Minnesota Minute: Young Coaches Trend in Different Directions

The Minnesota sports scene has seen quite the changing in leadership in the past year. Check out this week’s Minnesota Minute to learn more about the status of young coaches Lindsay Whalen, Ryan Saunders, Rocco Baldelli, Kevin Stefanski, and Richard Pitino.

Minnesota Vikings

Results and News: After reports that the Vikings and Kevin Stefanski would be parting ways this offseason, the young offensive mind signed a new deal with Minnesota to the offensive coordinator the day after his contract expired. The Vikings have also hired former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak as an offensive assistant while his son Klint Kubiak will be the Vikings QB coach.

Stat of the Week: 13. That is number of years that Kevin Stefanski has been with the Vikings organization, longer than any of the Vikings players and nearly of their coaches and front office personnel. It will be interesting to see if Stefanski can right the ship after many years of up and down play on the offensive side of the ball for the purple and gold.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Results and News: The Timberwolves went 2-1 this week in three tight contest. Ryan Saunders claimed his first NBA win with a 119-117 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a huge 40-point performance from Andrew Wiggins. The Wolves then fell to Dallas at home (119-115) before bouncing back to beat New Orleans (110-106) behind a 27-point, 27-rebound game from Karl-Anthony Towns. The Wolves have a big matchup in Philadelphia on Tuesday against Jimmy Butler and Co. before home games against the Spurs (Friday) and Suns (Sunday).

Stat of the Week: Along with eye-popping offensive and rebounding numbers, Towns has significantly improved his defensive game, especially protecting the rim. KAT is third in the NBA in contested shots per game at 15.4, just behind Brook Lopez and Rudy Gobert.

Ryan Saunders is already bringing a different coaching style to the table in three games as the head coach. Photo by David Joles/Star Tribune

Minnesota Twins

Results and News: The Twins signed former Angels reliever Blake Parker to a very team friendly deal, a sneaky good pickup for the Minnesota nine. Parker certainly could fit in to an 8th or 9th inning role for the Twins (3.24 career ERA), and the team will also have rights to the 33-year old in 2020.

Stat of the Week: 10.3. That is Blake Parker’s career K/9 rate, which will be an outlier for the Twins pitching staff. Only one Twins pitcher had a double-digit K/9 last year, which was Trevor May (who pitched just 25.1 innings). It could also be a sign that the front office is looking to add and sustain more strikeout arms for the future.

Blake Parker will almost certainly be a late-inning reliever for the Twins. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Minnesota Wild

Results and News: The Wild split their four games last weekend. On their first two contest on the road, they won 1-0 against Montreal before losing 4-0 to the Boston. Back at the Excel, the Wild claimed a 3-2 win against Winnipeg before a 5-2 loss to Detroit, which Bruce Boudreau said afterwards was “the worst [game] since I’ve been here.”

Stat of the Week: 10.2. That is Jason Zucker’s “expected” plus/minus for the season (based on advanced hockey analytics), which ranks 19th in the NHL. Though Zucker has been inconsistent this season, that mark is the best on the Wild, closely followed by Eric Staal (10.0, 21st NHL).

Minnesota Golden Gopher Men’s Basketball

Results and News: In their lone game of the week, Amir Coffey led Richard Pitino’s crew to their third conference win of the year. Coffey finished with 29 points, going 10-14 from the field. Having another standout day was Dupree McBrayer, who had 15 points and a career-high 10 assists. Jordan Murphy had yet another double double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. This week they play at Illinois (Wednesday) and host Penn State at the Barn (Saturday).

Stat of the Week: Minnesota has made its presence known in the paint this year. The duo of Daniel Oturu and Jordan Murphy has led the way in dominating the glass this season. They lead the Big Ten in offensive rebounds per game with 13.44 per game.

Amir Coffey leads the Big Ten in scoring in conference play. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Minnesota Golden Gopher Women’s Basketball

Results and News: After starting the season 13-1, things were going well for Lindsay Whalen/ The honeymoon phase has quickly ended with the team losing four straight Big Ten games, two this past week. In a recent matchup between the #22 Iowa Hawkeyes and #23 ranked Gophers, the maroon and gold fell 81-63. Kenisha Bell finished with 22 points and Taiye Bello recorded a double double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Stat of the Week: It has consistently been stated that getting the to free throw line is key to being a successful basketball team. Lindsay Whalen and her crew are doing just that. The Gopher women’s basketball team ranks not only 1st in the Big Ten, but also fourth in the entire country in total free throws attempted with 380 total.

Minnesota Golden Gopher Football

Results and News: There were some minor changes to the staff as Marcus West has left for the University of Charlotte. He will be replaced by Jim Panagos who has been an award winning assistant at Temple University. PJ Fleck will also be looking for a new defensive backs coach as Jahmile Addae has left for West Virginia. The Row the Boat family gained another member this week as former USC Trojan and 4* athlete, Randal Grimes committed to the Gophers after a visit this past weekend. Grimes is a 6-5 physical freak who will more than likely sit out this year, but will likely take over the Tyler Johnson role in 2020.

Stat of the Week: New Gopher and former USC Trojan, Randal Grimes was was a member of the class of 2016. According to 247 Sports, Grimes was ranked as the #11 athlete in the class which would be the highest rated “athlete” to ever wear the maroon and gold.

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