Football

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The Vikings will play their first preseason game on Aug. 8 at TCF Bank Stadium.
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Wed, 08/06/2014
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In the past year, TCF Bank Stadium has been the site of football, hockey and soccer games, as well as the University of Minnesota homecoming and MLB All-Star Game concerts.

This weekend, the venue will get a new inhabitant when the Minnesota Vikings host the Oakland Raiders on Friday in a preseason game at TCF, their home for at least the next two seasons as they await their new stadium.

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Tight end Duke Anyanwu will miss the season with a right knee injury.
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Wed, 08/06/2014
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Looking ahead to the 2014 season, tight end is one of Minnesota’s strongest positions on the offensive side of the ball.

Maxx Williams is returning after a breakout freshman season, and senior Drew Goodger is a workhorse blocker capable of catching passes in the open field.

But Duke Anyanwu, who could have played a big role at tight end along with Williams and Goodger, is out for the season with a right knee injury, Gophers head coach Jerry Kill told reporters Monday.

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The Big Ten runs the ball more than ever before, but the style of play has changed.
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Wed, 08/06/2014
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Iowa running back Mark Weisman lowered his shoulder and rumbled in between tackles, bouncing off Gophers defenders for an 11-yard gain.

Rain dripping off the Hawkeyes’ facemasks, they lined up for the next play, and quarterback Jake Rudock handed the football off to Weisman again: 5 yards.

And again: 2 more yards.

That sequence — part of Iowa’s 23-7 victory at Minnesota last season — was a throwback display of Big Ten smash-mouth football.

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David Cobb finished 12th in program history in rushing yards last season.
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Wed, 07/30/2014
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CHICAGO — David Cobb began last season as Minnesota’s third-string running back.

But when he got an opportunity in the first game of the season, he seized it.

Starting running back Donnell Kirkwood sprained his ankle against Nevada-Las Vegas, and Cobb came into the game and rattled off a 60-yard run.

After leapfrogging Kirkwood and Rodrick Williams at the position, Cobb kicks off this season as Minnesota’s go-to guy in the backfield.

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Jerry Kill has battled epilepsy for years, but his condition seems to be getting better.
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Wed, 07/30/2014
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CHICAGO — At a recent summer workout, the Gophers slammed their chests down to the ground in unison and pushed off the turf with their arms, repeating that process over and over again.

Midway through the conditioning drill, called up-downs, senior safety Cedric Thompson noticed something unexpected.

“I look over and I see coach [Jerry] Kill doing up-downs with us,” Thompson said. “I was honestly shocked.”

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Minnesota ranked last in the Big Ten in passing yards last season.
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Wed, 07/30/2014
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CHICAGO — Throughout last season, the Gophers claimed that having two capable quarterbacks in Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner was a positive.

“You can play two kids that can run your offense,” offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said in September 2013 of Minnesota’s quarterback situation.

Entering the 2014 campaign, Nelson is out of the picture and Leidner is Minnesota’s team leader. Now, the Gophers are saying that having one signal caller could help them take the next step as a football team.

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Wed, 07/30/2014
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CHICAGO — For many, Big Ten Media Days was the first chance to see Gophers football players Mitch Leidner, David Cobb and Cedric Thompson up close.

The trio engaged in numerous interviews throughout the two days, but they also had a chance to express themselves nonverbally: through their fashion.

Senior safety Cedric Thompson

For Thompson, the event was the first time he wore a suit.

“I hate wearing them. They feel so stiff,” he said.

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Betsy Helfand and Chelsea Gortmaker
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Caleb Bak used to protect Gophers quarterbacks and now is focused on keeping information secure.
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Wed, 07/23/2014
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Long before Caleb Bak tried his hand at protecting Gophers quarterbacks from opposing defenses, he was a self-proclaimed nerd. 

The former offensive lineman developed a passion for fiddling with computers from a young age, and after a blow to his head knocked him out of college football, his time for technology freed.

“It’s hard for me not to sit down at a computer and tinker with it a little bit,” Bak said.

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McNamara also played basketball, and he has influenced University of Minnesota athletics in many ways.
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Wed, 07/23/2014
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Bob McNamara, an All-America football player and an influential Gophers fundraiser, died on Sunday night at age 82 after a battle with cancer.

McNamara played both football and basketball for the University of Minnesota in the 1950s, but his influence in the athletics department spanned long after that.

Athletics director Norwood Teague said in a statement that the University “had no greater advocate” than McNamara.

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Ra’Shede Hageman and Brock Vereen begin training camp on Thursday.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 07/23/2014
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The past two months have been a whirlwind for former Gophers defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman.

After being selected No. 37 by the Atlanta Falcons in May’s NFL Draft, Hageman received a reported $2.2 million signing bonus, bought a Porsche, moved south and started memorizing a thick, new playbook in preparation for the upcoming season.

And as Hageman reports to Falcons training camp Thursday, he’s confident in his ability to adjust to the life of being a NFL player.

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