Explore the Hidden Valley Culture.
Explore the Hidden Valley Culture.
This is why Andrew Wiggins is a max contract player.
Taj Gibson passed to Wiggins with 4.7 seconds left. Karl-Anthony Towns set a pick for Wiggins to get some open space. A few feet past half court Wiggins shot and the ball went through the hoop as time expired. Minnesota Timberwolves won. They defeated Oklahoma City Thunder 115-113, Sunday, pushing their record to 2-1.
“It felt amazing. It felt good,” Wiggins describe the moment the ball left his hands to Fox Sports North after the game. “We are only getting better.”
Heading into the fourth quarter Timberwolves were ahead of Thunder by 13. Thunder chipped away at the lead and it seemed they’d get the comeback win on their home court after Carmelo Anthony hit a three pointer to pull them ahead by one with 4.7 seconds remaining. But Wiggins reminded folks why he’s been given a $148 million contract extension.
“You take em’ anyway you can get em’,” head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after the game. “I don’t know if we rehearsed that but we spend a lot of time [in practice] in special situation.”
The NBA’s new rule in reducing timeouts is why Timberwolves didn’t have one in that situation, he said. Winning back-to-back games both went down to to the wire. In their home opener Friday they defeated Utah Jazz 100-97.
“Whatever the circumstances are you have to find a way to win,” Thibodeau said. “The main thing for us is concentrating on improving.”
Towns managed to get his third consecutive double-double finishing with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Wiggins was also tied for the team high with 27 points while grabbing seven boards and dishing out four assists.
Timberwolves and Thunder will rematch each other Thursday night at Target Center.
By Gino Terrell
Carolina Panthers dropped their first road game of the season.
Unfortunately for Panthers history repeated itself. The squad had never won a regular season game on Chicago Bears Soldier Field (0-4) and that slide continues after losing 17-3, Sunday. This curse was still prevalent for Panthers even coming into the game 3-0 on the road with Cam Newton accumulating a quarterback rating of 122.9 in those games with eight touchdown passes to only two interceptions.
Coming up short on the road was nothing short of a “disappointment,” head coach Ron Rivera said during the post game press conference.
“It came down to three plays,” Rivera said. “This game was won by the team that made those three plays.”
Two of those plays were turnovers Bears safety Eddie Jackson turned into points. On the opening drive Eddie Jackson returned a fumble for a 75-yard touchdown after a Panthers option play gone wrong. The second was a tipped pass Jackson caught and ran back for a 76-yard pick six in the second quarter. Third, a deep throw by Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky to running back Tarik Cohen for a 70-yard completion leading to a field goal before half, 17-3.
“Those two turnovers hurt us and we just couldn’t seem to get our foot back,” Newton said.
Neither team scored in the second half resulting into Panthers losing their second consecutive game.
While the offense wasn’t able to get it going, Rivera doesn’t blame Newton for the two turnovers turned into points.
“The pitch wasn’t his fault, that ball should be caught,” Rivera said. On the pick six “the ball ricocheted in the air, that’s not his fault.”
The two plays Newton needed to make was when he missed Kelvin Benjamin on an over throw and Christian McCaffrey when he over thrown a pass to him as well, Rivera said.
“We didn’t make plays,” Rivera said.
Those turnovers deep in Bears territory and settling for a 36-yard field goal were inexcusable, Rivera said.
“A game like this with an opportunity like that, if you don’t score when you have that opportunity when you get down there, you might not get back down there,” Rivera said. “Its kind of a hallmark for what they (Chicago Bears) believe in…its tradition.
“We had chances to win this football game but they took it away early,” Rivera said.
Week eight Panthers (4-3) will take on NFC South division foes Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4), Sunday.
By Gino Terrell
Demi Lovato toured over 40 cities to speak to thousands about her journey to sobriety.
After the release of Lovato’s documentary “Simply Complicated” she’s released a video, Friday, where she talks about her tour with CAST Centers. CAST Centers is a treatment center Lovato became a co-owner of after it helped her get sober five-and-a-half years ago.
“I really believe CAST Centers saved my life,” Lovato said in her video. “Going into rehab was one of the hardest seasons of my life. I needed extra support and a solution that was creative and involved in my day-to-day life. And that’s when I met Mike.”
Mike Bayer is the founder of CAST Centers who considers Lovato a friend and business partner. He began helping Lovato when her manager reached out to him when Lovato was using drugs regularly as a teenager years ago, according to the documentary “Simply Complicated.”
“Demi was on the road to suicide. She would have bags of pills and an eight ball of coke,” Bayer said in the documentary.
Sneaking out to get drugs, switching her urine with others who were sober to pass drug tests and constant mood swings marked this dark era in Lovato’s life.
“I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel guilty, I didn’t feel embarrassed,” Lovato explained her actions during the time in “Simply Complicated.” Looking back now its different.
“It’s embarrassing to look back at the person I was,” Lovato said.
But after Bayer and Lovato’s team constantly worked with her she finally decided to change. Since that point she’s been sober.
To help others who maybe going through what she’s gone through, Lovato has been open about her experience to use her platform as a mental health advocate. After becoming a co-owner of CAST Centers she decided a tour where she’d talk about her experiences would be a way to spread her message to many.
“At the end of the day its about how we can help people. That is what Mike does and that’s why I partnered with Mike to put CAST on tours,” she said.
The tour stopped in 41 cities to reach thousands of people, according to Lovato. Sharing her story served two purposes.
“Sharing my story is not only healing for me but it also gives people permission to tell their story. We all have work to do to be our best selves. In some small way I hope CAST tours gave people the tools to find their best selves,” he said.
By Gino Terrell
Teddy Two Gloves talks about participating in practice with Minnesota Vikings, reaching his “mini milestone” coming off a career threatening knee injury.
Teddy Bridgewater practiced with the team for the first time Wednesday, October 18, since being taken off the team’s Physically Unable to Perform list earlier this week. This was a mini milestone of his ever since sustaining a noncontact career threatening knee injury a season ago in August, Bridgewater told reporters Thursday.
“Its just great to be out there with the guys. I’ve been working in the doghouse, in the backyard, by myself,” Bridgewater said.
Everyday since the injury he’s been thinking about running out the tunnel and being suited in his no. 5 Vikings jersey, he said. Its what “motivated” him through the rehabilitation process, he said. He’s aware that this speedy recovery is nothing short of a miracle.
“For me to be standing right here talking about practicing yesterday, that just shows how good God is,” Bridgewater said.
With Vikings running a new offense under coordinator Pat Shurmur Bridgewater has been learning the new offense from the sidelines since last year when Shurmur took over for Norv Turner after his resignation. Even before being on the active roster this season, he’s been watching film and getting into his normal routine.
There’s one teammate who expressed how glad he is to see Bridgewater’s patented smiled again. That’s wide receiver Stefon Diggs. During Diggs rookie season in 2015 the two built chemistry together, with Diggs being the Vikings top receiver in catches and yards, helping Vikings win the NFC North division that season. In 13 games played, being a starter in nine, Diggs recorded 52 catches, 720 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
After seeing Bridgewater go down last season and comeback to practice Wednesday, its provided a lift, Diggs explained. Throughout the entire recovery process when Diggs did see Bridgewater he was positive and kept a smile on his face, Diggs said.
“If that doesn’t inspire you I don’t know what will,” Diggs said. “I’m just happy he’s back…hardworking man…he fits right in with the good guys we have in that room. He’s always been a good leader.”
The past two years Vikings faced adversity. Bridgewater went down to injury, Adrian Peterson was injured last year missing 13 games, head coach Mike Zimmer was going through eye surgeries missing time with the team, Turner resigned midway through the season and this year Sam Bradford has been battling a knee injury where backup Case Keenum has had to fill in for five games. Still, this season Vikings are first place in NFC North at 4-2.
“This team is probably some of the best guys I’ve been around when it comes to adversity,” Bridgewater said. “I’m proud of this team.”
Through his personal injury process Bridgewater has learned one thing about the NFL.
“Nobody is going to feel sorry for you,” he said.
Battling his way back on the field he’s throwing with more zip than he did before the injury as he’s done more upper body workouts to build his arm strength, he said. Now back on the practice field, Bridgewater is expecting to make his return in an NFL game this season.
“I definitely believe I’ll play this year,” Bridgewater said.
By Gino Terrell
Adrian Peterson receives NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor after his debut with Arizona Cardinals week six.
For the first time since 2012, Peterson’s MVP season, “All Day” has received a NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor. Week six in Arizona Peterson ignited what was the NFL’s worse rushing attacking prior to his arrival to an offense thriving off the run game where the passing attack could effectively run play actions. That week, Peterson had 26 carries rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns leading Cardinals to a 38-33 win.
Winning the honor reminds Peterson how far he’s come.
“When I was a young child [I wanted] to play in the NFL. Once I got this opportunity my mindset was to be the best to ever do it,” Peterson told reporters in London. “You have to have that mindset, ‘hey, put the ball in my hands and I’ll get it done.'”
During the post game press conferences head coach Bruce Arians, quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald all spoke of Peterson’s immediate impact.
“We blocked better but he (Peterson) made some guys miss and a couple times it looked like three but it was seven,” Arians said. “It opened up a lot of things down the field.”
Palmer had his highest completion percentage and quarterback rating of the season. He completed 81.8 percent of his passes, going 18 for 22, with 283 yards through the air with three touchdowns and one interception comprising a total quarterback rating 139.4.
“It was a great lift for us,” Palmer said of Peterson starting. The team saw eight guys in the box much more often, Palmer added.
One particular play Peterson’s presence helped the passing game was when Cardinals ran a play action, fooling the defense that Peterson was going to run, Palmer found Fitzgerald in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass. Fitzgerald finished the day with 10 catches, 138 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Accustomed to seeing Peterson’s impact on offense Fitzgerald is glad “All Day” is one of the birds now.
“You give him a little alley, you give him a little space and he’s going to do the rest,” Fitzgerald said of Peterson. “There’s a reason his nickname is ‘A.D.’ He’s an all-day performer.
“I wish he would have been here from the beginning. I [would have] had a Super Bowl ring already…his demeanor in the huddle, I think it’s reinvigorated everybody.”
Only three running backs in NFL history have more than Peterson’s eight Player of the Week honors, according to NFL.com. LaDainian Tomlinson and Barry Sanders with 11 and Emmitt Smith with 10.
New number, new city but the 32-year-old running back Adrian Peterson playing like he never left his prime. After getting traded by New Orleans Saints Tuesday, October 10, Peterson became an Arizona Cardinal. He was named the team’s starter and ran for more yards in his first half debut Sunday than the four games he played as a Saint.
“A.D.” rushed for 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns (99 in his career) helping Arizona Cardinals defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-34, Sunday. On the first drive he broke away for a 23-yard touchdown, his first since January 3, 2016 when Minnesota Vikings defeated Green Bay Packers to win the NFC North title the 2015 season.
It was a game where Peterson was finally given a fair opportunity to show he can still play and prove doubters wrong. One being Michael Rapaport who passed on advising fantasy football players to pick Peterson, during an NFL Network live Twitter session. Asked if Peterson would have a rebound game in his Cardinal debut, Rapaport tweeted “no.”
Before the trade Peterson saw limited actions from New Orleans Saints. On 27 carries he had 81 yards and with limited snaps he didn’t have a fair opportunity to get into a rhythm. Seeing more action from at half back was their 2016 starter Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara, who Saints head coach Sean Payton admitted he had a “man crush” on. With a crowded running back situation, coming off a week 5 bye week, they decided to trade Peterson. For Peterson, his prayers were answered.
After getting a text about the trade he turned on his television set, unsure if his text was just a rumor. While turning on his TV and checking social media he found out the breaking news was official.
“Thank you. Thank you Jesus. He answer prayers,” Peterson told reporters in his first press conference as a Cardinal Wednesday.
Joining the Cardinals he was happy to unite with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
“He’s a good friend of mine. We’re basically like family,” Peterson said. “It feels good to be here and have some friends as well to make the transition a lot smoother.”
Prior to Peterson’s arrival the team was known for having the worse run blocking in the league and were a bottom rushing team. All that was out the window when the team added a Hall of Farmer in the backfield. And Fitzgerald knew it from the start.
“He’ll be a great addition, a wonderful teammate. Obviously, he works his tail off,” Fitzgerald told reporters Thursday. “Hopefully, he’ll be the boost we need to start taking off.”
The plan for Peterson from the start was to feature him like he was in Minnesota, head coach Bruce Arians explained. The style of running was similar as it calls for a physical, downhill runner which is why Arians was happy with the trade.
I “felt like it was a good move for our team at this point in time,” Arians said. “The one thing about AP is he’s tough as nails.”
Cardinals (3-3) will take on division rival Los Angeles Rams (4-2) next Sunday.
By Gino Terrell
He’s not just making music, he’s starting a movement.
Minneapolis Hip-Hop artist Tory Vanz talks about his love for music, reveals his alter ego and how he’s a part of a musical movement. In a digital interview he goes 11 questions with Hidden Valley Culture.
Hidden Valley Culture: When did you first fall in love with hip-hop?
Tory Vanz: I fell in love with hip hop when my father taught me his raps and used me as a addlib for the track then it took me to freestyles at the lunch table with the homies.
Hi Va Cu: How did you get your rap name?
T.V.: It’s really my name lol but my alter ego is Zipaveli Austin the veli inspired by PAC
Hi Va Cu.: What the name of your movement? How many people are in it?
T.V.: “DOUBLE F” Family First is the movement kid that’s the name and don’t where it out n we deep it’s levels to this shit like any family I say I’m the head of the movement but it’s more of a conglomerate
Panthers regress in Thursday night’s loss.
Carolina Panthers lost NFC showdown to Philadelphia Eagles 28-23, Thursday. Committing three turnovers and getting only one on defense that was followed by a three-and-out didn’t help matters, head coach Ron Rivera said during the post game press conference. He was also not happy his team settled for three field goals.
“You can’t kick field goals and beat good teams,” Rivera said. “You can’t turn the ball over and not turn the ball away.”
Even after defensive lineman Julius Peppers recorded his 150th career sack, that wound up being a strip sack recovered by Panthers, the offense didn’t capitalize by scoring points. That combination has Rivera unsatisfied as Panthers drop to 4-2 when they had an opportunity at home to be the top NFC team that night.
“I think we’re in a good spot, we could have been in a better spot. We had some opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of it,” Rivera said.
A day after the game Rivera further explained in Friday’s press conference how the team will move forward.
Downhill running hasn’t been done the past few weeks with Panthers running backs going east and west, Rivera explained. Even when calling inside runs against the Eagles offensive lineman missing blocks led Panther half backs to run on the outside, Rivera said.
Rushing statistics for the running backs against the Eagles wasn’t to great: Christian McCaffrey four carries for eight yards, Fozzy Whittaker one carry for a loss of three and Jonathan Stewart eight carries for negative four yards.
Making up for them on the ground was Newton who took off 11 times for 71 yards including a touchdown. He nearly added another in the fourth quarter with an athletic attempt to dive and reach over the pile line.
Even with some offensive struggles against Eagles top notch defense Panthers were one to two plays away from winning, Rivera said.
“That’s how close this one was against a very good football team,” Rivera said.
One player he’s definitely proud of who’s exceeded his expectations is 37-year-old Peppers.
“The type of production he’s had has been tremendous,” Rivera said.
Peppers became the first player in NFL history to record 150 sacks with at least 10 interceptions.
Former NFL star on the gridiron Terrell “T.O.” Owens showed eloquence on the ballroom floor in a performance dedicated to his late grandmother.
It was an emotional night on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” Monday, October 9. Reminiscing about his performance on Monday night Owens was posting on social media Friday, October 13, reliving his preparation heading into his performance. One he dedicated to his “everything.” His grandmother who passed away in 2012.
If u missed #DWTS on Monday then u missed a treat. This is a night I’ll never ever forget. Thank you @cherylburke so so much, for making my “Most Memorable Year” night a night to remember. The song “I Have Nothing” by the lovely Whitney Houston says it all. Truly, without God and my grandmama I would have nothing. Thank you @dancingabc for allowing me to share my story with you and the millions that watched. #desire #dedication #discipline #family #prototype81 #hardwork #rehearsal #inspiration
“If u missed #DWTS on Monday then u missed a treat. This is a night I’ll never ever forget,” Owens posted on Instagram Friday. “Thank you @cherylburke so so much, for making my “Most Memorable Year” night a night to remember. The song “I Have Nothing” by the lovely Whitney Houston says it all. Truly, without God and my grandmama I would have nothing. Thank you @dancingabc for allowing me to share my story with you and the millions that watched.”
During the episode he talked about being raised by his grandmother Alice when his father wasn’t around. He also talked about her diagnosis with dementia during his NFL rookie season in 1996 which was difficult as she was a very important figure in his life.
“She was literally like my grandmother, my mom and my dad,” Owens said of Alice on the show.
In 2012, the year he picked as his “Most Memorable Year” for the episode’s theme, he knew her time was coming to a close.
“I know she loved me so everything I did, throughout my career…it was for her. It was for my family,”Owens said. “My grandmama was my inspiration, my motivation. The person I am today is because of her.”
After performing the Viennese Waltz Owens poured tears afterwards thinking of his grandmother throughout the performance. The performance turned out to be the performance of his life and he received his highest score of the season.
“Your grandmother was right. You keep showing up and you have struggled through this process. I’ve watched you. I know this hasn’t been easy for you,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said. “Tonight I saw poise, I saw a new found eloquence. There was a reverence to the dance and to the situation that I never seen and it elevated everything you did in front of us.”
The night of the performance he thanked his professional dance partner, Cheryl Burke.
“Thank you @cherylburke for making this such a special night not only for me but my family. We truly thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I think she would have been proud of me tonight,” Owens posted on Instagram.
By Gino Terrell
Contract situation resolved, time to ball.
Andrew Wiggins signed a max contract extension with Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday, October 11. The five year extension is worth $148 million for the player acquired via trade two months after getting drafted first overall by Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014. His rookie season he won NBA Rookie of the Year, NBA Rising Stars Challenge MVP and named on NBA All-Rookie First team in 2015. His third NBA season, playing all 82 games, he put up career highs in points per game (23.6), rebounds (4) and assists (2.3).
“I’m pleased that we’ve reached an agreement with Andrew on a contract extension,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said, according to Timberwolves.com. “Andrew is one of the best young players in the NBA and he has the talent and work ethic to get even better and be a foundation for our franchise for many years.”
For Wiggins, the moment he signed the contract was a dream come true.
“I’ve been looking forward to this my whole life,” Wiggins said during Wednesday’s press conference. “Its a relief. That’s money that a lot of people don’t see in a lifetime…that’s a blessing.”
Looking forward to playing for the loyal organization that gave him his first opportunity to play in the NBA his goal now is making the playoffs, Wiggins explained. Timberwolves currently have the longest active postseason drought in the NBA with their last appearance the 2004-05 season when Kevin Garnett won league MVP.
To get there will take a group of players who will play for each other, head coach Tom Thibodeau said.
“When you have a team like we have everyone has to sacrifice and put the team first,” Thibodeau said.
Knowing he’s getting that from Wiggins there’s another trait Thibodeau says he admires about him.
“He’s never satisfied and he wants to get better…he’s always done that to make the progress that he’s already showing,” he said. “The drive, the intelligence and obviously…a lot of talent to achieve. Those characteristics are important and they embody winners.”
His practice and preparation will allow Wiggins to reach his potential, he said.
Seeing more double teams on pick and rolls and during post up situations were new challenges Wiggins faced last season, Thibodeau said. With teams taking an aggressive approach in attempt to limit Wiggins production from the tip-off, as oppose to waiting to see if he gets hot, these are things Wiggins will learn to deal with over time, Thibodeau said. Understanding Wiggins is willing to put in the work Thibodeau, as Timberwovles President of Basketball Operations, is satisfied with giving Wiggins a max contract.
“He’s sort of low-key but I know the fire,” Thibodeau said. “We’re very excited to have him. He has a unique skill set, he can score the ball in many different ways.”
Heading into this season Timberwolves were aggressive to bring in talent to support and compliment both young players in Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, who was named NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 2016. Doing such they acquired Jimmy Butler via trade on NBA Draft night, traded for a new point guard in Jeff Teague, signed Taj Gibson in free agency and signed longtime veteran Jamal Crawford to contribute as a role player off the bench.
“How we surround Andrew and Karl, that’s important,” Thibodeau said. “We want to continue to add players.”
What’s made Minnesota a destination is the young roster. Having back-to-back NBA Rookie of the Year winners in Towns and Wiggins has certainty helped.
“When you look at the West there’s not going to be any easy games,” Thibodeau said.
Minnesota Timberwolves will open their season against San Antonio Spurs, a team coming off a season they reached the Western Conference Finals.
By Gino Terrell