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Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings

The Philadelphia Eagles lost a pair of linebackers on Tuesday: one by design and one as a result of injury.

The Eagles released Mychal Kendricks, who has been the subject of trade speculation for multiple offseasons. Kendricks was seen leaving the team’s practice facility Tuesday morning.

There were ample opportunities to play Hackenberg in meaningless games in 2016 and ’17, yet the coaching staff never felt comfortable with the prospect of him leading the offense.

General Manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur each said that Apple would get a clean slate, however, and he’s set for a prominent spot in the secondary in his third NFL season. On Monday, Apple spoke to the media at Giants OTAs and said “of course” he is embarrassed about how things went last year while discussing his attempt to make the most of his chance this year.

“It’s about just putting things behind me, trying to continue to move forward, and go out here and have great energy on the field,” Apple said, via NJ.com. “I definitely feel it. The coaches have told me. I’m trying to be a better person, better player, and better teammate this year. Obviously, with the stuff that happened last year, I want to continue to work on myself. I want to communicate better, and not let certain stuff get to me. I want to continue to strive to be better every day.”

Ross said he feels “the best I’ve felt since I went into my last year of college” and that offseason work with former Bengal T.J. Houshmandzadeh has helped him get to a place where he can be more successful in his second season. If so, that will be a welcome addition to a Bengals offense that’s moving in a new direction under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor this year.

Minnesota Vikings

Reuben Foster plea hearing rescheduled for next week

49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was set for a plea hearing in Santa Clara on Monday, but it will take place next week instead.

The hearing has been set for May 8 so that the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office has more time to review new evidence provided by Foster’s former girlfriend Elissa Ennis. Foster is charged with domestic violence and forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime, but Ennis’ attorney said last week that she was injured in an altercation with another woman and not by Foster.

From that perspective, the 30,000-foot view of this draft isn’t so hot. The Bucs ranked 29th in scoring in 2014, 20th in 2015 and 18th each of the past two years. Of this group, only Mike Evans panned out. He’s a bona fide No. 1 receiver who influences coverages snap after snap and, lately, can align in multiple positions.

Newman turns 40 in September, making him the oldest active defensive player in the league.

He played the third-most snaps among the Vikings’ cornerbacks last season, 555, while seeing action in all 16 games with seven starts. Newman did have a career low in tackles and made only one interception, but he still filled a valuable role on the team.

Newman has spent the past three seasons in Minnesota, re-joining Mike Zimmer. The two were together in Dallas from 2003-06 and in Cincinnati from 2012-13.

He has the most career interceptions among active players with 42.

He reads plays well, making it hard for opponents to get him in a run-pass bind. White’s upside is limited, but he can develop into a useful nickel package defender. The Chargers cannot go wrong as long as they keep taking middle-of-the-field defenders who can actually tackle.

Minnesota Vikings

West Virginia has a gambling deal, unless it doesn’t

West Virginia often is mocked for being behind the times. When it comes to the looming proliferation of sports wagering, my home state resides on the cutting edge.

In fact, we’re so far ahead of the curve that the process has apparently gotten ahead of itself. Because the recent announcement by Governor Jim Justice of a deal that would include the state’s casinos (but absolutely, positively not the state) paying an integrity fee to the sports leagues apparently was premature.

The sports leagues have no leverage on this, and yet they somehow are on the verge of persuading West Virginia to cave. There’s no legal right to an “integrity fee” or anything else for supplying the events on which people wager. And there’s nothing the sports leagues can do from a business perspective to force states to pay, short of shutting down their sports until the states cry uncle.

So the sports leagues (NFL included, although the NFL has quietly piggybacked on the NBA and MLB) can take their “integrity fee,” and they can shove it, sideways. They already have the resources, harvested in part from stadiums that have been built in whole or in part by taxpayer money, to ensure that their games have integrity — and they have a clear incentive independent of legal wagering to ensure that their sports have integrity.

Three years ago, the NFL spent millions in a relentless persecution of the greatest quarterback in league history. All in the name of integrity.

So if the sports leagues currently have concerns about the integrity of their games, they need to use some of the billions they already make (and they’ll make even more billions via the increased interest in their sports that will come from widespread legalized gambling) to ensure that the integrity that already should exist definitely does. And the sports leagues should have the basic integrity to not try to call an effort to get money for nothing something other that what it really is.

With that, Murray didn’t have his best on the gridiron or the diamond Saturday.

Minnesota Vikings

Former Titans, Bears WR Kendall Wright signs with Vikings

Kendall Wright, the Bears’ leading receiver last season, is heading to Minnesota, the Vikings announced Friday.

With the addition of Wright, the Vikings will add more depth to the receiver position and will fill veteran Jarius Wright’s role after the team cut him earlier this month to make room in the salary cap.

The 28-year-old receiver will join Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, giving newly acquired quarterback Kirk Cousins another talented target.

Wright, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Bears a year ago, is coming off a strong season where he was Chicago’s only receiver to catch more than 50 passes. He hauled in 59 receptions for 614 yards and a score.

“I got a lot of lineouts,” he said. “I needed a few guys to bail me out today. That’s awesome. It’s a team game. But there’s definitely some things I could have done a little better.”

Dodgers: Los Angeles opens a two-game series at home against Oakland on Tuesday with Ryu (0-0) taking on Sean Manaea (1-1).

Giants: San Francisco opens a three-game home series against Arizona with Derek Holland (0-1) getting the start against Zack Godley (1-0).

Billionaire David Tepper, who has a 5 percent stake in the Steelers, is considered a front-runner to purchase the Panthers. Bedrock Industries LP CEO Alan Kestenbaum and Sherman Financial Group CEO Ben Navarro are also among the final bidders, per Bloomberg.

Jerry Richardson, 81, announced in December he would sell the team after several allegations of workplace misconduct surfaced.

The Panthers are expected to set an NFL record by fetching more than $2 billion after the Bills set the current record in 2014 when they sold for $1.4 billion to the Pegula family.

The Devils didn’t go all-out to try to move up in the standings, resting MVP front-runner Taylor Hall, first-line winger Kyle Palmieri, top-six center Travis Zajac, No. 1 defenseman Sami Vatanen and starting goaltender Keith Kinkaid with an eye toward the playoffs. Trade-deadline pickup Patrick Maroon had a goal and two assists, and rookie Nico Hischier and Miles Wood each scored for New Jersey.

Minnesota Vikings

Patriots fly Parkland students, families to D.C. for ‘March for Our Lives’

The Patriots have helped students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and their families make their way from Parkland, Fla., to Washington in advance of Saturday’s March for Our Lives against gun violence.

Once in Washington, some visited a Wizards practice and met players John Wall and Bradley Beal and coach Scott Brooks.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport posted photos of the travel party boarding the airplane, and the group will return to South Florida on the team plane after the march.

I understand Gruden, wonderful on his TV gig, did some wonderful things as a coach, but he only won 53 percent of his games, Woodson said. Ten years, $100 million. I hope Mark Davis has an out. My question would be, how many Super Bowls do you have to win for $100 million? You give that deal to Bill Belichick. But to a Jon Gruden? It’s hard for me to understand.

He’s making a lot of moves, I understand. But those two moves. … Crabtree was the glue to that offense. He gave them a backbone. He gave them toughness. Jordy Nelson is not going to give them that. Derek Carr is not going to give them that. Now Marshawn Lynch, he could give them that, if he’s there, if he’s playing, I don’t know what’s with that.

Current Raiders defensive end Bruce Irvin didn’t appreciate the negative commentary, and he chimed in Friday morning with some tweets aimed at Woodson. The best part is he didn’t even have to call out Woodson by name.

This is our first year together. This is Year 1 for this group, he said. We’ve got a chance to win it all, but realistically it takes time for things to build and chemistry to mesh. Just for everybody to be on the same page. So this wasn’t a championship or bust coming into this for me. It was just an opportunity to see what it’s like being here and just to naturally fall in love with it. And it’s been that. It’s been a lot of love here.

The Thunder started the season 8-12, but they got rolling after taking some time to define roles and responsibilities, going 21-8 before starting shooting guard Andre Roberson was lost for the season with a knee injury. Since then, the Thunder are 16-14. George said Roberson’s injury, and the impact it’s had on the Thunder’s season, will factor in to his decision when projecting what next season’s team could be.

Minnesota Vikings

Saints sign Zach Line to two-year deal

Fullback Zach Line is sticking with the Saints.

Agent Mike McCartney announced that his client has agreed to a new contract with the team. It’s a two-year deal for Line, who joined the Saints last season after four years with the Vikings.

Line was signed last August and released in September before returning to the Saints the next month. He had seven carries, two catches and a touchdown in 12 regular season games and scored another touchdown in their Wild Card round victory over the Panthers in January.

“I thought today we got better as the game went on and we really started playing our game, our style, our system and it showed on the scoreboard,” Bergeron said. “We’re in a position where we can win the conference. It’s a big feat.”

Senators D Erik Karlsson missed his third straight game, remaining at home with his wife after the couple’s first son was stillborn last month. … Bruins LW Tim Schaller and RW David Pastrnak are the only Boston players to have played in the first 81 games. … Bruins LW Rick Nash missed his 11th straight game with an upper-body injury. … After entering the season on a six-game winless streak against Ottawa, Boston swept all four games.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among thousands who filled the Humboldt Broncos’ home arena for a vigil on Sunday night honoring the junior hockey team involved in a tragic bus accident.

Broncos president Kevin Garinger choked up as he read the names of the 15 people killed, and family and friends cried and embraced.

“Not one of us is alone in our grief,” Garinger said, later encouraging the community to “continue to reach out. Reach out to one another for help and support. Across our province, our country and our globe, we will find strength in each other.”

Minnesota Vikings

The Bears are signing former 49ers defensive end Aaron Lynch to a one-year deal, Rapoport reported.

The Bears re-signed punter Pat O’Donnell to a one-year, $1.5 million contract, Garafolo reports.

Saints free agent pass rusher Alex Okafor, who is recovering from a torn Achilles, is visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rapoport reported.

RB Jerick McKinnon, 49ers Grade: F McKinnon hit free agency in pursuit of a deal where he could serve as a primary running back, but his case for a larger role isn’t quite clear.

The Georgia Southern product was hyperefficient over his first two seasons, averaging 4.9 yards per carry over 165 rushing attempts, but as the larger half of a rotation over the two ensuing seasons, his 309 rush attempts have produced just 3.6 yards per attempt.

14.2 percent of his runs have turned into first downs, which ranks 50th among 51 qualifying backs over that time frame.

Some of that could be chalked up to a dismal offensive line in 2016, but McKinnon wasn’t much better behind a much better line in 2017.

Sherman said veteran Seahakws players had “kind of heard every story, every funny anecdote” that Carroll has to tell and that made it easier to tune them out even though those stories were big for team-building in earlier years. Sherman said he didn’t sign with the 49ers for a chance to prove his point about the Seahawks’ player evaluation twice a year, citing location and the 49ers’ level of interest as big factors in his ultimate choice. That won’t make it any less interesting the first time the two teams get together this fall, however.

Ravens free agent center Ryan Jensen, who visited the Buccaneers on Wednesday, is set to visit with the Indianapolis Colts, Rapoport reported.

Minnesota Vikings

In departure, Ndamukong Suh robs Dolphins of success once promised

Ndamukong Suh knew what was coming before the sun had even risen on the West Coast.

While apparently heading to an early Monday morning workout in his hometown of Portland, Suh posted a cryptic Twitter video.

With Judge and Stanton taking their cuts, advertisers are clamoring to buy time in YES’ “Batting Practice Today” pregame show. After Judge memorably cracked a TV camera thought to be unreachable above center field, “Batting Practice Today” posted its highest ratings ever last season. YES is also incorporating new technology into telecasts to better track tape-measure blasts this season.

Joe Thomas announced his retirement on Wednesday, and with that, a Hall of Fame career comes to its close.

There were just two constants for the Browns during Thomas’ 11-year career: They were generally not very good, and they had a constant revolving door at the quarterback position.

As a matter of fact, Thomas blocked for 20 different starting quarterbacks during his time in Cleveland.

Bradford has been solid for the Vikings when he’s been healthy enough to play. Minnesota brought him in via trade with the Eagles as a stopgap when Bridgewater went down with a gruesome knee injury before the 2016 season. Bradford completed 71.6 percent of his passes for 3,877 yards, 20 touchdowns, and just five picks. He completed 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks against the Saints in Week 1 before that knee injury derailed his season.

He showed similar promise with the Rams early in his career, but injuries slowed him down. If Bradford bounces back from the degenerative knee condition he dealt with last season, he has a shot to be a viable starter again.

“The question with Sam is two years ago he plays in 15 games, starts, and plays well,” Zimmer said. “This year, he plays in one game and gets hurt, so you go back and look at his track record.”

He’s had his ACL repaired in the same knee twice. That’s the knee that sidelined Bradford for most of last season. There was no structural damage, but Bradford did have to have surgery to clean up the knee. In theory, this is a cost-effective signing that gives the Cardinals a quality veteran starter. But Bradford’s health is the biggest question.

Minnesota Vikings

Upon landing Sherman, the Niners filled their biggest offseason need for help at cornerback.

They almost certainly aren’t done adding to the position that last year contributed to allowing a Total QBR of 87 last season, second-worst in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. At the NFL scouting combine, Lynch said it didn’t take a “savant” to see the team’s need at the position.

Once healthy, Sherman will be expected to start opposite Ahkello Witherspoon in the Niners’ Cover 3 defense. That scheme is similar to the one Seattle has run for many years and though the Seahawks have become a bit more diverse defensively in recent years, it’s still the foundation of what they’ve done.

As a bridge quarterback, Taylor is a massive upgrade on AJ McCarron, who seemed like an obvious target in free agency after the Browns tried to trade for him last season. Taylor is under contract for $16 million in 2018 before his contract automatically voids, so this will likely be a one-year deal if the Browns draft a quarterback. If he succeeds, the Browns shouldn’t have much trouble signing the 28-year-old to an extension during the season.

The latest: Cordy Glenn is headed to Cincy. Before that it was Richard Sherman, Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Aqib Talib, Michael Bennett, and others on the move. Bill Barnwell evaluates every big move of the offseason.

On Saturday, Sherman met with more of the 49ers brass, including Lynch and Marathe. Included in the visit was a series of medical tests intended to give the Niners a better idea of how far along Sherman was in his recovery from not only the right Achilles injury but also from a more recent and minor surgery to clean up bone spurs in his left ankle/heel.

Ultimately, it became clear to Sherman that his best fit would be with his once-hated rival in San Francisco, a fit Sherman attributed to many things, including a desire to stay on the West Coast, the presence of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Shanahan’s offensive scheme and, of course, the chance to play the Seahawks twice a year.

“Neither side really wanted to walk away without a deal because we felt like there was a great relationship and great understanding and something that both sides would benefit from,” he said on the conference call. “And we came to an agreement. It was awesome.”

Minnesota Vikings

Joe Maddon wants better plate discipline out of Javier Baez

The Cubs have been busy strengthening their rotation and bullpen this offseason, but Joe Maddon understands the lineup is important, too.

Second baseman Javier Baez flashed breakout potential last season, bashing 23 home runs with 75 RBIs, but the 25-year-old also struck out 144 times in just 469 at bats, often swing wildly at pitches out of the zone.

None of these things matter because Chris Archer is under contract for four more seasons, and those four seasons are very, very club friendly. Archer, a 29-year-old starter who has made more starts than any pitcher in baseball over the past four seasons (133) and has a 3.66 ERA/3.37 FIP in those years, is making just $6.25 million in 2018 and $7.5 million in 2019. There are two club options, for $9 million in 2020 and $11 million in 2021.

The Rays are not trading Chris Archer for anything less than what they feel is his full value as a player. They aren’t DFA’ing and then trading him to save a couple million bucks, like they did with Dickerson. They aren’t dealing him like they did Longoria because Archer doesn’t have no-trade power kicking in anytime soon (at all, actually).

Not because of some unseen weather forecast, but because Sandy Alderson and the Mets won the offseason. Crazy, right? Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. Since their World Series appearance, the Mets have been allergic to winning like that one kid in your first-grade class who was allergic to peanut butter.

That’s right, the Mets won the offseason. It’s like giving an Oscar to Uwe Boll. It just doesn’t happen.

Despite missing out on big-name free agents — which they have a near 1.000 average in — the Mets did a really good job of filling out their roster with some good, cost-efficient players.