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Scoggins: From Aruba to silence, a different kind of madness in March

Re-entry into the sports orbit after a week spent lounging in paradise figured to be welcomed enthusiastically because this was supposed to be the best week on the sports calendar.

Selection Sunday and the start of March Madness. NFL free agency. MLB spring training in high gear. The boys state basketball tournament. The NCAA wrestling championships at U.S. Bank Stadium, highlighted by Gophers heavyweight Gable Steveson's bid for a national title.

As the kids say, let's go!

一级国产毛片完整免费Except now silence.

I went to Aruba for spring break with the family and the world changed.

一级国产毛片完整免费Honest confession: The coronavirus wasn't a major concern of mine as I prepared for my trip. Truth be told, my mind was focused more on Pina Coladas than pandemic. There were only a few reported cases in the country, in different states. I was naive about it.

It was a strange week because I didn't monitor developments second by second, minute by minute like everyone here. I would check my phone occasonally during beach breaks and family time and trying to disconnect in a majestic locale.

Reality hit like a sledgehammer when I checked Twitter midweek and saw that the NBA season was being suspended. And Tom Hanks announced his diagnoses. And more cancellations followed. Suddenly, everybody was talking about social distancing, flattening the curve and toilet paper.

一级国产毛片完整免费It felt like I was standing on Mars watching something deeply personal go from zero to warp speed in a blink of the eye. Surreal is the best way to describe it.

I grabbed a beer(s) at the hotel bar one night and tried to process everything. My immediate reaction was, I feel bad for the athletes who won't be able to finish their season. The high school kids in the state tournament. Gophers athletes. A senior at Austin High -- Agwa Nywesh -- a wonderful young man who I spent a lot of time with while reporting my project on that town. The wonderfully talented Paige Bueckers from Hopkins. All those kids who play spring sports. So many more.

一级国产毛片完整免费To be clear, cancelling events is absolutely the right decision, 100 percent. We must listen to the medical experts and follow their guidance. We must be smart in trying to solve this. But it's also OK to be disappointed.

A break from sports will be difficult and challenging. Sports provide us an important outlet. They give us joy, heartbreak, anger. They become a distraction. Heck, they provide me a living.

一级国产毛片完整免费Shutting off won't be easy. Especially this week. This might be the toughest.

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is my favorite week of the entire year. People around the country take vacations this week so they can post up on their couch or favorite sports bar (or Vegas) to watch one game after another, morning until late at night. Employers encounter a lot of "sick" days this week. If you work in an office, you can hear screams whenever there is a buzzer beater or upset that busts brackets. Nothing tops it.

一级国产毛片完整免费There will be silence this week.

We'll get through this. Being at home provides new opportunities. Life moves so fast between work, kids, acitivities, commute time, etc. that maybe slowing down and pressing pause will become a silver lining in this sad, serious situation.

一级国产毛片完整免费I've vowed to read a book or two. Family time will increase exponentially. We can have family dinners again. What a novel concept!

一级国产毛片完整免费People of a certain age will remember eating dinner as a family. My family ate together every night. There wasn't a TV anywhere near our kitchen. If the phone on the wall with the long cord rang, nobody answered. We didn't have distractions. We had us.

My family would sit and talk for 30, 45 minutes, sometimes longer. We'd talk about our day while we ate whatever delicious meal my mom cooked. (Nothing beat her meatloaf or her chili.). Maybe we'd talk about school. Or my dad's work. Or the Braves game from the previous night. Or just family stuff.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to more dinners with my family. We're all bummed there won't be sports to watch afterward, but this will pass. Hopefully sooner and safer than any of us know.

Scoggins: Three keys to a Vikings victory over San Francisco

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook broke a tackle and ran just short of the end zone in the second quarter against New Orleans. Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune

一级国产毛片完整免费SANTA CLARA, CALIF. – Wait, did Kyle Shanahan really call his 49ers team an underdog? Apparently so.

Colleague Mark Craig dived into the underdog motivational ploy to advance today’s Vikings-49ers Division Round game.

The idea that nobody is giving the Vikings a shot to win was so last week. Mike Zimmer can’t to use that line again, even though the Vikings are facing the No. 1 seed in the NFC on the road as underdogs.

Pundits who picked the Vikings to get steamrolled against the New Orleans Saints are picking them to knock off the 49ers this afternoon.

一级国产毛片完整免费For that to happen, here are my three keys that must happen for the Vikings to advance to the NFC Championship game.

1. O-line repeat last week. Better yet, perform even better. I wrote about the importance of line play earlier this week and it bears repeating. The 49ers have perhaps the best front seven in the NFL. Their defensive line is a force. The Vikings line (plus tight ends) will need their best effort of the season today. 

If the line can handle its business, Dalvin Cook has a chance to get in a rhythm, zone running plays open up, Kirk Cousins gets more comfortable in the pocket, play-action passes create deception and everything just seems to click.

一级国产毛片完整免费We’ve seen what happen to the offense – and Cousins -- when the line gets overwhelmed. Exhibit A: Green Bay, Monday night.

2. Create turnovers. The Vikings forced two turnovers last week – a fumble and interception by Drew Brews. The guess here is that they’ll need at least two takeaways again today to win. The defense has been stellar in this area, producing 31 takeaways this season, fourth-most in the league. A lot of that stems from getting pressure – they finished fifth in sacks with 48.

Zimmer unveiled an ingenious wrinkle against the Saints by moving Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter inside in pass-rushing situations to take advantage of the weak link on the Saints offensive line.

一级国产毛片完整免费If the defensive line can keep constant pressure on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, maybe they can force him into mistakes. Garoppolo accounted for 18 turnovers this season (13 INTs, five fumbles).

 

3. Contain Kittle. Big challenge here. My colleague Andrew Krammer wrote一级国产毛片完整免费 about the task of trying to limit All-Pro tight end George Kittle this week. Kittle has caught 85 passes for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns this season.

He is a sparkplug. He energizes his team and home stadium when he punishes tacklers with broken tackles as he rumbles for yards after catch. He can change momentum with one catch and run. It will be interesting to see if Zimmer has a new wrinkle or creative plan to try and minimize Kittle’s involvement.