• Pro Football Focus has the Vikings as the favorites to win the NFC North with 38 percent odds, compared to 23 percent for the Packers and Lions and 16 percent for the Bears.
• PFF was less optimistic about the Vikings offensive line, projecting it to be 28th out of 32 teams after finishing 22nd last year. PFF wrote: “The only likely change is if second-round pick Brian O’Neill can win the starting right tackle job. Based on his 1-on-1 performances at the Senior Bowl though, where he won only 27 percent of his reps, he may not be NFL ready anytime soon.”
• While a lot of the focus has been on Kirk Cousins, Vikings running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu said the team could have a great duo in Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray. “The No. 1 thing I like is they’re good teammates,” Polamalu said. “They do the things because they know they care about the other guys and want to do it right.”
• General Manager Rick Spielman on what made wide receiver Brandon Zylstra, a New London-Spicer and Concordia (Moorhead) product, stand out to the Vikings: “Brandon has the size and the speed that we look for. He stuck out up in Canada [in the Canadian Football League] when we scouted there last year. He had a really good workout for us this winter when we brought him in and were able to get him under contract.”
• Athletic director Mark Coyle received a $30,000 bonus when the Gophers finished 19th in the Learfield Directors’ Cup. The highest bonus he can receive according to his contract is $50,000 if the Gophers finish in the top five.
• San Diego Padres closer Brad Hand was named to his second consecutive All-Star Game, and the 28-year-old Chaska High School product again will be the topic of trade talk up to the July 31 trade deadline. Though he has struggled a little bit of late, Hand entered Saturday third in the NL with 24 saves.