1. Do you think the injury that held Teddy Bridgewater out of Thursday’s game is something to be concerned about?
Kras: I feel that there should be concern for any injury that your QB has especially when it is a shoulder injury. Even if it is just a “sore shoulder” I think I would be concerned. If he is supposed to be the guy and he his having problems with his shoulder that does not bode well for the future. Hopefully holding him out of the game was just to make sure that he his healthy but he has not practiced as late as Sunday, and I think that is what is leading to some speculation that it could be more than just soreness. Or, they believe Teddy is just that ready for the season that they don’t need to risk anything, but I highly doubt that is the case. With plenty of questions still with the offensive line and how that will shake out, the last thing the Vikings need is an immobile Shaun Hill under center. This is an interesting story to monitor for now, but it could be resolved if Teddy comes out next week and goes 12-17 passing for 104 yards and a TD, then I would say things look to be back on track.
Nate Leer: The reason for concern is the lack of a competent back-up for any type of long-term work. Shaun Hill is just a stop-gap and the Vikes have refused to invest a mid-round pick in a back-up since drafting Teddy. If Teddy is even just limited somewhat by the arm injury, he may not be effective enough for the team to win much. If the Vikes need to bench Teddy for ineffectiveness, they should have a second option that would give them a chance. Over-the-Hill is not that guy.
2. Do you believe the hype around Mitch Liedner that he could be a first or second round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft?
Kras: Not believing it! I understand that he has the size that you look for in a pro QB but outside of that I have not seen enough from him on the field to entertain the idea that he would be a pick on day 1 or 2 of the draft. He is an athletic kid with some definite talent and ability but not enough forme to think he will be at the top of draft boards for teams needing a QB. Liedner has all season to change my mind about his draft status and where I think he will end up. However, I will have to see the results on the field first. To be honest, I hope I do see the results that make him jump up draft NFL draft boards because I believe that will translate to wins for the Gophers. I would like to see some success out of the U of M after the ups and downs they have had the last few years, not just the football program but all sports in general.
3. What will the Twins most need to improve on in the offseason?
Kras: With questions like, “Can Buxton hit MLB pitching consistently?” and “Can Sano be the everyday third baseman for the for seeable future?”, I think the biggest questions and concerns come with the pitching staff. The rotation for the rest of this year will be call-ups and guys who have they have been wheeling out there with minimal results. Duffy, Milone and Gibson are all guys that haven’t shown any signs that they are the future. Santiago and Santana are far from aces themselves but have shown they can hold a job at the MLB level. Berrios is the one promising spot that they have and he has been shaky at best so far in his 2016 campaign. There is some hope for him however as he is still young and just getting a feel for life in the majors. The lack of a true ace is something that has hindered this team for some time now (since Johan Santana).They lack someone to set the bar for the other 4 starters to live up to and work towards.
Nate Leer: Yes, pitching is the keep for this team. However, I think the bullpen needs more work than the rotation. It is so important in 21st century baseball, to have several dominant arms in the pen. The Twins should be attempting to trade older talent for hard-throwing, high minor league arm talent. If those pitchers don’t pan out as starters, they should be able to help the pen out next year.
1. What was your favorite Olympic story from the games this year?
Kras: For me I would have to say the Michael Phelps story has to be the winner. Phelps achieving 23 gold medals in his Olympic career is incredible. Breaking a record that is thousands of years old is impressive regardless of who does it and regardless of sport or country. A close second behind the Phelps story is Usain Bolt winning his third set of gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. Bolt is now 30 years old and still blowing by the competition on the track. Watching his speed the second half of the 100m and most of the 200m is awesome. That kind of speed can’t be taught. Bolt is plenty slow to start a race because of his height but after the first 50 meters of any race, GOOD LUCK!
Nate Leer: The story for me was Phelps. Not his overall accomplishments. The medals are great but Bolt has the same level of dominance in his sport. The biggest thing for me was how Phelps stepped up to beat the young trash-talker. Respect!
2. What do you make of the Ryan Lochte saga?
Kras: I don’t really know what to think or say about Lochte and his complete and utter ignorance. I don’t think anyone has ever accused Lochte of being a super smart Individual, but I would think that even he would understand that in this day in age, everything is caught on camera. Even more so when a large worldwide event is taking place for multiple weeks in that area. I’m not surprised he lied to try and get out of all this because he surely knew the PR storm it would create but the worst part about all this is that it gives Americans as a whole a bad look. At last check we don’t need help in that department. What he did is and was a poor representation of what the U.S. Olympic team is all about.
3. With week 3 of the preseason being the best chance to get to see what teams starting lineups will look like and how they might preform, what two team do you want to see the most?
Kras: Detroit Lions – As a fan, I am eager to see what they got and what they will look like on both sides of the ball. I want to see if Jim Bob Cooter can get the most out of Matt Staffordwith a full offseason in his system. With the loss of Megatron there will be a void, but the additions of Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin will help fill that somewhat. Eric Ebron now needs to step up more than ever as well. He is poised to take a step forward and be a factor and contributor this season or be a bust. Defensively I think they are sound and will have a nice year. Getting a healthy DeAndre Levy back will help as will Kyle Van Noy. These two guys have an ability to come up with the ball and hopefully that will be on display all season. A’Shawn Robinson will be worth watching on this defense as well. He could be the missing piece in the middle up front that drives this defense and also provides a much needed run-stopping threat between the tackles.
Tennessee Titans- If for nothing else, I want to see the Titans because of the running back situation that they have. Demarco Murray, and Derrek Henry have formed a nice little combo situation in the back field behind what should be a pretty good offensive line that they have built up in the draft the last few years. To go along with the RB combo, Marcus Mariota will be worth watching too. I want to see where his development is this year. Delanie Walker, I think, will be a beast this year. If the O-line does their job, and Mariota takes a step forward, this could be a sneaky-good offensive team throughout the season ahead.
Nate Leer: Raiders – Can the passing game improve? The running game should be solid though likely not spectacular. Plus, management’s collection of defensive talent looks excellent so many people expect them to be good this year. However, the Derek Carr and Amari Cooper led passing game has had issues this summer. If Carr and Co. are a below average unit, it would severely hinder the team’s chances of emerging in the AFC West.
Cowboys – This is largely about one player – Ezekiel Elliott – but his effect on the overall offense should be interesting to watch. Will he start? The highly paid vet – Alfred Morris – has looked great this preseason. If Morris starts and performs well, why wouldn’t Dallas start him in the regular season? They could have Elliott be the third down back and, the way Morris has been running behind that O-line, he could get over half of the carries and all short-yardage work. We also need to see if Dallas has got its defense figured out. Suspensions have led to a thin group but there may be just enough talent there to be solid. Lastly, I am interested to see if Dak Prescott can keep the momentum going in his bid to be the back-up QB. The kid has looked very good and I was a fan of his from college. He seems to care about being a good QB and he has all the physical talent in the world. Dem ‘Boys may have struck gold!