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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Wednesday (Most important recent Vikings draft pick) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 15th at 12:02pm 279289192

brigewaterWe wrote today for the Newspaper Of The Twin Cities about the Vikings’ seven recent first-round draft picks — all of whom were chosen by GM Rick Spielman in the past three drafts, which is a volume of first-round picks unprecedented in a three-year span for any NFL team over the last quarter-century.

The general sentiment was that Spielman is inevitably linked to those seven picks, as they will largely, as a collective, determine how successful the Vikings’ rebuilding project is. Whenever you have that many shots at elite talent, they need to pay off.

We noted that all seven have shown anywhere from flashes of brilliance to consistently strong play, but all have had setbacks of varying degrees as well.

In this venue, we pose a question:

Assuming that Matt Kalil (the first of the seven picks) and Teddy Bridgewater (the last of the seven picks) are the most important individuals in determining the success of the Vikings, in what order would you put the other five when it comes to their importance to the future of the team?

(Or, if you disagree that Kalil and/or Bridgewater are at the top of the list, we’d love to hear that reasoning as well).

Our order goes like this:

Bridgewater, Kalil, Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr, Cordarrelle Patterson and Sharrif Floyd. The logic? Secondary play is the most important part of a defense these days, so Rhodes and Smith go right behind two guys who are largely influential in the offensive passing game. Barr is next because he has the ability to be an elite game-changer. Patterson after that because, as good as he can be as a field-stretcher, finding capable wide receivers and return men is not as daunting a task as restocking other positions. Floyd is last because as an interior lineman his contributions are less important, or at least less noticeable, in today’s game.

Your thoughts, please, in the comments.

TFD: The Vikings can't lose to a QB with this mustache, can they?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 14th at 5:11pm 279201511

Kyle Orton’s mustache is … man. Wow. That’s the starting quarterback for the Bills. This is a real test, Vikings.

NBA experiment with shorter games is both intriguing and weird

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 15th at 6:40am 279179231

Seemingly out of the blue — at least it wasn’t anywhere near our radar — the NBA announced it will test out a 44-minute game when the Celtics and Nets meet in the preseason Sunday.

Both head coaches sound like they’re on board, and the experiment in general comes on the heels of coaches telling the league they want to find ways to tighten up games.

On one hand, this is certainly intriguing. Any league willing to look at ways to improve pace of play is smart, and if the likelihood is that the bulk of the minutes in a shorter game would get taken away from the reserves, there wouldn’t seem to be much of a quality sacrifice.

On the other hand, we’ve never really thought NBA games were too long. Each team is afforded too many timeouts, so squeezing those would be a way to increase the pace, but most games clock in at 2 hours, 30 minutes or less — certainly reasonable. Playoff games take longer, but playoff games are awesome. Also, it’s strange to think of the impact on statistical comparisons between eras — akin to baseball, when it went from 154 games to 162.

Finally, 11 minutes seems downright weird. Either go all the way to 10 minutes — 40 minute games, same as the NCAA and international play — or leave it the way it is.

Sunday’s preseason game is merely an experiment and no changes are imminent. If you want to see what 11-minute quarters look like, the game is being shown on NBA TV. We bet it looks like a regular game, only shorter.

Tuesday (Preparing for more of the same from Twins in 2015) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 14th at 12:13pm 279145151

ryanhughesIt’s not hard to listen to comments from Terry Ryan and Dave St. Peter in two different venues — a recent conference call with season ticket holders, and again in interviews with the Star Tribune’s Phil Miller — and reach this conclusion: 2015 will be more of the same from the Twins, by design.

Or, in perhaps more flattering terms: the Twins are going to hope that 2015 is the kind of year they had hoped 2014 would be, and they are a year behind schedule in their rebuild because of injuries to key minor league players and the underperformance of players on the major league club.

How else would one react to quotes from Ryan such as these?

“I don’t want to punt on 2015, but it’s still going to be a struggle.”


“Sometimes you make decisions that ultimately are going to benefit you down the line that don’t look exactly like what you want right now.”

The Twins have decided they aren’t going to budge much on payroll from 2014 to 2015, meaning it again will be around $85 million and that almost all of it is already tied up in existing players. We don’t necessarily think this is a bad idea, but let’s be clear: this is a choice, and an artificial spending cap. If the Twins wanted to spend more, they certainly could (remember, 2014 was the start of a major bump in national TV revenue for all MLB clubs).

Ryan is right when he says spending foolishly could set the club back even further (at least if they guessed wrong on big-ticket, long-term deals). He is also right when he notes that teams can be competitive with payrolls comparable to what the Twins project to have next season.

But what it adds up to is a season of hoping, not realistically expecting, that things will not devolve into a fifth consecutive 90-loss season. There were good signs last season, particularly with young hitters and Phil Hughes, but without the influx of more established players via free agency, Minnesota will be banking on two guys who will make up between 40-45 percent of the payroll combined (Joe Mauer and Ricky Nolasco) to live up to their contracts and for other young players to make meaningful contributions (while the ones who made strides this year avoid a step back, which is easier said than done).

Before Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and others essentially lost the 2014 season, we imagine the Twins’ blueprint was something like this: ride improved pitching and young hitting to a .500 record in 2014, get onto the fringe of contention in 2015 and then really make a run in 2016 and beyond. Now we have to imagine .500 is the goal next year, and we can clearly see the Twins don’t intend to try to spend their way to a few more victories.

It’s not right or wrong, but it is the choice they have made.

TFD: Announcer who called Sunday's Vikings game battled with angry fans on Twitter

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated October 14th at 11:36am 279057381

jenningsMike Goldberg, who normally calls UFC events for Fox (and previously did Wild games), made his NFL debut Sunday for the Vikings/Lions game.

It did not go well.  At all. Like, we really mean it.

Goldberg butchered plenty of plays, at one point confusing Golden Tate and Greg Jennings (who are both wide receivers and who both wear No. 15, but do not happen to play for the same team).

Fans took him to task on Twitter — many of them not as politely as the ones we highlighted above. Instead of turning the other cheek, Goldberg unloaded on them in a series of (since-deleted) tweets that included high volumes of profanity, as noted by Pro Football Talk.

The real fun, though? Goldberg is slated to again be the lead guy when the Vikings play the Bills on Sunday. We look forward to many TD passes from Kyle Orton to Cordarrelle Patterson.


San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM


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