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Sid Hartman

Columnist | Sports
Phone: 612-673-4452

Sid Hartman is a sports columnist. He also can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m.

Hartman writes three columns each week.
Recent content from Sid Hartman
Twins outfielders, from left, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler, celebrated a May 15 victory over the Angels last season at Target Field, whe

Hartman: One season ago, no one gave the Twins a chance

Last spring, ESPN had 31 experts across their baseball departments pick who they thought would win the AL Central, and only three picked the Twins while the remaining 28 picked the Indians.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Twins President Dave St. Peter gave a health update on several players: “[Byron Buxton] got a full clean bill of health…
Twins third baseman Miguel Sano bobbled a grounder by White Sox pinch hitter Welington Castillo but made the throw to first. Jorge Polanco backed him

Hartman: Twins scout Guerrero landed both Sano, Polanco as teens

Fred Guerrero continues to spot, develop talent in the Dominican Republic and Latin America.
Hartman: Super Bowl stories for Mahomes, Shanahan started in Twin Cities

Hartman: Super Bowl stories for Mahomes, Shanahan started in Twin Cities

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan were born here when their dads were working for the Twins and Gophers.
P.J. Fleck and the Gophers made a New Year’s Day bowl — the Outback, against Auburn — just three years after calamity.

Hartman: Fleck engineered historic Gophers turnaround

When the history of Gophers football is written, you will not be able pass up the fact that only three years ago, this program was in its worst straits ever when P.J. Fleck took over as coach.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS• Brian Gutekunst, the son of former Gophers football coach John Gutekunst, is in his second season as general manager of the Packers,…
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) sacked Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the fourth quarter .

Hartman: Instead of playoff magic, Vikings simply disappear in defeat

This loss doesn't take away from a very good season, but the front office will have a lot of question marks as it prepares for what's ahead, including some tough salary calls.
The Vikings' Everson Griffen (97) and Anthony Barr (55) celebrated at the end of the game after defeating the LA Chargers.

Hartman: Three big signings saved Vikings' year

Some savvy salary cap moves kept Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Barr and Everson Griffen as part of a playoff team.
Hartman: Did we just see the best week ever for Gophers and Vikings?

Hartman: Did we just see the best week ever for Gophers and Vikings?

There's an argument to be made that last week was the best stretch of football for the Gophers and the Vikings since the NFL came to Minnesota.
Drew Brees turns 41 on Jan. 15, but the longtime Saints quarterback continues to be among the best in the game.

Hartman: Vikings pass defense faces tough test in Saints

The Vikings ranked 15th this season in pass defense, giving up 233.6 yards per game, after ranking third in 2018, second in 2017 and third in 2016.
Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs celebrated after his 61-yard touchdown beat the Saints two years ago.

Hartman: Vikings, Saints develop one of NFL's best playoff rivalries

The two teams have split their past two postseason games, both in dramatic fashion.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky fumbled the ball before being sacked by Vikings defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes in the fourth quarter.

Hartman: Vikings reserves outplayed Bears starters

Mike Zimmer came away from Sunday's loss pleased with some young players and the Vikings' running game.
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen couldn’t come up with a catch on a long pass from Kirk Cousins against Green Bay on Monday.

Hartman: Vikings' Thielen says he feels great, is ready for playoffs

The standout receiver is back but hasn't been much of a factor since returning from a hamstring injury.
Vikings safety Anthony Harris has had his best season, with career highs in tackles (60), interceptions (six) and pass deflections (11). He will be an

Hartman: Vikings free agent Harris focused on playoffs, not contract

The fifth-year safety, in the midst of his best season, will become an unrestricted free agent.
The Vikings need running back Dalvin Cook to be healthy next week when the postseason begins, otherwise their playoff stay might be a short one.

Hartman: A holiday wish list to cheer Minnesota's teams

The Vikings need good health, and the Twins need better pitching. There's a gift just right for everybody, including a top state basketball recruit for Richard Pitino.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins met with Packers counterpart Aaron Rodgers after Green Bay’s 21-16 victory on Sept. 15.

Hartman: Since joining Vikings, Cousins has outplayed Rodgers

The Vikings' decision to give Kirk Cousins big money was in direct response to the success the Packers have had with Aaron Rodgers. So far, the numbers show Cousins is holding up his end of the bargain.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • There was great news for Rick Spielman and the Vikings front office when the NFL announced the 2020 salary cap should go…
Vikings players Everson Griffen and Anthony Barr celebrated at the end of Sunday's victory over the Chargers in Carson, Calif.

Hartman: Vikings, Griffen face contract/salary cap dilemma

The standout defensive end could void his current contract and become an unrestricted free agent.
Vikings linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr posed last season.

Hartman: Former UCLA teammates leading Vikings defense

It was fitting that two of the best performances in the Chargers game in Los Angeles came from linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) sacked Broncos quarterback Brandon Allen in the third quarter Sunday.

Hartman: Vikings fortunate in rallying to beat Denver

Coach Mike Zimmer said that while he's pleased with the record, he thinks his team has a long way to go before it starts thinking about postseason success.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck was escorted off the Kinnick Stadium field following Saturday’s disappointing loss at Iowa.

Hartman: Gophers beat themselves in first loss of the season

Then they almost completely dominated in the second half, but they just had too many uncharacteristic plays.

Hartman: Vikings safety Harris ranks among NFL's best

Undrafted out of college in 2015, Anthony Harris has been one of the Vikings' biggest surprises.
Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson (6) celebrated his first touchdown against Georgia Southern.

Hartman: Gophers toughened by close victories early in season

Nonconference victories made the Gophers confident in the big-play ability they displayed vs. Penn State.
Tanner Morgan’s latest impressive performance at quarterback for the Gophers included getting the pass off over the pressure of Penn State defensive

Hartman: Gophers put together a historic performance vs. Penn State

Sid Hartman writes: "I have covered Gophers football for 75 years, and I have never seen a display like I saw after P.J. Fleck's 17th-ranked squad defeated No. 4 Penn State."

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Despite a tough loss at Kansas City last week, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has posted a 127.1 passer rating over his past…
Nov. 25, 1962: The Minneapolis Sunday Tribune Sports “Peach” was packed with college football coverage and photography — including the above s

Hartman: The Proof Is In The Paper

Gophers star Bobby Bell should never have been called for a late hit against Wisconsin in 1962.
Gophers linebacker Carter Coughlin sacked Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna during a game earlier this season.

Hartman: U's senior defensive players will play vital role vs. Penn State

The veteran Gophers' defense has weathered tough times with Minnesota, and now is contributing to the team's 8-0 start.
In October 2005, both Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, right, and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer pointed out to defensive back Anthony Henry that he sh

Hartman: NFL coaching great Parcells says upcoming schedule will test Vikings

Bill Parcells hasn't coached since 2006, but he has kept in close touch with Mike Zimmer. "They have some tough road games. I think that will be a key time for the Vikings," Parcells said.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Who would have thought the Gophers football team would begin November ranked ahead of Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa?   • Gophers coach
Vikings wide receiver and seventh-round draft pick Bisi Johnson has 15 receptions for 161 yards this season, including this touchdown catch against th

Hartman: Vikings rookie receiver Johnson has been a quick learner

It's an impressive rookie season, considering rookie Bisi Johnson was drafted in the seventh round, only eight picks from the final selection of the 2019 draft.
Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski spoke with quarterback Kirk Cousins during Week 3 of the preseason vs. the Arizona Cardinals

Hartman: Stefanski has found Vikings' offensive blueprint

The Vikings' productive run-pass mix stems from Kevin Stefanski working well with both Kubiaks.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he is pleased with the team’s 6-2 start, but the second-half schedule gets tougher.

Hartman: Zimmer calls 6-2 'good,' sees big challenge ahead for Vikings

This is easily the most balanced Vikings team that Mike Zimmer has coached.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • The Gophers’ 2020 schedule includes difficult games against Michigan and Michigan State, but they don’t have to face Ohio State or Penn State.…
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck hugged University of Minnesota president Joan Gabel following a 40-17 defeat of Illinois on Oct. 5.

Hartman: Fleck has delivered on his promise at Minnesota

P.J. Fleck has guided the Gophers to success they haven't achieved in years, but the focus remains on each individual game.
January 18, 1988: As Redskins celebrated, Darrin Nelson lay dejected after missing a pass from Wade Wilson in the final minute of the game.

Hartman: Loss to Redskins in '87 NFC title game denied Vikings fifth Super Bowl berth

A possible fifth Super Bowl berth vanished after a dropped pass in the NFC title game.
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter celebrated after a sack of Matthew Stafford at TCF Bank Stadium last year. The Vikings have won their past three

Hartman: Vikings have a tradition of success against Lions

The two clubs have faced off 115 times since 1961 and the Vikings have won .652 percent of the time with a 74-39-2 record.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, on why the offense has performed so well the past two weeks: “I think we are executing better.…
Vikings offensive guard Dakota Dozier spiked the ball in the end zone after a preseason touchdown in August.

Hartman: Dakota Dozier finds Vikings to his liking

The backup guard has started three games with his new team after signing as a free agent.
Vikings receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs after a touchdown in the third quarter against the New York Giants on Oct. 2

Hartman: Diggs, Thielen starting to look like their old selves

The Vikings' star receivers are more comfortable in a new offensive scheme, and it is starting to show.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer

Hartman: Vikings showcase offensive balance in thumping Eagles

When the Vikings revamped their offensive coaching staff in the offseason, they had to envision the kind of game they played Sunday in beating Philadelphia.
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter sacked Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in the third quarter Sunday.

Hartman: Hunter went from raw at LSU to a star with Vikings

Defensive end Danielle Hunter, a fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft, said working under different coaches and being around NFL veterans made a big difference in changing his game.
Kirk Cousins in action during the second half against Philadelphia on Oct. 7, 2018

Hartman: Cousins has enjoyed past success against Eagles

Kirk Cousins has averaged more than 300 yards passing in going 5-3 in his career against Philadelphia.
Max Kepler was among the many Twins players dealing with nagging injuries toward the end of the season.

Hartman: Injuries gave Twins no chance against dominant Yankees

After a disappointing end to a historic season, the Twins believe they are in good shape for 2020.
Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco, left, and third baseman Miguel Sano, center, talking with new teammate Marwin Gonzalez at spring training earlier this

Hartman: Young Twins stars emerged to put together a historic season

Even if the Twins lose this series in three games, the fact is that they are in prime position to contend for years.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Kirk Cousins being sacked six times in the Bears game means that he has taken eight sacks on the season, but it…
Nelson Cruz followed through on his 40th home run of the season, and his 400th career homer, a 412 foot solo shot to right field on September 22.

Hartman: Cruz beings playoff savvy to battle against Yankees

Nelson Cruz's postseason success — and production vs. the Yankees — makes him a key figure in the ALDS.
Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco

Hartman: Twins need Polanco at his best to top the Yankees

2019 was a breakout year for Jorge Polanco, especially after last season when he was suspended 81 games for using a performance-enhancing drug.
Give former general managers Bill Smith and Terry Ryan some credit for this becoming a Twins season worth celebrating. 3B Miguel Sano, at left, carryi

Hartman: Ex-GMs Ryan, Smith had a hand in building Twins success

The Twins' first trip to the playoffs in a decade shows how long it can take to build a winner, and also how old managers and front office executives often take the fall for underperforming teams while building foundations.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • The Twins had the second-largest attendance increase in Major League Baseball in 2019, trailing only the Phillies. They gained 334,955 fans compared to…

Hartman: Will Twins finally overcome 15-year postseason losing streak?

The Twins are a near lock to play the Yankees in the MLB postseason and have lost 10 consecutive meetings, part of their 13-game postseason losing streak.
Miguel Sano celebrated his three-run homer on Sunday vs. Kansas City

Hartman: Healthy Sano has led Twins' charge toward postseason

After hitting .199 in 2018 and missing a month with a heel injury, Miguel Sano has been sizzling at the plate, especially in the final two months of the season as injuries have sidelined other key players.
Vikings tight end Irv Smith spiked the ball after the Adam Thielen touchdown in the first quarter.

Hartman: Impressive win over Oakland will quiet Vikings doubters

The fact is that the Vikings have played 16 bad minutes this season, when they gave up 21 points to the Packers r last weekend.
Vikings safety Harrison Smith got to the Falcons’ Ito Smith in the opener and has stood out in both games this season.

Hartman: Harrison Smith says Vikings defense has room to improve

The safety isn't satisfied with how the unit has played through two games this season.
Jim Marshall, Alan Page, Gary Larsen and Carl Eller prior to Super Bowl IV in New Orleans.

Hartman: Vikings' excellence of the '70s began with Super Bowl IV

The Vikings will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their 1969 NFL championship squad on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. That loss to the Chiefs 50 years ago began an era of success for the Vikings.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook

Hartman: Cook is the cure for the Vikings sloppy offense

The difference in the run game is night and day as the Vikings lead the NFC in rushing and are tied for the NFL lead in yards per carry.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was dragged down by Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen during the season opener.

Hartman: Vikings defense glad to have Barr, Griffen still around

There was a point over the past year where both Everson Griffen and Anthony Barr had uncertain futures with this club.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • After 16 home games, the Twins were averaging only 16,843 fans per game — last in the AL. But since then they have…
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook broke the grasp of the Atlanta defense during the second quarter.

Hartman: Vikings' Week 1 victory a sign of run-focused things to come

The Vikings' 172 rushing yards in Week 1 was the highest in the NFC, and there's no doubt the philosophy from assistant head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive line coach Rick Dennison is going to be evident.
Twins right fielder Max Kepler celebrated with shortstop Jorge Polanco after Kepler hit a home run in the bottom of the first inning against the Detro

Hartman: International signings in '09 started Twins current rise

Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano were all teenagers back then. Now they're realizing their potential.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer shook players hands before kickoff at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Hartman: Packers will provide truer test for Vikings next weekend

The Packers' 10-3 victory at Chicago on Thursday, combined with the Vikings' easy victory, sets up a game that will give some hints about post-season possibilities for both sides.
Danielle Hunter quickly emerged as a dominant pass-rusher for the Vikings after they drafted him 88th overall in 2015.

Hartman: Vikings' defensive playmaker Hunter ready for Year 5

One of the players who no doubt will help lead the Vikings charge is Danielle Hunter, the fifth-year defensive end out of Louisiana State who has become one of the most dominant pass-rushing forces in the NFL.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • The Vikings’ home schedules for 2020, ’21 and ’22 have some big-name teams outside of the division, even though the dates for the games…
The Twins' Miguel Sano scores on a single by Willians Astudillo as Boston catcher Christian Vazquez stands at right during the seventh inning on Thurs

Hartman: Twins can be the class of the AL Central again

While the Twins can't win the division this weekend or next, there's no doubt they can send a signal to Cleveland that they could be a real division power over the next decade.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook broke away from the defense for an 85-yard touchdown against Arizona in Week 3 of the preseason.

Hartman: Healthy Cook demonstrates his value to Vikings offense

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is recovered from his rookie-year ACL tear and can't wait to run (and catch) the ball.
The Vikings and the Jaguars shared a practice session last month at TCO Performance Center in Eagan, a facility that continues the team’s growth in

Hartman: Vikings have built one of top franchises in the NFL

After years of work to build a new stadium and a new practice facility, the team has become one of the most stable franchises and operations in the NFL.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • New Vikings Chief Executive Officer Andrew Miller, who is replacing Kevin Warren as he takes over as commissioner of the Big Ten,…
South Dakota State running back C.J. Wilson was tackled by Gophers defensive back Jordan Howden

Hartman: South Dakota State gave Gophers all they could handle

P.J. Fleck's concern proved to be correct as the Gophers really had a tough time in the opener.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck.

Hartman: Don't be surprised by a quality South Dakota State team

The Jackrabbits went 8-2 during the 2018 regular season and won two FCS playoff games before falling to North Dakota State in the national semifinals.
Adam Thielen beat Seattle cornerback Shaq Griffin for 34 yards last Sunday; the Vikings star receiver sat out Saturday’s game.

Hartman: Thielen driven by victories, not statistics

The 29-year-old from Detroit Lakes said that as he prepares for his fifth NFL season, the only numbers he is concerned about are wins and losses.

Sid's jottings

JOTTINGS • Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck on which players could surprise heading into the season opener Thursday against South Dakota State: “I would…
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer assistant head coach and offensive advisor Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.

Hartman: Vikings' new offensive system working for Zimmer

The work of coaches Kevin Stefanski, Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison has been on display in two preseason victories.
Kyle Rudolph leads a group of Vikings tight ends that will be taking a bigger role in the team’s revamped offensive plans.

Hartman: Rudolph ready to lead dynamic group of Vikings tight ends

The offense figures to lean heavily on tight end formations, and it has the talent at the position to do so.
Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski last month.

Hartman: Vikings' Stefanski continues to impress first NFL boss

One person not surprised about Kevin Stefanski's rise is former Vikings head coach Brad Childress, who hired the offensive coordinator for an entry-level job 13 years ago.
Gophers senior linebacker Carter Coughlin (45) has deep family ties to the program and a winning mentality from his days starring at Eden Prairie High

Hartman: Coughlin carries family's legacy at University of Minnesota

Senior linebacker Carter Coughlin has a Gophers bloodline and Eden Prairie's winning mentality.
Nelson Cruz was on a tear before injuring his left wrist and landing on the injured list. He will see a specialist soon.

Hartman: Cruz's wrist injury leaves big void in Twins lineup

Nelson Cruz was on one of the hottest streaks of any hitter to wear a Twins uniform before he injured himself Thursday swinging and missing at a Mike Clevinger fastball.