Minnesota Minute: Willians Astudillo is nearly an MVP

Four Minnesota teams were in action this week, but the most polarizing figure in Minnesota sports this week wasn’t even playing in the United States, much less the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Read about how all your favorite squads did this past week!

Minnesota Vikings

Results and News: With the coaching carousel coming to an end, the Minnesota Vikings made a few final changes to their staff. The team announced that Mike Priefer would not return as special teams coach. Priefer had been apart of the Vikings coaching staff since 2011. They also announced that former Denver Broncos head coach, Gary Kubiak will join the staff as an offensive advisor.

Stat of the Week: In 2019, the Vikings struggled to run the ball. Whether their struggles were due to a lacking offensive line or Dalvin Cook had trouble knocking the rust off of a lengthy ACL recovery it all filled into the fact that the Vikings were 29th in expected points per rush. If offense hopes to have some sort of rushing attack in 2019, bolstering the offensive line will be a good start.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Results and News: In three games this past week, the Wolves managed to squeak out one win, as Derrick Rose hit a fadeaway jumper with 0.6 seconds to claim a 116-114 win over the Suns. In a disappointing loss against Philadelphia, Karl Anthony Towns only compiled 13 points and three rebounds. Derrick Rose made his presence known with 15 points, but it wasn’t enough to stop Jimmy Butler and the 76ers. The team makes the trip west for a handful of late matchups. They face off against the Phoenix Suns (1/22), the Los Angeles Lakers (1/24) and the Utah Jazz (1/25).

Stat of the Week: Among centers, Karl Anthony Towns is tied 2nd in scoring with just over 22 points per game. He is also 7th in assists (2.9) and rebounds (12.2) among centers in the NBA.

Minnesota Twins

Results and News: This makes it back to back weeks that the Twins front office inks relievers. Last week, the team signed Blake Parker and this week they signed Martin Perez to a one-year deal with a one-year club option. The lefty posted career worsts in walk rate, HR/9, ERA, and FIP in 2018. A bounce back season could provide a great value to a dismal bullpen.

Stat of the Week: In big news for Twins Territory, Willians Astudillo finishes as Winter League MVP runner-up to… Delmon Young. Yes, that Delmon Young. In Astudillo’s winter league season, he batted .325 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs. Even more astounding than this batting stats, the Twins fan favorite had just one more strikeout (4) than stolen bases (3) in his 234 at-bats. And in case you haven’t seen Astudillo’s go-ahead home run in the Winter League playoffs…

Minnesota Wild

Results and News: The Wild had four games this week and also swung a couple of trades. Minnesota fell on the road to Philadelphia (4-7) before three home games. The Wild picked up a shootout win against Los Angeles Kings (3-2), lost to the lowly Anaheim Ducks (0-3), and picked up a win against a tough Columbus team (2-1) on Hockey Day Minnesota. First, the Wild swapped AHL stud center Justin Kloos for left wing Pontus Aberg in a deal with the Ducks. The Wild then dealt one of the more notable players, right wing Nino Niederreiter, to the Hurricanes for center Victor Rask. The Wild hit the road for games against the Las Vegas Golden Knights (Monday) and the Colorado Avalanche (Wednesday) before the NHL All-Star break.

Stat of the Week: Rask has had a disappointing season in his time with the Hurricanes with only seven points on the year. However, the Swedish second-round pick has collected five points in in last seven games, including an assist in his first game in a Wild sweater.

Minnesota Golden Gopher Men’s Basketball

Results and News: In their two matchups of the week (both against winless Big Ten teams), the maroon and gold were able to sneak away with one win. In an absolute blowout in Champagne, Illinois against the Fighting Illini, the Gophers were manhandled with the scoreboard reading 95-68 at the final buzzer. In their second matchup of the week, it was a barn burner at the Barn as Jordan Murphy stepped up and was able to right the ship. In the 65-64 win, Murphy recorded 19 points, 21 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals. Next up this week they head to Ann Arbor to take on the highly ranked Michigan Wolverines (Tuesday) who are fresh off of a loss and then they come back to host the Iowa Hawkeyes (Sunday).

Stat of the Week: In Jordan Murphy’s standout performance against Penn State, he recorded 15 points, and 17 rebounds in the 2nd half alone! He will be relied on as he looks to carry his team into the thick of the Big Ten schedule.

Minnesota Golden Gopher Women’s Basketball

Results and News: After a four game losing streak, the bleeding stopped after a win over the Wisconsin Badgers in the Kohl Center. They followed that up with a nail biting loss against the Cornhuskers of Nebraska. Kenisha Bell once again filled the stat sheet with 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists. This week they look to get back on track against the Purdue Boilermakers (1/24) in their lone game of the week.

Stat of the Week: Lindsay Whalen’s squad has had a tough time in clutch situation in Big Ten play. In their last four losses, the Golden Gophers have lost the fourth quarter to their opponents by an average of 11.5 points. Each of the four opponents have outscored the Gophers by at least seven points in the final frame.

Minnesota Golden Gopher Football

Results and News: Gopher football received a commitment from defensive tackle Micah Dew-Treadway who will leave Notre Dame to play for the maroon and gold. He will likely replace OJ Smith who will be forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. The team will also welcome a new defensive backs coach as Jahmile Addae is set to join his alma mater at West Virginia. He will be replaced by Rod Chance who was a defensive assistant for the Oregon Ducks in 2018.

Stat of the Week: Former Gopher OJ Smith was one of 103 underclassmen to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft. That set a new record for underclassmen to enter a NFL Draft, which broke last year’s mark. If Smith were to be taken, it would be the first Gopher defensive lineman to be picked in the NFL Draft since 2014 when Ra’Shede Hageman was taken in 2014 by the Atlanta Falcons with the 5th pick in the 2nd round.

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