RandBall

Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Vikings Post-game Meltdown: Peterson, special teams and the difference a week makes

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 14th at 4:00pm 275060771

Well, that was ugly. Let’s get right to it with some immediate post-game thoughts:

1) The big story for the past 48 hours, without a doubt, has been the saga of Adrian Peterson. The bulk of the discussion has been on off-field matters relating to his indictment, and rightfully so. We had a chance to speak with a handful of Vikings fans at TCF Bank Stadium before Sunday’s game, and we were interested to hear their thoughtful responses when it comes to Peterson. Two fans wearing AP jerseys said they hesitated before putting their jerseys on for the game, but both essentially said they want to see how the process plays out before passing further judgment. Another fan, though, was wearing a Cordarrelle Patterson jersey that he bought Friday to replace his Peterson jersey. The fan, who has three young daughters, said he can’t support Peterson any more even if he will continue to watch the Vikings.

At noon, the focus turned to on-field matters, and the big question was how the Vikings would function offensively without a player who, even when he isn’t dominant (which he was not last week), gives opposing defenses plenty to think about. Matt Asiata does not similarly strike fear into opponents. We’re not sure how much of Sunday’s offensive struggle was due to Peterson’s absence, since Matt Cassel made some awful throws and the offensive line struggled all day, but a New England defense that looked ordinary at best last week looked quite good this week.

2) The biggest play of the game was probably Cassel’s first INT, an underthrown deep ball the Patriots returned to the Vikings’ 1 and cashed in for a score that tied the game 7-7 after an impressive first Minnesota drive. But the second-biggest play was the blocked field goal at the end of the first half; if Blair Walsh knocks it through, it’s 17-10 New England at the break, and the game is theoretically still up for grabs. Instead, of course, it was blocked and returned for a TD that made it 24-7. That play, combined with a big punt return by Julian Edelman, made us think about a story line that hasn’t popped up much but is still relevant: the absence of special teams coach Mike Priefer, who is serving his suspension after the Chris Kluwe investigation. Regardless of what you think of Priefer personally and whether he should still have a job, he has been a very good special teams coach during his tenure here. Joe Marciano was hired as an interim special teams coach, but it’s certainly possible that the Vikings missed Priefer on Sunday. He can return as early as this coming week if his suspension is reduced from three games to two.

3) We wrote on Wednesday that this game against New England would be the defining game of the Vikings’ season. Sure, it’s weird to think of Game 2 of 16 having that kind of weight, but we really felt it was going to be a test of where Minnesota really is. A win against New England meant the Vikings were suddenly 2-0 against what many thought was a tough early schedule. A loss meant a reality check.

Well, we certainly got the reality check. The Vikings have questions all over the field — still in the secondary, still on the offensive line and certainly at QB after Cassel’s performance. If coaches were geniuses a week ago, we can tap the brakes on that talk. Having Peterson removed from the game plan abruptly certainly didn’t help, but this loss was far more wide-reaching than just one player.

Much like the sobering loss to the Patriots in 2006 in Brad Childress’ first season — the Vikings entered that game 4-2 — this one is a reminder of just how far Minnesota has to go to be a consistently competitive team.

Must-see video: Chest bump in high school football goes terribly awry

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 12th at 1:30pm 274925661

We’re having a hard time coming up with pearls of wisdom today, so we’ll go back to the always-available Plan B: find an amusing video and let you enjoy it instead of just babbling for the sake of babbling.

Please, then, enjoy the aftermath of a TD from what appears to be an 8-man football game in Tennessee. This is what happens when one person in a chest bump has more momentum than the other:

TFD: The Twins are now 70-140 since 2011 in games after Aug. 1

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 12th at 7:02am 274821611

We’ve written here before about the tendency of Twins’ seasons since 2011 to go from OK to mediocre to bad to worse as the season progresses.

We wondered if this year would be different. And so far, that answer is a resounding “no.”

Minnesota was efficiently swept in a doubleheader Thursday, losing twice before almost every other MLB team could even lose once.

That brings the Twins’ record since Aug. 1 to 14-25 — awful, to be sure, but more interestingly it gives us some round numbers.

In games after Aug. 1 each of the last four seasons, the Twins are now a combined 70-140. It doesn’t take a math genius to know that’s a .333 winning percentage, meaning they are winning one of every three games in the dog days. (Frighteningly, that 14-25 mark this season is slightly ahead of the overall pace).

Some of this happens because the team lets younger players have a shot in the later months. But some of it could be viewed as an indictment of effort and leadership.

All of it should be remembered at the end of this year, and again in 2015 if the team starts off with a hint of promise before fading fast.

Kyle Gibson's promising Twins season has turned to rubble

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 11th at 3:28pm 274791501

gibson2Remember when Kyle Gibson was 6-5 with a 3.25 ERA in mid-June?

Or, at the very least, do you remember when Gibson was 11-9 with a 3.93 ERA less than a month ago?

And remember how there were outings where Gibson was simply unhittable, which made up for the (fewer) times he was shelled and knocked out of a game early?

Well, what was a promising season has turned to rubble. Maybe it’s not a total loss since we can still see the makings of a good pitcher in there, but if you were thinking a month ago that Gibson had the makings of a solid mid-rotation pitcher for years to come, you might be adjusting that expectation now.

Sure, this is still just his first full season. But in his last five starts, he’s allowed 22 ER in 25 innings — including three innings, 7 ER in the brutal first game of a doubleheader Thursday — and watched his ERA bloat up to 4.58.

He has an incredible eight starts this season of at least 6 innings and zero earned runs allowed. But bad Gibson has crept up more and more as the season has gone on, to the point that you have to wonder exactly where Gibson fits into the 2015 plans.

Thursday (The NFL's trust problem) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated September 11th at 12:07pm 274754761

goodellThe NFL has a trust problem.

Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe Americans will just keep watching games, setting our fantasy lineups and throwing down beers to wash the week away. If there was a smart bet, actually, it would be on this exact thing happening after the NFL is done recoiling from the colossal mess it has made of the Ray Rice investigation.

But maybe it does matter because, honestly — strangely — this is the first time we’ve really looked at the NFL with the kind of glance that says, “eh, maybe we don’t really need this?” And we don’t think we’re alone.

It didn’t happen with other scandals. We said “strangely” in that last paragraph because it probably should have happened to us with all the news of brain injuries and how the NFL has handled that.  But it didn’t. Maybe this feels more front-and-center. Maybe, as we’ve noted before, perceptions change when you become a father. Maybe there’s just enough outrageous behavior and concrete evidence mixed with suspicion that the league is making things up as it goes along — ingredients that make it impossible to ignore.

If you never questioned the NFL before, that has likely changed. If you had a vague distrust of the league before, that has likely escalated. And if you’ve been suspicious of the league for a while, you are ready to welcome others onto the bandwagon.

The league says until this week it never saw the full tape of Rice knocking his then-fiance out with a punch on an elevator. The AP refutes that with a source, and anything the NFL says beyond that is flimsy at best.

The league says it will conduct an independent investigation of the handling of this entire matter … and then names TWO NFL OWNERS as the ones who will oversee it.

As Alec Sulkin tweeted perfectly, “I wonder if the NFL will let the NFL get away with this.”

The NFL couldn’t have gotten the tape if it wanted to because it was illegal? Wrong again!

If you dig a hole deep enough, maybe you wind up back at the top?

It stands to reason that we shouldn’t believe anything the NFL has said or done up to this point in this matter. And that calls into question whether we should ever believe anything league says or does ever again.

That’s a trust problem. Can we still support a league we don’t trust? Can we separate the failures at the top from the game that is so ingrained in us? Should we even want to?

Those are questions we will legitimately struggle with going forward.

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Tampa Bay - WP: J. McGee 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: B. Morrow 5
Cleveland - LP: B. Shaw 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 6
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: E. Volquez 7
Miami - WP: A. DeSclafani 5 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Papelbon 4
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 2 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: M. Garza 9
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 8 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 4
Minnesota - WP: T. May 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 4
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 4
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 10
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 6 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Santiago 1
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 4 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit 2
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 6 FINAL
Arizona - WP: Z. Spruill 8
Oakland - WP: J. Lester 4 FINAL
Seattle - LP: C. Young 0
NY Yankees - LP: D. Robertson 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: D. O`Day 3
Miami 10 FINAL
Buffalo 29
Jacksonville 10 FINAL
Washington 41
Dallas 26 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Arizona 25 FINAL
NY Giants 14
New England 30 FINAL
Minnesota 7
New Orleans 24 FINAL
Cleveland 26
Atlanta 10 FINAL
Cincinnati 24
Detroit 7 FINAL
Carolina 24
St. Louis 19 FINAL
Tampa Bay 17
Seattle 21 FINAL
San Diego 30
NY Jets 24 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Kansas City 17 FINAL
Denver 24
Houston 30 FINAL
Oakland 14
Chicago 28 FINAL
San Francisco 20
Philadelphia 9/15/14 7:30 PM
Indianapolis
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
Boise State 38 FINAL
Connecticut 21
Indiana 42 FINAL
Bowling Green 45
Ga Southern 38 FINAL
Georgia Tech 42
Syracuse 40 FINAL
Central Mich 3
UCF 10 FINAL
(18) Missouri 38
Massachusetts 31 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
Ohio U 14 FINAL
Marshall 44
West Virginia 40 FINAL
Maryland 37
Kent State 0 FINAL
(23) Ohio State 66
Pittsburgh 42 FINAL
FIU 25
East Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia Tech 21
Louisville 21 FINAL
Virginia 23
Wyoming 14 FINAL
(2) Oregon 48
Air Force 48 FINAL
Georgia State 38
(13) Georgia 35 FINAL
(14) So Carolina 38
Arkansas 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 28
Iowa State 20 FINAL
Iowa 17
Miami-Ohio 10 FINAL
Michigan 34
Kansas 3 FINAL
Duke 41
NC State 49 FINAL
So Florida 17
Arkansas State 20 FINAL
Miami-Florida 41
Miss State 35 FINAL
South Alabama 3
Louisiana 15 FINAL
(10) Ole Miss 56
Minnesota 7 FINAL
TCU 30
Illinois 19 FINAL
Washington 44
Army 0 FINAL
(16) Stanford 35
Western Mich 45 FINAL
Idaho 33
Eastern Mich 3 FINAL
Old Dominion 17
Southern Miss 12 FINAL
(3) Alabama 52
Northern Ill 48 FINAL
UNLV 34
Tulsa 21 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 50
ULM 0 FINAL
(8) LSU 31
Wake Forest 24 FINAL
Utah State 36
Western Ky 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 50
TX-San Antonio 13 FINAL
(25) Oklahoma State 43
Purdue 14 FINAL
(9) Notre Dame 30
Kentucky 30 FINAL
Florida 36
New Mexico St 24 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 42
Tennessee 10 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 34
(17) USC 31 FINAL
Boston College 37
Navy 35 FINAL
Texas State 21
(12) UCLA 20 FINAL
Texas 17
Penn State 13 FINAL
Rutgers 10
Rice 10 FINAL
(6) Texas A&M 38
(15) Arizona State 38 FINAL
Colorado 24
(24) Nebraska 55 FINAL
Fresno State 19
Nevada 28 FINAL
Arizona 35
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
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(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
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Vanderbilt
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West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
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New Mexico St
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Arizona
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Boise State
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Washington St
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Oregon State
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Montreal 16 FINAL
Edmonton 33
Toronto 33 FINAL
Calgary 40
Winnipeg 9 FINAL
Brt Columbia 26
Saskatchewan 3 FINAL
Hamilton 28

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