Minnesota Vikings bounce back against Seattle

By: Abby Altman

Image taken from: Image taken from seahawkswire.usatoday.com

The atmosphere at US Bank Stadium coming into week 3 might have been exactly what the team needed. The stands were packed with purple, and the Skol chant was seemingly louder than ever. The stadium even had fake snow coming down to represent “The Team of the North.” 

Coming into this game the Vikings were 0-2, playing against the 1-1 Seahawks. Prior to this game, the Vikings hadn’t hosted the Seahawks in Minnesota since 2016, and hadn’t beaten them since 2009. 

Kirk Cousins, once again played at an MVP caliber level, going 30/38, with 323 yards and 3 touchdowns, and played his 3rd consecutive game with no turnovers. Even without star running back Dalvin Cook, the offense was propelled by backup Alexander Mattison, who picked up 112 rushing yards and 171 total yards. The offensive line looked stronger than it has in several years. 

“It’s the best offensive performance that I’ve seen in the eight years that I’ve been here,” coach Mike Zimmer said.

The first 2 weeks this season, the Vikings receiving core was fairly quiet. Sophomore WR Justin Jefferson ended his rookie year blazing, and was a top candidate for rookie of the year. He hadn’t done much this season, but after this week’s stats, we can see Jefferson is back. Justin had 11 targets, 118 receiving yards, and a touchdown, along with an impressive catch and 28 yard run. 

Another good thing to see is sophomore WR KJ Osborn is stepping up to make the Vikings WR core a very dangerous trio. Jefferson, Thielen, and Osborn, all combined for 194 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns this week. 

The defense played just slightly above average in the first half, but shut down the Seattle offense in the second half. The Vikings allowed the Seahawks offense 389 yards, 2 touchdowns and a field goal. The defensive line was able to get to Seahawks QB Russell Wilson twice, with Everson Griffen and Eric Kendricks both bringing in a sack. 

Kicker Greg Joseph redeemed himself in this comeback after missing a game winning kick in week 2. Joseph went 6/6 with 3 field goals for 44, 33 and 20 yards, and 3 PATs. 

In a post game interview coach Mike Zimmer said he told the team “We work so hard, we prepare so hard, we deserve to win.” 

The Vikings hope to keep this streak going and improve to 2-2 next week, at home against Cleveland. 

*Note: Since the writing of this article, the Vikings have gone 1-1 in the two games they’ve played.

Sports schedule for: 10/11-10/16

5:00pm Girls Soccer vs. Two Riversat Two Rivers High School
7:00pm Boys Soccer vs. Holy Angelsat Academy of Holy Angels
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:30pm / 8:30pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. HardingHOME
5:30pm Diving Conference Meetat Humboldt High School
6:30pm Swimming Conference Meetat St. Catherine University
7:00pm5:00pm / 8:45pmFootball vs. North St. Paulat North St. Paul High School
9:00am8:00am / 2:00pmVarsity Volleyball Tournament  Benilde-St. Margaret’sat Benilde-St. Margaret’s

Sports schedule for: 10/4-10/9

5:30pm JV Football vs. Como ParkHOME
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:30pm / 8:30pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. Humboldtat Humboldt High School
4:15pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Comoat Como Park High School
5:00pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Girls Soccer vs. ComoHOME
7:00pm Swimming and Diving vs. Hardingat Humboldt High School
5:00pm / 5:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Minnehaha Academyat Minnehaha Academy  
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:30pm / 8:30pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. Johnsonat Johnson High School
5:00pm Swimming and Diving vs. Centralat Humboldt High School
5:15pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Girls Soccer vs. South St. Paulat South St. Paul High School
6:00pm Football vs. Mound WestonkaHOME
10:00am7:00am / 2:00pmBoys / Girls Cross Country Alexandria Meet of Championsat Arrowhead Resort
10:00am/12:00pm JV/Varsity Girls Soccer vs. CentralHOME

False start for the Minnesota Vikings

Image taken from: thevikingage.com

By: Abby Altman

With a fantastic draft, a great off season, and most injured players returning ready to work, the Vikings 2021 season was highly anticipated. 

Many Vikings fans expected a comeback from the less than average season last year, but week 1 made most fans lose hope. At halftime, the Vikings were down 7-14. That doesn’t seem bad, but fans watching knew things weren’t looking good. The offense in the first half was abysmal. They received 12 penalties for a total loss of 116 yards, including 3 false starts in the opening drive, and 4 penalties in the first 8 snaps. 

“We shot ourselves in the foot, especially in the first half, way too many times,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer stated.

 The offensive line gave up 3 sacks, and the offense scored just 1 touchdown in the first half. 

Kirk Cousins, possibly the most hated player on the Vikings in recent years, played well but was seemingly overshadowed by the loss. Cousins went for 36/49, with 351 yards, and 2 touchdowns. 

The defense was another story, and not a much better one. The Bengals offense, Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, and the rest of the offensive stars, picked up 366 total yards, and 2 touchdowns in the first half, and 1 in the second.

Erik Kendricks looked like he was ready to be back, with 15 tackles, to lead the league after 1 week. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to stop Cincinnati from scoring 

But for many, the main story of the game was neither team. It was the refs. 

With 10:00 left in the 4th quarter, WR Justin Jefferson caught a 20 yard pass from QB Kirk Cousins, and proceeded to run the final 20 yards to land in the end zone. The refs didn’t call the touchdown, stating that he was down before he landed in the end zone, and called third down. Further replays clearly showed an image of Jefferson hanging over the end zone, his body clearly still off the ground. The call was not overturned. 

After a horrendous first half, the Vikings managed to pull it together, and came back to tie the game with a 53 yard kick made by Greg Joseph with 3 seconds on the clock. The game went into overtime, and both defenses looked strong forcing each team to punt at least once. 

With less than 2 minutes on the clock in overtime, the Vikings were sitting roughly on the 40 yard line. Getting very close to field goal range, the Vikings called 1 more play. With a handoff to star RB Dalvin Cook, his run ended on the bottom of a pileup with a group of Cincinnati defenders. The refs called a fumble, recovered by Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt. The Vikings challenged the call, and after several minutes were spent reviewing the play, the ruling on the field stayed a fumble, allowing the Bengals to set up their game winning field goal drive. 

Online comment sections since then have been flooded with fans, some Vikings, some not, stating that “Dalvin didn’t fumble”. Many fans were outraged that the ruling on the field was not overturned. 

In a post game conference, Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen spoke out about the game and the offensive mistakes. Thielen stated that the Vikings felt “[R]eally confident coming into this game”. Obviously, that confidence was shot down by mistakes. Thielen made a comment saying that he believes this is a good team and will bounce back in week 2. From the interview on Minnesota Vikings YouTube, Thielen says, “You gotta play clean football, because that’s (penalties) what loses games”. 

Sports schedule for: 9/27-10/2

5:15pm / 7:00pm Girls JV/Varsity Soccer vs. Simleyat Simley High School
5:30pm JV Football vs. JohnsonHOME
5:30pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Volleyball vs. Como ParkHOME
4:00pm / 4:00pm JV/Varsity Tennis vs. HardingJV: HOME Varsity: at Harding High School
4:15pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. WashingtonHOME
7:00pm Varsity Girls Soccer vs. Washingtonat Washington
4:00pm Varsity Tennis vs. VisitationHOME  
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:30pm / 8:30pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. Centralat Central High School
4:15pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. CentralHOME
7:00pm Girls Varsity Soccer vs. Centralat Central High School
TBD Tennis Twin Cities Matchat Minneapolis Site
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm C-Squad / JV / Volleyball vs. WashingtonHOME
8:00am Varsity Volleyball Invitationalat Blaine High School
1:00pm Football vs. Como ParkHOME
2:30pm / 4:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. SPAat St. Paul Academy

Sports schedule for: 9/20-9/25

4:00pm  Varsity Tennis vs. VisitationHOME
5:30pm4:45pm / 7:30pmJV Football vs. Johnsonat Johnson High School
4:00pm Varsity Tennis vs. Washingtonat Washington
4:15pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Humboldtat Humboldt High School
5:00pm / 7:00pm JV Girls Soccer vs. Central Varsity Girls Soccer vs. HumboldtHOME
5:00pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. JohnsonHOME  
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:30pm / 8:30pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. Hardingat Harding High School
4:00pm / 4:00pm JV/ Varsity Tennis vs. CentralJV: HOME Varsity: at Central High School
5:00pm Football vs. CentralHOME
5:00pm Swimming & Diving vs. Humboldt/Washingtonat Humboldt High School
3:45pm1:45pm / 5:15pmBoys and Girls Cross Country Roy Griak Invitationalat Les Bolstad Golf Course
12:00pm Varsity Girls Soccer vs. WashingtonHOME
1:00pm12:00pm / 2:30pmBoys JV Soccer vs. DeLaSalleat DeLaSalle High School
1:00pm Swimming & Diving vs. MPLS Southwestat St. Catherine University
6:00pm Varsity Boys Soccer vs. MPLS RooseveltHOME

Sports schedule for: 9/13-9/18

4:00pm Tennis Scrimmage vs. North St. PaulJohn Glenn Junior High School
4:30pmJV Football vs. Kennedyat Bloomington Stadium
5:00pm / 7:00pmJV/Varsity Girls Soccer vs. Two RiversHOME
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. HumboldtHOME
4:30pm / 5:00pmJV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. DeLaSalleJV: at Neiman Sports Complex V: at DeLaSalle High School
5:00pm / 7:00pmJV/Varsity Girls Soccer vs. VisitationHOME
6:00pmSwimming & Diving vs. Rosemountat Rosemount Middle School
4:00pmJV Tennis vs. South St. PaulJV: HOME  
4:00pmVarsity Tennis vs. HumboldtHOME
4:15pmSwimming & Diving vs. Como/Johnsonat Humboldt High School
4:45pmVarsity Girls Soccer vs. Johnsonat Johnson High School
5:00pm / 7:00pmJV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. MPLS EdisonHOME
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. JohnsonHOME
9:30am7:45am / 12:45pm Boys and Girls Cross Country Metro Invitationalat Eden Prairie High School
10:00am Swimming and Diving Maroon and Gold Invitationalat University of Minnesota Aquatic Center
12:00pm10:30am / 1:45pm Football vs. Johnsonat Johnson High School
5:00pm / 7:00pmJV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. St. Anthony VillageHOME

The controversy over Tokyo’s 2021 Olympic Games

By: Caroline Crosby

Japan was primed and ready to host the 2020 summer Olympics last year. They received the usual mass of international funding and built the “Japan National Stadium” in late 2019, at the expense of a mere $1.4 billion USD. Hotels and other widespread private tourist organizations were frantic with the construction of new establishments to host the influx of overseas visitors. Tokyo was looking forward to hitting the reset button on a global stage after years of economic stagnation following the devastating loss of life and property that it endured after being struck by the Tohoku earthquake, a tidal wave, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and finally a global pandemic. 

They were ready for most of the usual contingencies, but not for what 2020 had in store with the rampant outbreak of COVID-19. As such, the 2020 games were optimistically postponed to the summer of this year. They will be held in Tokyo, from July 23 to August 8. The Paralympics will start shortly after, lasting from August 24 to September 5.

Over the past year and a half since the emergence of the pandemic, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has forged ahead selling event tickets to fans, finalizing COVID-19 precautions, and preparing to welcome hundreds of thousands of international travelers to attend this year’s games. 

What could go wrong?

A recent survey, of Japan’s willing residents, asked if they approved of the country hosting 2021’s event at all. 83% believed that it should be canceled. The numbers speak for themselves, and many residents agree that Tokyo hosting this event will endanger community immunity and deplete already scarce medical resources stretched thin by the recent surge of COVID-19 cases. Only about 2% of Japan’s population is vaccinated. 

Japan’s government has heavily relied on adherence to strong social distancing measures. In this densely populated country, these measures will be further strained by an influx of tourists from around the world, all of whom will be meeting up at sporting and entertainment venues across Tokyo and its countryside. 

Even though overseas attendees got the boot, the Olympics will still instigate mass migration and raise the risk of the pandemic’s spread. Others are concerned that Tokyo doesn’t have space in the first place – with an estimated population of 37,339,804 residents at roughly 16,121.8 people per square mile, according to the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. 

A groundswell of residents in the event’s surrounding areas has begun sounding the alarm and protests have gained momentum. A Change.org petition recently gained traction with over 400,000 signatures calling for the cancelation of the 2021 games. 10,000 of the 80,000 local volunteers quit amidst growing concern over unsatisfactory COVID-19 precautions.

The International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) issued guidelines that were supposed to have the consultation of the World Health Organization, but seem to lack sufficient detail and focus on out-of-date science. Many critics argue that the games should be canceled entirely to keep the Japanese public safe. The Change.org petition creator, Kenji Utsunomiya explains, “Turning to the Olympics the medical resources that are facing a serious shortage even in the [present], further tormented […] healthcare professionals who are battered by corona epidemic, endangering the life and livelihood of the residents and participants in particular.”

Additionally, the sudden cancellation of event admission for international fans has not gone over well. Many have devoted funds to and planned their attendance for over 2 years now. Ticket holders now search for refunds. Many are unclear on when, if ever, their money will be returned.

Self-dubbed superfan, Everen Brown, told the New York Times: “Since we are being barred, it is only right for them to make everyone whole and refund all of the money paid…It would be real painful watching this at home on TV and knowing they have the money, and not knowing when you’re going to get it back.”

Monica Treece told the Salt Lake Tribune: “At this point they’ve held our funds for two years already, and I’m concerned it’s going to take months more to get them back again…everyone is still in the dark. We’re just waiting.” 

Personal economic status isn’t the only pressing concern here. There are widely shared fears that Japan will fare worse than other past host countries. The most recent estimate, from February of this year, dictates that while the IOC’s bid committee originally projected in 2020 that the games would cost around $12.6 billion USD, Japan’s National Audit Board assessed that the final price would jump to over $22 billion USD with approximately 75% derived from public funding.

Let’s hope that Japan escapes Greece’s previous Olympic-catalyzed fate, whose 2004 Athens games, and resulting economic loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in debt, played a major part in literally bankrupting the country. 

Almost all facilities built for Greece’s 2-month event are now derelict. The Wall Street Journal estimates that the cost of canceling the IOC’s plans, and cutting Japan’s losses now, would result in a loss of $17 billion USD. This is a steep price, but the cost of a post-Olympic emergency would be far greater both economically, and in terms of human life.

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The NBA playoffs and how different they are this year

Image taken from: NBA playoffs and how different they are this year

By: Charlie Fragassi

If you have tuned into the NBA playoffs at all this year, you’ll see an entirely different look then last year. Last year, COVID-19 stopped the season for a little while and the top teams were forced to play the playoffs in an NBA bubble, in Disney World, in Florida.

This year, the NBA had few COVID complications except that they started the season later, but they were able to finish the regular season normally and go into the playoffs.

This year’s playoffs have been really fun because they had a play in tournament for the bottom seeds, to see who made it into the playoffs, and who didn’t. This is a new feature that was different from last year.

Teams were also able to travel to each other’s stadiums for games and pretty much all NBA teams had some sort of fan capacity so there are fans at all the games, which is good for the players, team, and the fans.

Last year was a pretty crazy year for the NBA, but it’s good to see things get back under control and for them to have a somewhat normal playoff, and hopefully they have no COVID complications.

Some NBA fans even say that last year’s NBA finals winners, the Los Angles Lakers, win shouldn’t even count due to the fact that the season was cut short and the teams played in a bubble. But overall, it doesn’t matter where you play, the winners are going to win and it’ll stay that way forever.

The end of J. Cole’s basketball career

By: Alexandra Rimbu

Rap star, J. Cole, has ended his short-lived pro basketball career in light of a “family obligation”.

During his time with Rwanda Patriots BBC, of the Basketball Africa League, he scored 5 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and tallied 3 assists in 45 minutes, in three appearances – an extremely sub-par performance. This has prompted many to mock Cole’s career. Others, however, are more focused on the fact that his career should never have begun.

As Cole has previously expressed, his two dreams in life were to pursue music and basketball. Cole focused more on music however, and he is now a mainstream rap star.

Basketball has always remained as one of his hobbies though, and it is for this particular reason that many argue he should never have been given a chance to play pro, because the fact remains that basketball is just a hobby for him.

Cole told ‘SLAM Magazine’, “The main parallel that I always draw between music and basketball is like, ‘Yo, it’s just a matter of hours. The difference between the pro guy that sits on the bench and the superstar, it’s just a matter of intentional hours”. Cole has put in these intentional hours for music, but he has not put in the intentional hours for basketball. 

Many label Cole as being selfish in this respect. He has not put in the effort the way others have, to build a career for himself in basketball, rather he was served it on a silver platter. He used his celebrity to take part in his favorite hobby, contradicting even himself. How can he claim that in order to make it big you need to put in the hours when he himself has not done so?

Cole has robbed more deserving athletes of a chance. Athletes who make it based on their skill, not their name. Athletes who sacrifice their lives to make it. Athletes who have put in those intentional hours.

So, it comes that Cole’s finished basketball career is, in fact, a blessing. For his spot can now be given up to someone more deserved, who will be able to accomplish the dream they have so long strived for.