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Column: Dominique Robinson — from college QB to receiver and now defensive end — could be a gem for Chicago Bears

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Column: Dominique Robinson — From College Qb To Receiver And Now Defensive End — Could Be A Gem For Chicago Bears
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Dominique Robinson was bummed after the 2019 MAC championship game.

The Miami (Ohio) RedHawks won the game, upsetting Central Michigan, but playing time was becoming increasingly inconsistent for the junior wide receiver. He figured it was time to ask about switching positions. After all, pretty much every position coach in the program had asked him multiple times to come join their room.

Robinson was going to wait until after the season, but the RedHawks landed in the LendingTree Bowl on Jan. 6, a full month later, so he texted coach Chuck Martin and wide receivers coach Israel Woolfork and asked for a meeting.

I really want to try playing defensive end.

Robinson sensed instant relief on the face of Martin when he made the request. He hadn’t told the coaches what he wanted to talk about and figured they might wonder if he was fixing to transfer.

“I said, ‘I was thinking H-back but I love the idea of defensive end,’ ” Martin recalled. “We had told him all along, you can basically go wherever you want.”

The group decided Robinson would remain a wide receiver for the game against Louisiana — Robinson had only 14 receptions for 296 yards on the season — but they would let him get a feel for defensive end in one bowl practice.

“First snap, he beat the tackle and I was like, ‘Wow! That was pretty good,’ ” Martin said. “Just natural, stacked him, put his hands on him. We knew that first day.”

“Any time you move an offensive guy, especially a

skill guy to defense, the No. 1 thing is their willingness to hit people, be physical,” said defensive line coach E.J. Whitlow, who moved to Air Force this season. “Especially when you are talking wide receiver to D-line. When Dom got out there, the speed and bend, turn the corner and cause a problem, that was natural for him. But his willingness to put his face in there in the run game and be physical on contact, it was like, ‘Hey, we might have something.’ ”

Robinson might have surprised even himself in that first practice. Miami was the only school to recruit him, and he arrived on campus as a quarterback, a position he stayed at for all of three practices.

“When I moved from quarterback to receiver and I watched myself on tape, you could tell I just didn’t look like a receiver,” Robinson said. “It took a little while for me to get that look of being a receiver. When I moved over to D-end, it looked good. When I got done with practice and I went upstairs and watched the tape of it, I looked like I was supposed to be there.”

COVID-19 threw all college football players for a loop the next year, especially Robinson. But he committed to putting on weight, lifting, working on a blocking sled and learning the nuances of his get-off from the edge. Results came immediately. He had two sacks and a pass breakup against Ball State in the first of only three games for the RedHawks in 2020. Robinson took to his new position quickly with Martin calling the improvement something they noted “daily.”

“When they come with the decision, ‘Hey, coach, I really want to try this,’ you’re going to get the investment to see it through,” Whitlow said. “Sometimes as a coach if you make a suggestion, if the guy isn’t bought in, he’s not going to give it his all.”

Miami used Robinson as a situational pass rusher in 2021, and while he wasn’t wildly productive — he had 4 ½ sacks and 8 ½ tackles for a loss — the tools made him an easy selection for the Senior Bowl. Robinson measured 6-foot-4, 254 pounds in Mobile, Ala., with a wingspan of 82 ⅜ inches. Bears coach Matt Eberflus covets that kind of length for his defense, and Robinson flashed enough that it didn’t take a great leap of faith to believe he could improve and do so rapidly with more time on task.

When the Bears selected Robinson in the fifth round (No. 174 overall), it was with the idea he would be a project but could contribute right away. The trade of Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers created a need, too, especially with Eberflus preferring to play linemen in waves.

Robert Quinn is a reserved veteran in his 12th season, not the kind who has a lot to say, but Robinson has been able to glean tips from watching him and the few words he shares.

“On the field, he makes sure I am going in with a game plan,” Robinson said. “When I am about to do a one-on-one rep, he always comes up to me and asks, ‘You got a move in mind?’ He’s making sure I have something planned where if I get the set that I need, that’s the move I am going to us. Sometimes I didn’t do that just because I’m a young guy and I’m going to react on whatever I get. Robert said, ‘No, you have to go in with a plan.’ He’s been good with that. I have been watching him, taking keys.”

Robinson’s debut against the San Francisco 49ers was a hit. He had 1 ½ sacks, the first rookie in Bears history to have more than one sack in a season opener. He beat 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey with a hard move inside and flung Trey Lance to the turf with one arm. He later shared a sack with Roquan Smithon. Robinson finished with seven tackles — five solos — on only 28 snaps.

According to the NFL, Robinson had three “hustle stops,” defined as tackles made after running 20 yards or more, the most by a rookie defensive linemen since Next Gen Stats debuted in 2016.

“That’s a big deal,” defensive line coach Travis Smith said. “You talk about HITS principle, he is showing it there. Every day when you tell him something, it’s the first time he’s heard it. The great thing about him when he hears it, then he takes it out to the field.”

As Robinson left the field in the northwest tunnel at Soldier Field after the game, general manager Ryan Poles was standing there in a sharp, dark gray suit. Poles came up and embraced the soaking wet Robinson with a giant hug.

“That meant something to me, honestly,” Robinson said. “I respect a man that comes over to do that. Come on, man.”

The 49ers game was Robinson’s 16th as a defensive end counting 15 games in college. Some have compared him to Mark Anderson, who burst onto the scene in 2006 as a fifth-round pick with 12 sacks, a Bears rookie record.

Robinson is just scratching the surface.

“I am glad he suggested D-end and I am glad we listened to him,” Martin said. “Between God-given ability and probably the best human being you have ever met, there’s probably nothing that kid can’t do. You can play him anywhere.”

Scouting report

A.J. Dillon, Packers running back

Information for this report was obtained from NFL scouts.

Dillon, 6-foot, 247 pounds, is in his third season in Green Bay after the Packers selected him in the second round in 2020. Dillon led the offense in rushing (803 yards) and rushing touchdowns (five) last season and is splitting time in the backfield with Aaron Jones.

Dillon carried 10 times for 45 yards in the season-opening road loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and the Packers have talked about committing more to the run this week as the offense works to break in young wide receivers for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Historically, when you look at that coaching tree that Matt LaFleur is in, the run game is the foundation of those offensive structures,” the scout said. “You can go to San Francisco, Los Angeles with Sean McVay, Arthur Smith when he was in Tennessee and now in Atlanta, everything is built out from the run game. So when you run the football effectively in that offense, it leads to play-action opportunities and it creates space in the passing game because of that downhill run action. I do think they need to run the ball more because they are working with young wide receivers who are still struggling with alignment, assignment and responsibility. When you have that, it really limits your passing game and it becomes disjointed.

“But they have two running backs, two different styles, and both can catch the ball out of the backfield. They are going to be a major part of this offensive game plan Sunday night both in the run game and the pass game. Starting with the run game with A.J. Dillon, he’s a downhill back with really light feet. For a man of his size to be able to move like he does and be able to make defenders miss in the open field is impressive. Everyone knows he has the power because of his frame and physical profile, but the thing that has always stood out to me going back to when he was at Boston College is his footwork. Very good vision. Can get small when he needs to and then when he has to drop the hammer, he does have thunder in his pads. He’s developing as a receiver. He’s never going to be Alvin Kamara. But Dillon can hurt you in the pass game in screens and balls thrown into the flat on checkdowns and swing routes because when you have to tackle him, it puts stress on your body as a defensive player. From a defensive perspective, that is where you want the ball to go — throw it to Dillon in the flat, especially in zone coverage, and the Bears will play a lot of zone in this game. Now you’re asking defensive backs to tackle in space. They’re giving up 45 pounds and they’re making reservations to be in the training room Monday morning.”

()

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Ime Udoku’s Mistress Revealed As 34-year-old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch

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Ime Udoku’s Mistress Revealed As 34-Year-Old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch
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The puzzle of the most odious affair has finally been solved. And it keeps getting ickier! The misery woman Bolton Celtic’s head Coach Ime Udoku had the sh-tty affair with is identified as 34-year-old Kathleen Nimmo Lynch, a staunch Mormon. Kathleen works under Ime Udoku as the service manager responsible for the team’s traveling. She allegedly catered for Nia Long‘s recent trip before sleeping with her partner Ime Udoku.

45-year-old Ime Udoku put his career on the line for 2-minute banging with a married mother of three. Yes, Ime was engaged and with a child, and Kathleen was married with kids too.

However, Ime has lost it all due to the icky affair. He is currently suspended as the head coach of the Bolton Celtic. And also Nia Long, his ex-fiancé has left together with their 11-year-old son. An affair to die for indeed!

However, Kathleen’s crappy act is the ultimate disgrace to Danny Ainge, who got her the job at Bolton Celtic. These two’s mess keeps getting worse for their families.

Via Daily Mail:

The Boston Celtics employee whose affair with head coach Ime Udoka led to his suspension can finally be revealed. 

The female employee is team service manager Kathleen Nimmo Lynch, 34, a married mother-of-three, DailyMail.com can disclose. The Celtics have not identified the woman Udoka was involved with, but Lynch’s name had been leaked online.

She served as a team liaison arranging travel, lodging and game tickets for Celtics family members at home and on the road, and is likely to have arranged travel for Udoka’s fiancée, actress Nia Long.

A source familiar with the investigation told DailyMail.com that the affair was consensual, short lived, and had ended by the time investigators got involved.

Lynch has longstanding personal ties with the team’s legendary former player Danny Ainge, who was the team’s executive director of basketball operations before leaving the franchise last year. 

Ainge, 63, a fellow devout Mormon, helped her land her job. 

A source familiar with the investigation told DailyMail.com that Ainge learned early in the summer that the Celtics had initiated an investigation into Udoka’s relationship with Lynch, but he did not intervene in the investigation or decision to suspend the coach.

The source added, however, that Ainge was deeply disappointed by the affair, especially given the fact they have families.

This lousy act of these grown a**es is vile and has cost the people closest to them lots of embarrassment. Ime Udoka is paying for it dearly but Kathleen aside from the public humiliation is yet to face any punishment from Bolton Celtic.

Here are photos of married woman Kathleen Nimmo Lynch:

1665172000 421 Ime Udokus Mistress Revealed As 34 Year Old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch
1665172001 945 Ime Udokus Mistress Revealed As 34 Year Old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch
1665172002 843 Ime Udokus Mistress Revealed As 34 Year Old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch

The post Ime Udoku’s Mistress Revealed As 34-year-old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch appeared first on TheGossipScoop.com.

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Uvalde schools suspend entire police force

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Uvalde Schools Suspend Entire Police Force
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By Paul J. Weber | Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Uvalde’s school district on Friday pulled its embattled campus police force off the job following a wave of new outrage over the hiring of a former state trooper who was part of the hesitant law enforcement response during the May shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 21 dead.

School leaders also put two members of the district police department on administrative leave, one of whom chose to retire instead, according to a statement released by the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. Remaining officers will be reassigned to other jobs in the district.

The extraordinary move by Uvalde school leaders to suspend campus police operations — one month into a new school year in the South Texas community — underscored the sustained pressure that families of some of the 19 children and two teachers killed in the May 24 attack have kept on the district.

Brett Cross, whose 10-year-old son Uziyah Garcia was among the victims, had been protesting outside the Uvalde school administration building for the past two weeks, demanding accountability over officers allowing a gunman with an AR-15-style rifle to remain in a fourth-grade classroom for more than 70 minutes.

Uvalde families have said students in the district are not safe so long as officers who waited so long to confront and kill the gunman remain on the job.

“We did it!” Cross tweeted.

The Uvalde school district had five campus police officers on the scene of the shooting, according to a damning report from Texas lawmakers that laid out multiple breakdowns in the response. A total of nearly 400 officers responded, including school district police, the city’s police, county sheriff’s deputies, state police and U.S. Border Patrol agents, among others.

The fallout Friday is the first in Uvalde’s school police force since the district fired former police Chief Pete Arredondo in August. He remains the only officer to have been fired from his job following one of the deadliest classroom attacks in U.S. history.

The district said it would ask the Texas Department of Public Safety, which had already assigned dozens of troopers to the district for the school year, for additional help. Spokespersons for the agency did not immediately return messages seeking comment Friday.

“We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition,” the district said in a statement.

The statement did not specify how long campus police operations would remain suspended.

The move comes a day after revelations that the district not only hired a former DPS trooper who was one of the officers who rushed to the scene of Robb Elementary, but that she was among at least seven troopers later placed under internal investigation for her actions.

Officer Crimson Elizondo was fired Thursday, one day after CNN first reported her hiring. She has not responded to voicemails and messages left by The Associated Press.

Steve McCraw, the head of the state’s Department of Public Safety, has called the law enforcement response to the shooting an “abject failure.” McCraw has also come under pressure as the leader of a department had more than 90 troopers on the scene but still has the support of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

On Thursday, after Elizondo was fired, Abbott called it a “poor decision” for the school to hire the former trooper and that it was up to the district to “own up to it.”

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Biden’s ‘Armageddon’ talk edges beyond bounds of US intel

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Biden’s ‘Armageddon’ Talk Edges Beyond Bounds Of Us Intel
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By AAMER MADHANI, ELLEN KNICKMEYER and JOSH BOAK

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s warning that the world is at risk of a nuclear “Armageddon” was designed to send an unvarnished message that no one should underestimate the extraordinary danger if Russia deploys tactical nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine, administration officials said Friday.

The president’s grim assessment, delivered during a Democratic fundraiser on Thursday night, rippled around the globe and appeared to edge beyond the boundaries of current U.S. intelligence assessments. U.S. security officials continue to say they have no evidence that Vladimir Putin has imminent plans for a nuclear strike.

Biden veered into talk about Ukraine at the end of his standard fundraising remarks, saying that Putin was “not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.”

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” he added. He suggested the threat from Putin is real “because his military is — you might say — significantly underperforming.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday did not directly respond to a question about whether Biden had gone into the event intending to invoke Armageddon, as the White House sought to clarify the president’s off-the-cuff comments.

She told reporters: “Russia’s talk of using nuclear weapons is irresponsible and there’s no way to use them without unintended consequences. It cannot happen.” She added that “if the Cuban missile crisis has taught us anything, it is the value of reducing nuclear risk and not brandishing it.”

Biden’s national security team for months has warned that Russia could use weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine as it has faced a series of strategic setbacks on the battlefield. But the president’s remarks were the starkest warnings yet by the U.S. government about the nuclear stakes.

One U.S. official said Biden was also trying to warn against underestimating the danger any level of tactical nuclear weapons.

There’s some concern in the administration that Russia has determined it can use its nuclear arsenal in a manner short of a “full-blown” nuclear attack on Ukraine and face only limited reaction from U.S. and Western allies who are determined to keep the Ukraine conflict from turning into a broader war, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss administration thinking

Putin has repeatedly alluded to using his country’s vast nuclear arsenal, including last month when he announced plans to conscript Russian men to serve in Ukraine.

“I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction … and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin said. “It’s not a bluff.”

In Europe, leaders sought to turn down the volume after Biden’s stark warning.

Asked about Biden’s remarks, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was crucial to speak with care on the nuclear threat.

“I have always refused to engage in political fiction, and especially … when speaking of nuclear weapons,” Macron said at a EU summit in Prague. “On this issue, we must be very careful.”

European Council President Charles Michel told reporters that leaders take “every escalation very seriously,”

“Threats will not intimidate us,” Michel said. “Instead, we are going to remain calm. We are going to keep cool heads and we will, each time, denounce the irresponsible character of these threats.”

Jean-Pierre reiterated on Friday the U.S. has “not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture nor do we have indications that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons.”

It’s not the first time that Biden’s comments have appeared to push against the margins of U.S. policy.

Last month, Biden, in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview, said that “U.S. forces, U.S. men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. ”

The White House said after the interview that U.S. policy toward Taiwan hasn’t changed. That policy says Washington wants to see Taiwan’s status resolved peacefully but doesn’t say whether U.S. forces might be sent in response to a Chinese attack.

In March, as he wrapped up a speech in Warsaw, Biden seemed to call for the ouster of Putin, saying, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Before Biden could even board Air Force One to begin the flight back to Washington, aides were scrambling to clarify that he wasn’t calling for an immediate change in government in Moscow.

Earlier that month, Biden called Putin a “war criminal” for the Russian onslaught in Ukraine before the White House walked back the comments. The White House had been avoiding applying the “war criminal” label to Putin, because it requires investigation and an international determination.

After Biden used the term, his then-press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the president was “speaking from his heart” and clarified that the administration acknowledged there is a process for making a formal determination.

As for Biden’s latest eyebrow-raising remarks, “People sort of say, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s Biden. You know, he says this stuff,’” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, and a veteran of nuclear policy research.

“But overseas countries are saying, ‘Whoa, this is what the U.S. president says,”’ Kristensen said. “And so that means we have to be really careful about using big words” that in themselves can escalate nuclear tensions unintentionally.

Biden’s strong choice of words could have an have an unintended impact with Russia, Kristensen said, the biggest problem with the president’s latest comments.

“It’s quite clear to me that Putin will be looking at this and say to himself ’Wow, you know, I got their attention now. So they’re really afraid.’”

___

Associated Press writers Sylvie Corbet in Prague, Lorne Cook in Brussels and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed reporting. Boak reported from Hagerstown, Maryland.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at

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Five questions facing Twins as they head into the offseason

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The Twins headed into the 2022 season with a rebuilt roster and their eyes set on a return to the postseason after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the American League Central division the year prior.

That, of course, didn’t happen.

A September collapse left a team that was in first place for most of the season on the outside looking in as the playoffs kicked off on Friday. The Twins concluded their season Wednesday with a 78-84 record, a full 14 games back from division-winning Cleveland, a team which they were tied with atop the division as late as Sept. 4.

Here are five questions facing the Twins as the offseason begins:

What will happen with Carlos Correa?

The decision is Carlos Correa’s: The star shortstop can opt into the second season of his contract, or he can decide to test free agency for the second straight season. The decision on his opt out must be made no later than five days after the conclusion of the World Series.

But really, Correa has shifted the decision to the Twins: They can offer him a long-term deal, one that would far exceed anything they’ve ever doled out, or they can watch him depart for elsewhere.

Correa has talked about how much he loved it in Minnesota and his interest in staying. But he’s also made it clear that he’s looking for a long-term home, and the most likely scenario is that he finds that with a different organization.

The 28-year-old finished his season hitting .291 with a .834 OPS and 140 OPS+ (100 is league average). His 5.4 bWAR (Wins Above Replacement per Baseball Reference) led the Twins, and he quickly became a clubhouse leader with his new team.

“Hopefully the Twins can see the player that I am, the person that I am, the passion that I have for this game and the love that I have for this game, and we can get into some serious conversations,” Correa said Wednesday.

If Correa doesn’t come back, what will the Twins do at shortstop?

When the Twins first signed Correa, the expectation was that they could pivot to Royce Lewis, who, like Correa, a No. 1 overall draft pick. But Lewis’s first season in the majors ended shortly after it started with a second anterior cruciate ligament surgery in his right knee; he also had surgery on his ACL in spring 2021, missing all of last season.

His timeline would not have him ready to return by Opening Day next season, which means if Correa departs, the Twins will need a different plan. Brooks Lee, the No. 8 pick in the draft, made it all the way to Double-A before the end of the season, but it doesn’t seem as if he would be ready by Opening Day either.

While there are a number of players who theoretically could play shortstop for a period of time to start the season, including Jorge Polanco, Nick Gordon and Jermaine Palacios, none are true answers or good options there, which could leave the Twins looking externally for a shortstop for a third straight season.

What staff changes will the Twins make?

President of baseball operations Derek Falvey already has said that manager Rocco Baldelli will be back in the dugout for his fifth season in Minneapolis next year. But will there be other changes to the coaching staff? And to the medical staff?

The Twins changed pitching coaches abruptly at the end of June when Wes Johnson departed to take the same job at Louisiana State University. In his place, they promoted bullpen coach Pete Maki to his role and run prevention coordinator Colby Suggs into Maki’s former role.

As they enter the offseason, the Twins could opt to embark on a more thorough pitching coach search.

There’s also questions on the medical side, and the Twins could choose to make changes after they placed 32 different players on the injured list during the course of the season, many for extended periods of time, or repeat visit for the same injury.

Falvey will meet with the media on Monday at Target Field and any potential changes will likely be announced then.

Will the Twins upgrade their pitching rotation?

On paper, the Twins have a glut of starting pitchers coming back next season. Sonny Gray (whom they hold a team option on that they are expected to exercise), Tyler Mahle and Joe Ryan could front the rotation.

After missing all of this season following Tommy John surgery in September 2021, Kenta Maeda is heading into the offseason healthy. Bailey Ober is too after missing most of this year with a groin injury. His performance after his September return featured a lot for the Twins to like.

Josh Winder, Simeon Woods Richardson and Louie Varland should provide good depth options for the Twins, and Chris Paddack (Tommy John surgery) is expected back near the end of the year.

But there’s also questions about the health of this group — Mahle had shoulder issues that forced him out down the stretch, Gray landed on the IL three separate times over the course of the season, Ober has had injury issues throughout his professional career and Maeda is coming off of a major surgery.

Further, this group lacks an ace, and if Correa bolts in free agency, the Twins would have plenty of money to devote to a top-tier starter.

Who can the Twins rely upon in the outfield?

The Twins’ outfield group was among the most injured: Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Kyle Garlick all ended the season on the IL. Three of them who are expected to be relied upon next season — Buxton, Kirilloff and Larnach — will all be coming off surgery.

Buxton had an arthroscopic procedure to address a knee issue that plagued him throughout the season. Will that completely address the issue?

Kirilloff, who also plays first base, played in just 45 games before requiring a second season-ending wrist surgery. Can the Twins reasonably know what to expect from the once-top prospect next year?

Larnach played in 51 games, requiring a core muscle surgery that kept him out for three months. As he was about to return, a wrist issue flared up.

And Kepler underperformed this season, hitting .227 with nine home runs and a 93 OPS+ (100 is league average) in 115 games. His .348 slugging percentage and .666 OPS were career lows. Could he possibly be a candidate to be traded?

Nick Gordon, a converted infielder, and Gilberto Celestino, who had his fair share of mental lapses, particularly on the bases, saw plenty of time in the outfield. As the season wore on and the injuries piled up, Jake Cave and Mark Contreras and Matt Wallner started seeing playing time in the outfield. Wallner, a Minnesota native who is one of the organization’s top prospects, should factor in the team’s plans going forward.

But with so many question marks surrounding the health of this group, will the Twins go out and supplement the outfield in any way this offseason?

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Vikings’ Kwesi Adofo-Mensah vs. Bears’ Ryan Poles: The divergent paths of two new GMs

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Vikings’ Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Vs. Bears’ Ryan Poles: The Divergent Paths Of Two New Gms
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For better or worse, for the rest of their NFL careers, general managers Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Ryan Poles are going to be attached at the hip.

After making a name for themselves in NFL front offices over the past decade, both emerged as prime candidates last offseason. Ultimately, the Bears hired Poles on Jan. 25, and the Vikings chose Adofo-Mensah the very next day.

The similarities stop there. Over the past 10 months, Adofo-Mensah and Poles have taken completely different approaches to building their teams, the Vikings opting to stay competitive in their pursuit of a Super Bowl, and the Bears opting for what sure looks like a complete rebuild.

With kickoff set for noon Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings (3-1) have more to lose than the Bears (2-2) this week. Let’s take a look at how each team got to this point.

WHAT THE VIKINGS DID

The fact that the Vikings are off to their best start since 2016 probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. Remember, co-owner Mark Wilf made it clear last offseason that he expects the team to be “super competitive” in 2022.

That was part of the job description when the Vikings started their search to find a new general manager.

Look at the moves Adofo-Mensah made after he got the job. He hired head coach Kevin O’Connell on Feb. 16, bringing on “a partner” that shared his vision for the franchise. With his head coach in place, Adofo-Mensah got to work on the roster itself, extending quarterback Kirk Cousins, then signing edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, and linebacker Jordan Hicks in free agency.

“It didn’t matter who the Vikings hired as their general manager because this was going to be the plan no matter who they brought in,” said Marc Ross, an analyst at NFL Network, who previously served in the front offices of the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. “The ownership wanted to be competitive, and with Kirk Cousins in place, whoever got the job had to have a plan of how they were going to succeed with him.”

That’s exactly what Adofo-Mensah has managed to do so far. All of his decisions have been designed to help the Vikings contend right now, and a month into this season, the team is 3-1 and looking like it might actually have a chance with most of the NFC struggling so far. Of course, a soft opening schedule has helped, too. Games get tougher later in the season.

“I’m going to give Kwesi a ton of credit here because I don’t think I fully grasped how flat the league was going to be,” said Eric Eager, vice president of research and development at SumerSports, who previously worked in the same role at Pro Football Focus. “I think Kwesi did a good job of examining the league and saying, ‘OK, I could tear this thing down, or I could generate some good will by winning some games in Year 1.’ There were a lot of people, myself included, who thought they should’ve torn it down.”

No doubt the most polarizing decision Adofo-Mensah made last offseason was extending Cousins’ contract. He moved forward with the status quo, choosing not to trade for a quarterback or go for a project player in the 2022 NFL Draft.

That looks like another solid decision by Adofo-Mensah. Look at some of the quarterbacks who changed teams this season. Even those that aren’t fond of Cousins would agree he’s a much better option than Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz or Baker Mayfield, among others.

“It wasn’t the best year by all accounts to find a long-term quarterback,” said Dan Graziano, an NFL Insider at ESPN. “There were a lot of imperfect options on the open market, and the Vikings had someone in place that they knew was capable. Plus, Kevin O’Connell had a prior relationship with him. I think they decided to delay the long-term quarterback conversation and decided to go with a pretty good team and see what they could do with it.”

As the Vikings continue to bank wins, it’s also important to remember that Adofo-Mensah is a trailblazer in the industry as the only general manager in the NFL with an analytics background. That fact is not insignificant.

“The moment he doesn’t have success, people are going to be like, ‘See. It didn’t work. We should’ve got some footbally football guy in here,’ ” Eager said. “For him to build some good will in Year 1, whether it’s real or not, I can’t blame him one bit. He bet that the league was going to be bad and felt like they could at least be decent with a bad schedule. He’s absolutely hit on that.”

WHAT THE BEARS DID

After interviewing with the Vikings, and establishing himself as a finalist, Poles ultimately picked the Bears as his preferred landing spot.

“It does appear that Ryan Poles preferred a job where he could blank canvas the whole thing,” Eager said. “He is building that roster completely in his own image.”

Not long after being hired, Poles made a splash, trading star edge rusher Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for a haul of draft picks. He followed that up by letting receiver Allen Robinson and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks walk in free agency.

It’s worth noting that Poles didn’t exactly step into the best situation. Not only did the previous regime trade the farm to acquire quarterback Justin Fields in the 2021 draft, they doled out a number of hefty contract that left the Bears with virtually no cap space last offseason.

“I’s almost like, ‘What’s another rebuild?’ ” Eager said. “The roster was always going to be pretty bad. It made sense for Ryan Poles to break it down and build it up because if they stink this year no one is firing him.”

Though the Bears have overachieved to this point, and head coach Matt Eberflus has them flying around on defense, the offense has been abysmal to this point. It’s left many to wonder if Fields is the answer at quarterback. The counterpoint is that the Bears haven’t exactly put him in a position to succeed.

“It definitely feels like they’re rebuilding and trying to figure out which areas to invest in,” said Cynthia Frelund, analytics expert at NFL Network. “They started in a space that was very difficult and now they are slowly digging out of that.”

FUTURE OF THE FRANCHISES

The divergent paths of the Vikings and the Bears over the past 10 months raises the question: Which franchise will have more success in the future?

There’s no doubt the Vikings were in a much better position than the Bears for immediate success. They had more talent in place, equipped with a number of weapons on offense, starting with running back Dalvin Cook, star receiver Justin Justin, and veteran receiver Adam Thielen. They also had some playmakers in place on defense in the form edge rusher Danielle Hunter, linebacker Eric Kendricks and safety Harrison Smith, among others.

On the flip side, the Bears have way more wiggle room than the Vikings down the the road. They are projected to have a whopping $115 million in cap space next offseason. That should give Poles the ability to put his stamp on the franchise.

“In some ways, it’s going to be more difficult for the Vikings to build a Super Bowl roster, than it will be for the Bears,” Eager said. “In the NFL, there’s a much easier path building from nothing than building from average, so it’ll be interesting to see a few years from now where the rosters are for both teams.”

It’s most likely going to come down to which quarterback Adofo-Mensah and Poles choose to ride moving forward.

Maybe the Vikings stick with Cousins. Maybe the Bears stick with Fields. Maybe a couple of years from now both teams have decided to move on.

“We can compare these guys as much as we want,” Frelund said. “The reality is neither guy has picked a quarterback. That will be the real test. Eventually both guys will have to make that decision, and they will ultimately be judged by that.”

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Final designs revealed for proposed Mississippi Learning Center at St. Paul’s Crosby Farm Park

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Architectural Rendering Of The Proposed Mississippi River Learning Center To Be Built Near Crosby Farm Regional Park In St. Paul.
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To unveil the final designs for the Mississippi Learning Center planned for St. Paul’s Crosby Farm Park, the city of St. Paul and the Great River Passage Conservancy hosted a celebratory event this week at Watergate Marina.

Undated architectural rendering, circa October 2022, of the proposed Mississippi River Learning Center to be built near Crosby Farm Regional Park in St. Paul.  (Courtesy of W Architecture)

The goal of the project is to make the Mississippi River more accessible to visitors, providing the space to wade in the water, launch a boat, and from above, hike an elevated walkway that provides a variety of viewpoints of the waterway.

With the vision for the area complete, organizers plan to spend the next six months diving deeper into the details, such as establishing roles, developing ideas for community programming and requesting the funding from the state Legislature necessary to make it all happen.

“It really does get at being able to touch the water, creating a very, very safe space for people to adults and children who like to paddle in the summertime and to walk across in the wintertime,” said Mary deLaittre, executive director of the Great River Passage Conservancy. “Experiencing nature is very important for us.”

Architectural Rendering Of The Proposed Mississippi River Learning Center To Be Built Near Crosby Farm Regional Park In St. Paul.
Undated architectural rendering, circa October 2022, of the proposed Mississippi River Learning Center to be built near Crosby Farm Regional Park in St. Paul. (Courtesy of W Architecture)

The River Learning Center would be owned by the city, with the various tenants leasing space and covering operational expenses.

The overall project, whose cost hasn’t been finalized, is to be funded with public and private resources. The city unsuccessfully sought $20 million in state bonding money during the 2022 legislative session.

Along with the River Learning Center project, the Great River Passage Conservancy is planning for two more major projects along the St. Paul riverfront.

There are proposals for a quarter-mile promenade along the downtown bluffs called the River Balcony and a design to connect the East Side River District, including Pig’s Eye Lake, with the rest of the city.

Architectural Rendering Of The Proposed Mississippi River Learning Center To Be Built Near Crosby Farm Regional Park In St. Paul.
Undated architectural rendering, circa October 2022, of the proposed Mississippi River Learning Center to be built near Crosby Farm Regional Park in St. Paul.  (Courtesy of W Architecture)
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