Anthony Barr, Vikings linebacker (↓ DOWN THEN ↑ UP)
Barr was headed out the door to the New York Jets. But Minnesota was still interested and after sleeping on it, the former Vikings first-round draft pick decided to eschew New York and continue wearing purple -- and reportedly took less money than he was offered by the Jets. Barr has been a solid outside linebacker in his five years with the Vikings (338 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 22 passes defensed, 30 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles) and obviously knows the scheme. It's a welcome addition, er, return.
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Keita Bates-Diop, Wolves forward (↑ UP)
After finally getting into Minnesota's rotation, Bates-Diop took another step forward this past week -- into the starting lineup. Bates-Diop had been seeing roughly 10-15 minutes per game, with the exception of 26 1/2 on March 3 at Washington, but has topped 33 minutes in each of the last three games since becoming a starter. He had a career-high 18 points (on 7-for-12 shooting) and tied his personal best with six rebounds in the March 10 win over the Knicks.
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Josh Okogie, Wolves guard (↓ DOWN)
While one Minnesota rookie ascends, another struggles. Okogie remains in the starting lieup, but he hasn't reached double figures in points since Feb. 27. In his last three games, he's made just 2 of 15 shots, including 1-for-8 on 3-point attempts.
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Gophers men's hockey (↑ UP)
Looking to likely have to win the Big Ten tournament to make the NCAAs, Minnesota swept past Michigan into the semifinals. As the four seed, Minnesota will be the underdog, but the Gophers have now won five straight games and seven of its last eight. The Gophers will face Notre Dame in a win-or-go-home contest Saturday. Minnesota is 3-1 against the Fighting Irish this season, including a victory Feb. 23 which started the current win streak. If the Gophers can win that one, top-seeded Ohio State could be next -- a team the Gophers took two games from on the road Feb. 15-16 (and tied in two earlier home meetings).
Tyler Austin, Twins first baseman (↑ UP)
While some might have penciled in C.J. Cron as Minnesota's first baseman, Austin is making sure you don’t count him out. He had three hits in a tie against Tampa Bay on March 8 and blasted his first spring home run in Tuesday's win over Pittsburgh. Entering Wednesday's game, Austin is 12-for-29 (a team-high .414 batting average) with two doubles, a homer and four RBI. Austin had 17 home runs in 69 games in 2018, including nine for the Twins in 35 games after coming over from the Yankees in a trade.