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Minnesota Sports

4 minor leaguers suspended for violating drug program

NEW YORK (AP) — Cincinnati Reds pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez was one of four minor leaguers suspended Sunday for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Gutierrez, a 24-year-old right-hander, received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance. José Rosario, a member of the Minnesota Twins’ Dominican Summer League roster, was suspended 50 games following a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
Reza Aleaziz and Juan Idrogo, minor league pitchers for the Los Angeles Dodgers, also received suspensions. Aleaziz was suspended 50 games after testing positive for Amphetamine, and Idrogo received a 72-game ban after testing positive for gw501516, a performance-enhancing substance.
The suspensions were announced by the Commissioner’s office.
Gutierrez went 6-11 with a 6.04 ERA in 27 starts at Triple-A Louisville last season. The 24-year-old Aleaziz went 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 25 relief appearances last year, mostly for Ogden of the Pioneer League.
Idrogo is a member of the Dodgers’ Dominican Summer League roster.
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Minnesota Sports

Independent American Association baseball to start July 3

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — While Major League Baseball and the affiliated minor leagues are shut down, an independent circuit is set to open on July 3 with some fans in the seats.
The American Association said Friday its six teams will play in three hubs due to the new coronavirus, at least at the start of the season.
Minnesota’s St. Paul Saints will play home games at Sioux Falls Stadium along with South Dakota’s Sioux Falls Canaries. Manitoba’s Winnipeg Goldeyes will be based at Newman Outdoor Field along with North Dakota’s Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. The Chicago Dogs will play home games at the Ballpark Commons along with the Milwaukee Milkmen.
All three home teams are in position to sell about 25% to 33% of their ballpark’s capacities.
A 60-game regular season is envisioned through Sept. 10, and the top two teams will meet in a best-of-five championship series. Teams will allow limited capacities of spectators, if allowed.
Each team will play 42 games in its hub, including 30 home games. A displaced team would return to its regular home ballpark if government restrictions in place during the pandemic are relaxed.
Six teams will not operate this season: Cleburne Railroaders in Texas, Gary SouthShore RailCats in Indiana, Kansas City T-Bones, Lincoln Saltdogs in Nebraska, Sioux City Explorers in Iowa and Texas AirHogs in Prairie.
Training is slated to start June 25.
Major League Baseball’s agreement with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the governing body of the affiliated minors, expires after the season. MLB has proposed cutting guaranteed affiliations from 160 to 140 and also has discussed making St. Paul an affiliated club.
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Minnesota Sports

Another rough season ends with Wolves near bottom of league

By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Another season of setback and tumult has mercifully ended for the Minnesota Timberwolves, this time in the strangest of ways after the NBA’s decision to resume virus-halted play with 22 teams.
The revelation of the makeshift plan immediately put the Timberwolves, who finished 19-45 for the third-worst record in the league, in offseason mode after nearly three months in limbo while the world wrestled with the COVID-19 pandemic and all NBA arenas went dark.
There was no arguing from Minnesota, where the 18 games remaining on the original schedule before the shutdown would have had little benefit as long as star center Karl-Anthony Towns was sidelined with a wrist injury.
“While we are disappointed for our team and our fans that our season is coming to an end, we understand and accept the league’s plan to move forward with 22 teams. It is important that we be a good teammate not only to the NBA, but to the other 29 teams to support the efforts to complete this season and prepare for next season in a healthy and safe manner,” president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said on Thursday after the league’s announcement.
Whether due to injuries or trades, the repeated disruptions during the season made the assessment of 34-year-old head coach Ryan Saunders difficult. First-timers aren’t typically hired without at least some commitment from the franchise to patience, but the Wolves are 36-70 under Saunders since he replaced the fired Tom Thibodeau halfway through the 2018-19 season. No NBA jobs are ever guaranteed.
Rosas, in his season-ending statement distributed by the team, appeared to apply some pressure on what will be for the Timberwolves a critical summer — and fall, since the draft has been pushed back to Oct. 15. Rosas promised an “intensive and thorough” program to help make up for the time lost to the shutdown. He also said Saunders and the rest of the staff would be “creative, aggressive and proactive” in approaching team building and player development in the meantime.
Here are some other key angles to follow as the offseason unfolds:
HEALING FIRST: Before the Timberwolves embark on the free agency and trading period, and enter the draft with two first-round selections, they could use some time simply for healing.
The city of Minneapolis became the epicenter for a nationwide wave of protest, anger and destruction after the death on May 25 of George Floyd, the black man who was handcuffed and pinned to the street by a white police officer who pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck until and after he stopped breathing. Since then, Saunders and guard Josh Okogie have been particularly outspoken on the issue of racial justice, and they joined on Friday a group spearheaded by Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph to distribute essential goods to community members in need in front of a grocery store that was vandalized, looted and burned last week during the worst of the violence.
All this came after the organization was mourning the loss Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, the mother of Towns who died of complications from COVID-19 on April 13.
WHEELING AND DEALING: Rosas proved in his first year on the job that he could swiftly and thoroughly change the roster, making four trades in the span of less than a month that fetched nine new players and dealt nine others elsewhere, not to mention the draft picks that swapped hands. That was more than half of the roster. The linchpin of the early February activity was D’Angelo Russell, who was acquired in a deal with Golden State that sent former cornerstone Andrew Wiggins packing.
BETTER WITH BEASLEY?: The pairing of Towns and Russell gave Rosas the potential star duo he sought. Shooting guard Malik Beasley was another key acquisition during the flurry of activity, should the Timberwolves decide to keep him. The 23-year-old averaged 20.7 points in 14 games.
“We’re big fans of Malik. We tried hard. We paid a very, very strong premium to get him here in Minnesota, but we’re excited,” Rosas said.
WHAT’S NEXT: There are six players on the roster whose contracts are set to expire, with Beasley, power forward Juancho Hernangómez and power forward James Johnson the most notable.
Johnson, who at 33 is the oldest on the team, had a productive 14-game stretch after arriving from Miami during the trading spree. He has a player option he can exercise for about $16 million next season. Hernangómez, who is only 24, will be an unrestricted free agent. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound native of Spain averaged 12.9 points in 14 games with the Wolves, after coming with Beasley in the deal with Denver.
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Minnesota Sports

Minnesota Legion Baseball season canceled over virus fears

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota’s American Legion Baseball season has been canceled over concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As much as we wanted to play this year, we cannot take chances with the players, coaches and fans we oversee,” Randy Schaub, director of Minnesota American Legion Baseball, said in announcing the 2020 season’s cancellation Saturday.
Minnesota had 366 American Legion teams last year, making Minnesota the largest state in the nation for American Legion baseball. A total of 357 teams were signed up for this year.
Legion baseball in Minnesota dates to 1923, with the first tournament being held in Mankato in 1926, the Star Tribune reported. The state tournament has been held every year since then.
The Minnesota committee met on April 11 and held off canceling the season at the time. But input from state and national legal advisers helped result in Saturday’s decision.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Sunday reported 481 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to 11,271. Officials said 20 new deaths were reported, raising Minnesota’s death toll to 578.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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Minnesota Sports

Gophers get big men transfers Liam Robbins, Brandon Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota has added two accomplished frontcourt players to its roster, bringing in Liam Robbins from Drake and Brandon Johnson from Western Michigan.
The Gophers announced the signings of both big men on Wednesday.
The 7-foot, 235-pound Robbins has applied to the NCAA for immediate eligibility. He’ll have two seasons left with Minnesota. As a sophomore in 2019-20, Robbins led Drake with 14.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game, landing on the All-Missouri Valley Conference second team. His 99 blocks were fifth in the country and a program record. Robbins is a nephew of Gophers assistant coach Ed Conroy and a cousin of rising senior Hunt Conroy, a reserve guard.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Johnson is a graduate transfer who’ll be eligible immediately for his senior season with Minnesota. He averaged 15.4 points per game in 2019-20 and led Western Michigan with 8.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game, landing on the All-Mid-American Conference third team.
The Gophers will lose star center Daniel Oturu, who turned pro after his sophomore season. Point guard Marcus Carr also declared for the draft but did not sign with an agent, making him likely to return. Shooting guard Payton Willis is transferring to Charleston.
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Minnesota Sports

Ionescu, Sabally, Cox headline WNBA mock draft

By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press had a panel of WNBA coaches and general managers hold a mock draft over the course of the season. This is the final installment with the draft on Friday.
The coaches weren’t allowed to select players for their own team. Oregon players Sabrina Ionescu and Satou Sabally are expected to be taken with the top two picks, marking the third time that players from the same team will go 1 and 2 in the draft. It’s been rare when a third-round pick has made a roster.
First Round:
1. New York: Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon. The Liberty need a point guard and no one has been better in her college career than Ionescu the past four seasons. The NCAA record holder in triple-doubles will be a great fit in New York.
2. Dallas: Satou Sabally, Oregon. The first of a star studded trio of juniors to enter the draft this season. Sabally is pro-ready and will give Dallas a solid complement for Arike Ogunbowale.
3. Indiana: Lauren Cox, Baylor. Will give the Fever a very strong front court pairing of Cox and Teaira McCowan. Baylor’s star can score, block shots and pass the basketball.
4. Atlanta: Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M: A talented guard who can put points on the board in a hurry. Also has a knack for the big shot, giving coach Nicki Collen a potential late-game closer.
5. Dallas: Tyasha Harris, South Carolina. Has averaged nearly five assists a game in her career at South Carolina and learned from one of the best point guards in women’s basketball history in coach Dawn Staley.
6. Minnesota: Megan Walker, UConn. Cheryl Reeve had a lot of success picking a UConn player last season as Napheesa Collier ended up being the league’s rookie of the year. Walker can provide consistent outside threat for the Lynx.
7. Dallas (from Seattle via Connecticut and Phoenix): Ruthy Hebard, Oregon. Would give coach Brian Agler another solid frontcourt player who shoots extremely well from the field — 68.5% this season — and has incredibly good hands.
8. Chicago: Beatrice Mompremier, Miami. She has great athleticism and potential, really holding her own at a USA Basketball camp in Miami against Lynx center Sylvia Fowles. She was sidelined for much of the season with a foot injury. She averaged 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds.
9. New York (from Las Vegas via Dallas): Bella Alarie, Princeton. The three-time Ivy League player of the year averaged 17.5 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Tigers, who only lost one game this season. Has a great basketball IQ and at 6-foot-4 has guard skills and can stretch out a defense.
10. Phoenix (from Los Angeles via Connecticut): Crystal Dangerfield. A solid leader and point guard who could give some youth to that position for the Mercury.
11. Seattle (from Connecticut): Mikiah Herbert-Harrington, South Carolina. Was a steadying force for the young Gamecocks this season and can shoot the deep ball.
12. New York (from Washington): Jocelyn Willoughby, Virginia. Led the ACC in scoring last season averaging 19.2 points and can score from anywhere on the court. Shot 42% from behind the arc.
Round 2:
13. New York (from Atlanta): Kiah Gillespie, Florida State. Led the Seminoles in scoring (15.6 points) and rebounds (8.7) this past season and also can shoot 3s.
14. Indiana (from New York via Minnesota): Kitija Laska, South Florida. She left South Florida to play professionally in her native Latvia Laska suffered a knee injury a year ago and missed almost all of her senior season.
15. New York (from Dallas): Brittany Brewer, Texas Tech. The 6-foot-5 center gives the Liberty more depth at center and a rim protector. Brewer had 16 blocks in a game early in the season.
16. Minnesota (from Indiana): Kathleen Doyle, Iowa. One of the top point guards in the country, Doyle increased her scoring output this season, averaging 18.1 points.
17. Atlanta (from Phoenix): Kylee Shook, Louisville. Gives the Dream a solid shot blocker who could compete for a spot on the roster.
18. Phoenix (from Minnesota)-:Kaila Charles, Maryland. Fits in well for the Mercury and provides them some youth and versatility.
19. Seattle: Mikayla Pivec, Oregon State. A solid rebounding guard, who can score, as well. Would give Seattle a little more depth on the wing.
20. Los Angeles (from Chicago): Haley Gorecki, Duke. Led the Blue Devils in scoring (18.5 points), rebounding (6.6 boards) and assists (4.4). Also has a strong knack to get to the foul line.
21. Dallas (from Las Vegas): Te’a Cooper, Baylor. The well-traveled guard played at three different schools in her college career and will provide some depth for Dallas.
22. Los Angeles: Erica Ogwumike, Rice. Finished off a stellar career at Rice and would give the Sparks a third member of the Ogwumike family on their roster.
23. Connecticut: Juicy Landrum, Baylor. Set NCAA record with 14 3-pointers in a game in December and could help some of the void left by the departure of Shekinna Stricklen.
24. Washington: Luisa Geiselsoder, Germany. A 6-foot-3 post who coach Mike Thibault can let develop over in Europe as she’s only 20 years old.
Round 3
25. Atlanta: Jazmine Jones, Louisville.
26. New York: Mingling Chen, China.
27. Atlanta (from Dallas): Alexa Willard, Missouri State.
28. Indiana: Peyton Williams, Kansas State
29. Phoenix: Leaonna Odom, Duke
30. Chicago: (from Minnesota): Chante Stonewall, DePaul.
31. Seattle: Joyner Holmes, Texas.
32. Chicago: Stella Johnson, Rider.
33. Las Vegas: Minyon Moore, Oregon.
34. LA Sparks: Alexis Tolefree – Arkansas.
35. Connecticut: Tynice Martin, West Virginia.
36. Washington: Jaylyn Agnew., Creighton.
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Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

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Minnesota Sports

Minnesota Vikings re-sign veteran guard Dozier

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have signed veteran guard Dakota Dozier.
The team announced the re-signing of the Furman product, who played in 16 games last season with a career-high four starts. He originally joined Minnesota as a free agent last April 4.
Dozier was drafted by the New York Jets in the fourth round (137th overall) of the 2014 NFL draft. He has appeared in 54 career games with 11 starts.

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Minnesota Sports

Minnesota gymnast Sunisa Lee’s Olympic quest delayed a year

By Nancy Yang
Minnesota Public Radio News

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — For the last 10 years, almost everything Sunisa Lee has done has been in the name of 2020.
Spending up to eight hours a day at the gym.
Taking classes online so that she has the flexibility to spend long hours at the gym.
Giving up family vacations and a social life.
For the last decade, the St. Paul gymnast has been chasing a dream that comes into being just once every four years — except now, she’ll have to wait one more year.
Lee is trying to make the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team. She wants to go to Tokyo and win gold.
She had planned to do it this summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed all that. Organizers this week postponed the games until 2021.
“I’m disappointed,” Lee told Minnesota Public Radio News of the decision, though she agrees it was for the best.
But while the timeline changes, the goal does not.
Lee wants to make the Olympic team not only for herself, but also for her dad. John Lee has been her biggest supporter since Day 1.
“This dream has been me and my dad’s for the longest time,” she said.
It would be especially meaningful now, considering John Lee suffered a paralyzing injury last summer, just before Sunisa Lee was to leave for nationals. She almost skipped it to be with her dad.
But she didn’t — and ended up showing the world her fortitude and talent. She placed second behind Simone Biles at nationals in August, and was part of the world championship-winning team in October. There, she won an individual silver on floor and a bronze on uneven bars.
But for all that, her path to the games is not assured — nor will it be easy. It never was, given the depth in U.S. gymnastics right now. But it’s further complicated by the fact that the American squad will comprise just four females — down from five at the 2016 games — though the United States could earn the ability to send two more gymnasts to compete in the individual events, separate from the team.
She’s one of two Minnesotans in contention for the team — her friend Grace McCallum of Isanti is the other. If either of them make the cut, they would be the first Minnesotans on the women’s team in more than three decades.
And then there’s this: Lee would also make history as the first Hmong American to represent the United States at an Olympic games.
For Lee, the pressure is on — but it can also be overwhelming at times, especially when you consider that she’s only 17. So much of the world is already focused on her.
“I’m just nervous that if I don’t make the team, people are going to hate on me,” she said. Of people making negative comments on social media, Lee said: “It’s very bad for my mental health.”
‘Nobody sees the hard work’
In person, Lee is shy and reserved. But get her around close friends and family, and she’ll indulge in some silliness, like funny selfies or teasing her coaches’ tastes in music — sometimes even going ahead and changing the tunes at the gym on her own. Still, she prefers to keep a low profile — so much so that she avoids eating lunch in the school cafeteria. Instead, she usually takes meals with one of her teachers at South St. Paul High School, who also happens to coach at Midwest Gymnastics in Little Canada where she trains.
But one thing Lee isn’t shy about sharing are the latest skills she’s working on in the gym. She frequently posts clips to Instagram or Twitter of her tumbling passes on floor and beam, and of her defying gravity on bars.
Lately, she’s been giving fans a few glimpses of a new release skill on bars she’s hoping to perform at the Olympics. If she nails it there, the move could be named the Lee. It involves doing one of the most difficult release moves — where she lets go of the high bar — but adds a half turn.
Fans have mostly been supportive online, cheering her on and offering words of encouragement. “You’re really coming for that bars Olympic gold medal and I’m so here for it,” says one person on Twitter. Another says “Queen! Incredible as always” followed by the heart emoji.
Still, this is social media, where critics seize on the smallest of mistakes, pointing out flaws, even writing off the difficulty of her moves. Lee makes everything look so effortless that people forget she’s doing things most people will never be able to do.
“Especially if we have a bad routine and we get hate on it or negative comments, it’s just: Why do you gotta do that?” Lee wondered. “We spend every single day in the gym, nobody sees the hard work that goes in and it’s just one little mishap that happens in the competition, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not working hard.”
Still, some good comes out of those nasty comments.
“I used to get really upset about it,” she said. “But now I get upset about it and go into the gym and work even harder and to prove to them that I can.”
A roller coaster of a year
Last year, Lee showed the haters what she’s capable of. In her first year on the senior circuit, she finished second at nationals and went on to win gold, silver and bronze medals at the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
She did it while recovering from a stress fracture in her ankle — and while her father recovered from a traumatic spinal injury.
In August, the day before she was to leave for nationals in Kansas City, Missouri, John Lee fell while helping a friend trim tree branches. He broke his ribs and injured his spinal cord, becoming paralyzed from the chest down.
Even though she knew her appearance was crucial to building momentum toward the Olympics, Sunisa Lee debated whether to skip nationals to be with her dad. Out of her entire family, it’s been her father who has shared her Olympic aspirations, serving as her biggest cheerleader.
“There was a point where I was thinking to not go because I have next year,” she said.
But go she did, though “my head was everywhere and I was a mess,” Lee said.
During the two days of competition, she rallied. Lee ended up in second place behind Biles, the five-time Olympic medalist. She also won the uneven bars title and took bronze in floor.
“I ended up pulling myself together and switching gears and competing for my dad,” she said.
He was watching from the hospital when she went on to win a world team title in Stuttgart, Germany, in October. He went home in time to see her compete in the all-around competition days later.
John Lee recently finished physical therapy at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, where he’s been working on gaining more independence. He — along with the rest of her family — have made plans to be there in Tokyo when Sunisa wins her gold medal.
“If I could get up, I’ll do a back flip,” John Lee said of how he’ll celebrate.
One more year
The decision to postpone the 2020 Games wasn’t totally unexpected. Sunisa Lee had been preparing for the possibility since earlier this month, when a major competition she was supposed to compete in was canceled.
But she said the news was met with a mixture of sadness and relief. Sadness, because it’s a big ask of elite athletes to wait one more year; the training they do day in and out can be brutal. Relief because at least now they know what will happen. For weeks, organizers had been hesitant to delay the games, despite increasing pushback.
Lee is trying to look on the bright side, though.
“Now I’ve got one more year to improve,” she said.

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Minnesota Sports

Vikings will need heavy lift from new man in middle Pierce

By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Pro Football Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Michael Pierce will bring an exceptional amount of strength to the Minnesota Vikings, whenever they’re able to convene once concern about the coronavirus spread has subsided.
He’ll fit right in, because there’ll be a lot of heavy lifting to do on a defense that will have a decidedly different look.
“I would believe I’m at least in the top 10 stronger guys in the NFL, so yeah, man, I have a sheer love for weightlifting. I’d be doing that if I wasn’t playing football,” Pierce said Friday on a conference call with reporters. “I’d probably be trying to try out for the Olympics or join the USA Olympic weightlifting team. So, yeah, I take pride in it. I’ll let the videos speak for themselves and my play on the field speak for itself, but yeah, that’s been a hobby of mine ever since I’ve started.”
Pierce, who agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract with $18 million in guaranteed money with Minnesota after four seasons with Baltimore, went undrafted out of FCS program Samford. He eventually muscled his way into the starting lineup. There’s plenty of visual evidence to be found online of his power, including a 725-pound squat he once performed in college. The 6-foot, 345-pound Pierce is agile enough, too, to do a cartwheel.
That love for weightlifting undoubtedly helped the Alabama native overcome the odds of sticking in the league out of a small school. It also worked against him last year. Pierce was so focused on his power-training program he neglected his fitness and nutrition, showed up at 390 pounds for minicamp, causing Ravens coaches to hold him out of those practices.
“Mismanaged my cardiovascular program very, very bad. That’s due to me just doing my own thing and not being under a trainer’s wing,” Pierce said. “I wasn’t eating as well as I could, and I was more worried about lifting weights than running as much as I should have been. So I went through that last spring and got myself in shape this summer and passed the conditioning test, and I was ready to go, man. I totally overhauled everything that I’ve done.”
Pierce dropped 30 pounds before training camp last year, when he was hampered by an ankle injury but started 14 games. Pierce said his optimal playing weight is 345 pounds.
So far the only outside free agent the Vikings have added, Pierce will be counted on to help stabilize a defense from which five starters have departed: end Everson Griffen, tackle Linval Joseph, and cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander. Three key backups, defensive end Stephen Weatherly and safety Jayron Kearse and Andrew Sendejo, have also joined other teams.
Griffen’s agent, Brian Murphy, announced Friday they ended talks with the Vikings “because they have to spend their money elsewhere and we decided to now focus our attention on free agency.”
The longest-tenured player on the team, Griffen accumulated 74 1/2 sacks in 10 seasons. The 32-year-old posted a goodbye message to Minnesota on his Instagram account.
“When I came to Minnesota as a fourth-round pick out of USC, I had no idea how much my life would change over the next 10 years. I realized my dream of playing in the NFL, went to four Pro Bowls and came within one game of playing in the Super Bowl in front of the best fans in the country. More importantly, I became a husband, a dad, and met teammates who became brothers for life. I also stumbled a few times on my journey and could not be more grateful for the unconditional support and love I received from SKOL Nation. While it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye, I leave Minnesota in the best physical and mental shape I have ever been and have many Pro Bowl seasons to come! Wherever my next stop is, I will always be grateful to and cheering for the Vikings. Thank you all for the love, support and memories,” Griffen wrote.
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Minnesota Sports

Cap-strapped Vikings could lose several key players

By The Associated Press
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11-7)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: DE Everson Griffen, CB Xavier Rhodes, DT Linval Joseph, CB Trae Waynes, CB Mackensie Alexander, K Dan Bailey, S Andrew Sendejo, S Jayron Kearse, T Rashod Hill, QB Sean Mannion, G Dakota Dozier, RB/KR Ameer Abdullah, WR Laquon Treadwell, LB Kentrell Brothers, CB/PR Marcus Sherels, C Brett Jones.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: LB Eric Wilson.
NEEDS: With Waynes and Alexander hitting market and seven-year starter Rhodes joining them after being cut for cap savings, cornerback is suddenly thin position. Coach Mike Zimmer says he expects Griffen to re-sign, but Vikings are cap-strapped for second straight spring. Contract extension for quarterback Kirk Cousins has provided some relief, enough to retain safety Anthony Harris on franchise tag to keep him from hitting market. Upgrade at left guard would be useful, unless Riley Reiff moves inside. Then new left tackle would become need. After striking deal to send Stefon Diggs to Bills, wide receiver position is mostly bare behind Adam Thielen. Proven backup for Cousins is on list, too.
AVAILABLE SALARY CAP SPACE: approximately $12 million.