to exit a game due to cramps or injury, he’s missed just three NFL games since becoming a full-time starter in 2014. Making NFL … [Read more...] about Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes’ hamstring injury not serious
Vikings safety Harrison Smith can disguise his on-field intentions so well pre-snap that coach Mike Zimmer once compared him to a “cat burglar” the way he creeps around while studying the offense. But there was no deception by Smith on Sunday night’s game-changing play in the Vikings’ 24-17 victory over Green Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium. Just good instincts on his part and a real bad decision on the Packers’ part to leave one of the league’s more versatile defenders unblocked off the right side of the formation on fourth-and-1. The score was tied 14-14. The Packers were at their 44-yard line with 7 minutes, 28 seconds left in the third quarter. The Vikings were stacked at the line of scrimmage. Five extra points: Mixups, penalties hurt Vikings early against Packers Five takeaways from Sunday night's game from Mark Craig. “Honestly, I was kind of thinking pass there to begin with,” Smith said. “But then I saw the action of … [Read more...] about Vikings safety Harrison Smith again shows off his versatility
Since the NFL instituted flexible scheduling in 2006, to ensure it could showcase compelling games in its Sunday-night time slot every week, few matchups have been served to a national TV audience more frequently than Vikings-Packers. The two teams will meet on Sunday night for the 11th time in prime time since 2006, renewing a rivalry that has become catnip to television networks because of high-stakes matchups like the NFC North title game between the teams in 2015, story arcs like Brett Favre’s return to Lambeau Field with the Vikings and pitched atmospheres that come with two fan bases that interact enough to get good and sick of one another. The only matchups to wind up in prime time more often than Vikings-Packers over the past 13 years are Cowboys-Giants (14 times), Packers-Bears (13), Steelers-Ravens and Cowboys-Eagles (12 each). “That was the game we always wanted to go to [as kids],” wide receiver Adam Thielen said. “Being four hours away [in Detroit … [Read more...] about Vikings-Packers showcase features teams fighting for playoff lives