Vikings announce 17 undrafted free agents

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The Vikings officially have enhanced their eight-man draft class with 17 undrafted players.

The newest members of the team who were acquired without giving up a draft pick include: Oklahoma receiver Jeff Badet, Cincinnati running back Mike Boone, Penn State defensive tackle Curtis Cothran, Wisconsin linebacker Garret Dooley, Texas receiver Armanti Foreman, San Jose State center Chris Gonzalez, Texas cornerback Holton Hill, Nebraska tight end Tyler Hoppes, Washington State linebacker Hercules Mata’afa, Toledo cornerback Trevon Mathis, Auburn safety Tray Matthews, Auburn fullback Kamryn Pettway, Holy Cross quarterback Peter Pujals, Southern Mississippi receiver Korey Robertson, Jacksonville State running back Roc Thomas, South Dakota State receiver Jake Wieneke, and Vanderbilt defensive end Jonathan Wynn.

Over in Baltimore, I asked one staffer what stuck out in minicamp. And his response was simple:Lamar’s speed. Wow. We’ll have more on how Lamar Jackson became a Raven in a minute. 6

Speaking of the 32nd overall pick, one nugget I picked up over the past week was that the Eagles would’ve considered SMU receiver Courtland Sutton there, among others, had they not found a trade partner. Sutton went eight picks later, to Denver, and Philly wound up with Dallas Goedert at 49 instead (the Ravens and Eagles also swapped 4s as part of the deal).

Strong, 24, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a December loss to the 49ers. He continues to rehab after surgery.

Strong bounced between the practice squad and active roster last season.

Strong caught three passes for 38 yards and one touchdown in two games last season. He joined Jacksonville last September 19 after the Jaguars claimed him off waivers.

He served a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy and program for substances of abuse, missing the season opener while still with the Texans. He played 20 snaps in Week 2 against the Bengals but didn’t get a target

Su’a Cravens traded to Broncos from Redskins in exchange for draft picks, report says

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Safety Su’a Cravens has been traded to the Broncos in exchange for draft picks, according to a report from ESPN.

The Redskins traded Cravens to the Broncos for a fifth-round pick and they also swapped fourth- and fifth-round picks, per the report, which cited unidentified sources.

Cravens’ career has been filled with injuries and setbacks as the 22-year-old missed the entire 2017 season recovering from post-concussion syndrome. He was cleared in December to return to football, and he’s expected to return to full activities in 2018.

The Orioles recalled their top pitching prospect, Hunter Harvey, to fortify a weary bullpen. Harvey, the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 draft, has not yet pitched in the majors.

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 5.40 ERA) seeks his first win since July 14 in the second game of the series Tuesday night.

Orioles: RHP Andrew Cashner (1-1, 4.09) makes his second home start with Baltimore. In his Orioles debut, he yielded three HRs in a loss to the Twins on March 31.

If the rule were implemented this past season, Rob Gronkowski would have been ejected for his cheap shot on Bills defensive back Tre’Davious White in December. Gronkowski was penalized but not ejected following the play.

Vincent said in December the NFL wants to use caution when ejecting players if the league is to implement a video-reviewed targeting rule similar to NCAA rules.

“We want the game to be played on the field. We don’t want to be in the business of ejecting players,” Vincent said. “The philosophy is if it gets out of their control, we do ask the referees to maintain control of the game. … But we really emphasize — let the players play.”

Cubs: SS Addison Russell was called back to Chicago to be examined after experiencing a setback in his recovery from a strained right foot. Russell was scratched from a rehab game with Triple-A Iowa because of soreness. … LHP Jon Lester (left lat tightness and shoulder fatigue) is scheduled to pitch Saturday against Atlanta after his 50-pitch bullpen session Wednesday went well.

Westbrook and George help Thunder over Rockets 108-102

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The Oklahoma City Thunder adopted a simple mantra for Saturday’s game against the Houston Rockets with their playoff fate still up in the air.

“We just better not lose,” Paul George said.

For one night at least, it worked.

Former Jaguars S Donovin Darius will be speaking at the Caregiver Coalition of Northeast Florida’s 2018 Caregiver Expo.

“But obviously when you start looking down our bench with (Marcus) Morris and Guerschon (sore left knee) out, we’re pretty thin and pretty small. So we needed to give those guys a chance to make plays and I thought they did some good things. But, obviously, not enough to win the game.”

According to the Boston Globe, Stevens promised he was going to play his first unit major minutes against Washington given the playoff implications.

The Falcons signed Graham early in training camp last season. They waived the former Duquesne right tackle before the start of the season.

Collins signed with the Jaguars after the 2017 draft as an undrafted rookie free agent. Jacksonville cut him before training camp. The Rams signed him for training camp but waived him out of the preseason.

The assumption has been that Phil Hughes would be activated off the disabled list to start, but Molitor said there is also a plan “B and C, at least.” Molitor said Hughes will throw another side session on Tuesday and the team is keeping him on track for consideration on Friday.

Astros: OF Josh Reddick was held out with an illness. … Yuli Gurriel (left hand surgery) was expected to play first and third base in a rehab game at Double-A Corpus Christi on Monday, and he’s set to be the designated hitter there Wednesday.

Veteran attorney, Daniel Davillier, said that they are confident that Mr. Beckham has no legal liability to Mr. Temple, and they have no intention of giving in to what amounts to a shakedown attempt. “This guy claims somebody assaulted him to near death, but there’s no police report, no hospital record, no evidence of an actual injury, and he asserts that Odell is responsible. This is clearly a frivolous lawsuit. We’ll see him in court.”

Cardinals claim Alek Torgersen off waivers

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Quarterback Alek Torgersen was waived by the Lions after they signed Matt Cassel on Wednesday, but it didn’t take him long to find a new home in the NFL.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that Torgersen has been claimed off of waivers by the Cardinals. Torgersen joins Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon on the quarterback depth chart in Arizona.

“I was very juicy,” Ginobili joked.

Just four other players in NBA history have put together more double-digit scoring games than Ginobili in a season at age 40 or older (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parish, John Stockton and Karl Malone). Another prune-juicy stat: both Ginobili and Michael Jordan have produced 29 double-digit scoring games at age 40 or older.

“I truly don’t know. I was just feeling good,”Ginobili said. “A couple of shots went in. I was feeling that type of rush, and that type of excitement, flow. I was trying to use it. I’m very happy that happened in a game like today, in an important moment; made me feel good. It helped the team get a lead.”

The Golden State Warriors waived forward Omri Casspi after their loss to New Orleans on Saturday, clearing a roster spot in order to make room for Quinn Cook to be on the playoff roster.

Kerr had said after the loss to the Pacers that “caring in general was the main problem.” Warriors star Kevin Durant disagreed with that assessment, saying after that game, “I think everybody in this locker room cares about playing ball. I disagree with that, but I understand what he’s doing.”

Durant responded Saturday by scoring a game-high 41 points against the Pelicans, including 19 in the third quarter, but he had a costly turnover in the final minute that helped the Pelicans seal the win.

Baker Mayfield says he’s being pressured to attend draft

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Former Oklahoma quarterback and 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield made it clear in February that he won’t be attending the NFL draft. The NFL apparently isn’t taking “I won’t be attending” for an answer.

pearing on SiriusXM’s Basketball and Beyond with Coach K, Mayfield said he’s being pressured to show up. Here’s the full exchange on the issue of the draft, as distributed by SiriusXM.

Mayfield doesn’t specify who “they” is. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, a formal invitation wasn’t extended to Mayfield due to his prior statement that he won’t be showing up.

That’s when another scenario could unfold if Watt is healthy enough in 2018 to stay on the field for 16 games (or close to it) but does not return to dominance. It would involve the difficult task for Gaine to approach Watt and ask the player to accept a restructured contract with a pay cut.

The 27-year-old is coming off a torn Achilles in December so it’s unclear if he’ll be ready to participate in anyone’s camp, but it won’t be in Los Angeles. He was scheduled to make $3 million this season, so that space will help pay some of the pending bills.

Trudeau visited victims and families at a hospital in Saskatoon earlier in the day. At the vigil, Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench thanked former members of the Swift Current Broncos, a junior hockey team that was involved in a deadly accident in the 1980s, for also visiting players in the hospital.

At Elgar Petersen Arena, a ring of flowers was placed at center ice, and more flowers and pictures of those killed lined the front of the stage. The service began with a singing of “O Canada,” followed by several prayers, readings of scriptures and a moment of silence after the singing of “Amazing Grace.”

The arena features 1,854 spectator seats. The doors were supposed to officially open at 6 p.m. local time, one hour before the ceremony began. But by 5:30, organizers said, the arena was full, and they opened the adjacent curling rink as well as the gym at the high school for overflow seating of mourners wearing green and white Broncos jerseys. The town of Humboldt, with a population of roughly 6,000, is about an hour east of Saskatoon.

Broncos hope Case Keenum’s ‘dream come true’ ends their QB nightmare

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Case Keenum says Minnesota’s NFC title game loss to Philadelphia last season left “a considerably big-sized hole in me that left me hungry.”

When it comes to filling their own void at quarterback, the Broncos are starving.

Both sides must now feed off each other to get what they want — the Lombardi Trophy. Shortly after Keenum inked his new two-year, $36 million contract, Broncos football czar John Elway proclaimed, “We got our guy” during an introductory Friday news conference.

Keenum spent his first two NFL seasons in 2012 and ’13 in Houston under Gary Kubiak, who was added to the personnel department in January. Keenum acknowledged Kubiak “obviously gave me my shot in this league so I owe him a lot.” Kubiak, though, isn’t the only familiar face from Keenum’s days with the Texans. Broncos coach Vance Joseph was in charge of Houston’s secondary during Keenum’s two seasons there.

“His meeting room was right across from us in the quarterback room,” said Keenum, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent despite setting the all-time FBS records for career passing yards (19,217), completions (1,546) and passing touchdowns (155) while playing for the Houston Cougars.

“We had some great conversations that really helped me quite a bit as a young guy trying to lead a team,” Keenum said. “I’m excited to work with him.”

“There’s a couple of times on tape in a game where he’ll get up to the line of scrimmage and he’ll communicate with his offensive line,” Orlovsky said. “It looks like he’s changing your protection or setting your protection one way. . . .

It seems like he doesn’t have a plan and a process, and to get to the NFL level and to not be able to do the little things — if you can’t do the little things, you can’t do the big things. The little things are your plan and your process. The big things are executing against what happens. And so it just seems like he doesn’t have that as part of his DNA, as part of his quarterbacking. And that for me I go, ‘Well, what does it matter how big he is, how athletic he is if you could throw it to the moon, the field’s a hundred yards.’ To not be able to adjust or react to a [weakside] linebacker blitzing is alarming to me. Alarming.”

Cowboys’ Garrett: Dak Prescott knows he has to get better

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Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is impressed by what quarterback Dak Prescott has accomplished thus far in his career, but he says the soon-to-be 25-year-old still has room for improvement. He’s done a lot of good things, but he knows, we know, everybody knows he’s got to get better, Garrett said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, according to Todd Archer of ESPN. One of the exciting things about him is he has such a determination to get better every day…. I think he has to work on the physical part. The fundamentals have to continue to be refined. And that’s everybody.

Wide receivers Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson have been added via free agency in an effort to help Prescott and the passing game this season, and make the Cowboys’ offense more balanced. Garrett will get his chance to start preparing Prescott and his new receiving options when offseason workout programs open on April 16. Now, does he have to get better at everything Absolutely. And we’re working very hard with him on that. We’re excited to get back with him in the middle of April and get back to work, said Garrett.

Perhaps that’s because a Beckham trade is such a steep investment in terms of draft resources, contract value and publicity. A more realistic return, several league executives suggested to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, would be a pair of second-round picks or something in that neighborhood — as opposed to multiple first-round picks.

Absent a godfather offer from another team, Beckham will be catching passes from Eli Manning this season.

Unless Gettleman is bluffing in a high-stakes leverage game.

We have had a lot of dialogue. I felt maybe Wednesday of last week I thought it was not going to happen. I mean, they had already cut deals, which is very public, with two other franchises, but nothing had been consummated in terms of approval. So I every now and then just touched in with Michael, and as of Wednesday I felt it was not something that was going to happen. I just said, Hey, I’ll see you in Orlando. Good luck with how this process plays out. And then he reengaged me Thursday, I believe it was, and then we had a deal like we were going back and forth up through Thursday night and cut a deal late, late Thursday night with a lot of different — his asks weren’t workable. My requests or offers weren’t workable. We finally concluded with what we have here.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone shares touching Roy Halladay memories

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To Aaron Boone, Roy Halladay was almost playing a different game.

I always made the analogy with Halladay, it’s almost like it’s a 54-foot mound, Boone said before the Yankees were set to take on the Blue Jays on Opening Day at the Rogers Centre on Thursday.

I almost feel like it’s so effortless, the way he did it. But he’s kind of so much better than everyone else that the mound’s closer, the way he goes about it.

Doc was somebody that I played against coming up in the minor leagues, obviously competed against him in the big leagues and just one of those players that commanded so much respect around the game just for who he was, the way he went about things, Boone said.

Boone went 2-for-9 (.222 BA) with three strikeouts against Halladay in his career.

The junior point guard will leave Rutgers and declare for the 2018 NBA Draft with the intent to hire an agent, he announced on social media Thursday. The decision brings an end to Sanders’ college career and ensures a drastically-different Scarlet Knights team will take the floor this fall for head coach Steve Pikiell’s third season.

Here’s a quick rundown of what the move means:

No going back : If Sanders hires an agent, he is no longer NCAA eligible and cannot return to Rutgers. Even if he were to change his mind for some reason and not hire one, he still may not be able to turn back. Players are allowed to test the NBA Draft waters twice without hiring an agent and then return to school. Sanders has already used up both his opportunities following his freshman and sophomore seasons. There is a potential NCAA loophole where Sanders could theoretically come back to Rutgers if he doesn’t hire an agent and goes undrafted, but that would be a precedent-setting attempt with no guarantees.

Proposed pass interference rule change gains steam at competition committee meeting

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A proposal that would dramatically alter the NFL’s pass interference rules gained momentum this week during competition committee meetings, according to league executive vice president Troy Vincent.

Some coaches are concerned that defensive backs will be incentivized to commit obvious penalties to avoid completions when the receiver is more than 15 yards downfield. Others, however, have grown increasingly concerned with the impact a single pass interference penalty can have because of the massive yardage involved. In 2017, for example, there were 129 defensive pass interference penalties of more than 15 yards.

From the beginning, Colin [Kaepernick] has been flexible. He started by sitting—he changed it up. We decided to kneel. And we understand that you’ve got to change with the times. I’m not going to say that I’m going to stop being active, because I won’t. I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country—to improve the issues happening in this country.

Reid was the first player to kneel alongside Kaepernick during the national anthem when they both played for the San Francisco 49ers.

In an op-ed for the New York Times last September, Reid explained the motivation behind his demonstration.

It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel. We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite, he wrote. It has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out and protest.

The Jaguars are fulfilling their plan to upgrade the talent surrounding quarterback Blake Bortles.

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Jacksonville has agreed to terms with former Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on a two-year, $10 million contract, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the situation.

Johnson didn’t end up with a fully guaranteed contract, but his path is going to be a more realistic outcome for non-quarterbacks.

After being franchised twice by the Rams, Johnson hit free agency and came away with a massive contract — a five-year, $72.5 million deal with $34 million in guarantees — that should make him the second-highest-paid cornerback in the league after Washington’s Josh Norman.

The Jets pretty clearly want to rebuild their defense through their secondary, which is unsurprising given how coach Todd Bowles loves to throw defensive backs on the field and blitz.

Benson died at Ochsner Medical Center?in Jefferson, La., with his wife, Gayle, at his side, the Saints said in a news release.?Benson was first?hospitalized on Feb. 16.?

Benson, who parlayed his beginnings as a car salesman into an auto dealership empire, purchased the Saints in 1985 for $70 million?and the franchise made the playoffs for the first time two years later.

The Saints won?the their only NFL championship, a victory against the Indianapolis Colts? and New Orleans native Peyton Manning, at Super Bowl XLIV in February 2010. The franchise made?two NFC title game appearances?and 11 playoff berths under the billionaire’s tenure as owner. ?

“Tom Benson’s contributions to New Orleans and the National Football League were legendary,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.?”He purchased a team that had never had a winning season; by the third year of his ownership, the Saints were in the playoffs. Tom kept the Saints together through the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and his decision to bring the team back to New Orleans gave the entire region hope and confidence that they would recover. The Saints rewarded their fans with tremendous football and a Super Bowl championship.