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Ramblings... 07/22/2014

by Dan Gunderson

Local - Taylor Braun, TrayVonn Wright Sign Pro Deals

Think about this for just a second. North Dakota State University, which is located in a town more known for a movie that never took place in said town, has produced eight pro players in two sports in the last year.

You have Brock Jensen (Miami Dolphins), Sam Ojuri (Hamilton Tigers), Ryan Smith (Saskatchewan Roughriders), Bryan Shepherd (Washington), Billy Turner (Miami Dolphins) and Marcus Williams (Houston Texans) from the football team.

Now, add Taylor Braun and TrayVonn Wright from the basketball team to that list. Both players signed deals to play overseas next season. Braun will play forOkapi Aalstar in Belgium while Wright will play forWBC Raiffeisen Wels in Austria.

Now, while this is nowhere near the amount of pro players the University of North Dakota hockey program can churn out in a year, it is still impressive enough to know two programs have produced this much pro talent in one year.

Regional - Minnesota Vikings Training Camp Starts

While the Vikings don't report to training camp until Thursday, July 24, fans in the area are ready for football season. The Vikings could be looked at a team that could potentially sneak out eight wins this season, if they played in a weaker division.

Unfortunately, they play in the offensive juggernaut division called the NFC North. Playing the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers six times a year is not easy, especially when your defense gives up a league worse 480 points.

So, Vikings fans are more interested to see when new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will get his first start in the NFL. This is where training camp will be important for Bridgewater. If he impresses in August, he may play meaningful games in September.

I don't think the Vikings have any aspirations of him being their Week 1 starter. I do think they believe Bridgewater will start at some point this year. My best guess? Week 9. The Vikings will have a home game that week against Washington and a bye right after.

National - Tony Dungy Speaks, People Freak Out

Tony Dungy told the Tampa Tribune that he would not have drafted Michael Sam if he were still coaching in the NFL. He wouldn't have wanted the distraction. Michael Sam is the first openly gay football player to be drafted into the NFL.

So, because of the fact that Sam is a trailblazer for homosexual athletes in most sports, not just football, people feel the need to defend him to anybody who dare have an opinion.

Dungy's opinion, some would venture to guess, is based on religious beliefs. Dungy is a Christian and has shown his support for those who oppose gay marriage. I don't think he has ever said that gay athletes shouldn't be allowed in the NFL.

That's the key here. Nowhere in this article, is he quoted as saying, "I don't like gays. I think they are bad for the game and I wouldn't want them in the NFL." He is just saying that Sam wouldn't have wanted to deal with all of it.

Sam, no doubt, will garner a lot of media attention if he makes the St. Louis Rams, the NFL team that drafted him in the seventh round. He should. It would be a landmark day for gay athletes everywhere. It also could rub the other 50 or so players that make the team the wrong way.

It could cause a rift between certain players, dividing a team locker rooms. All coaches could handle these things, but if given the choice, most would rather not. Dungy saying that he would rather not handle all that comes with it.

Why is that so horrible? What if he had said the same thing about Johnny Manziel? Would everybody wanted to tear him from limb to limb because he felt as if Manziel was a distraction? No.

Michael Sam is a big deal for the NFL but that doesn't mean that EVERYBODY has to want him on their team. Or would want the attention that goes with him. Relax.

You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly sports talk show on 740 The Fan and 740thefan.com called Fan Sports Saturday from 8-10 a.m. Pinto is a radio producer and talk show host within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.