The Vikings have announced that head coach Mike Zimmer won’t be available for Thursday’s game against the Cowboys.Rick Spielman says that Coach Zimmer will not coach tonight and Mike Priefer will fill in as the interim. pic.twitter.com/xnFUcYUWxb— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 1, 2016Instead, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will take over head coaching duties. “We have the utmost confidence in Mike Priefer that he will be able to handle the interim responsibilities,” general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement. “We are taking it one day at a time. We want to get through tonight’s game and then tomorrow we will reassess where we’re at.” Zimmer had “emergency eye surgery” Wednesday night, although no further details were provided by the team. Zimmer had surgery on Nov. 1 to repair a torn retina in his right eye, which was scratched during Minnesota’s 20-10 loss to the Chicago Bears on Halloween. He was told by doctors to take care of the eye quickly and had a follow-up procedure a week later. But instead of taking time off, Zimmer was back at the team facility the next day and was squinting while facing bright lights during a press conference, according to ESPN.”It’s back to work, back to the grind,” Zimmer said when asked if he took any time to recover from surgery. The injuries have piled up this season for the Vikings, most notably to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, running back Adrian Peterson and tackles Matt Kalil, Andre Smith and Jake Long. The Vikings started the season 5-0 before losing four straight and five of their last six.
The Raiders have already clinched a playoff berth, but now they have lost starting quarterback Derek Carr.The third-year pro was helped off the field in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against the Colts. Carr left the game after being sacked by Colts linebacker Trent Cole, who spun Carr around. Carr was trying to scramble away from pressure and Cole grabbed him from behind and twisted him to the turf. Carr grabbed the back of his thigh and motioned to the sideline. Carr suffered a broken right fibula, coach Jack Del Rio announced after the game. His season is over, and he was scheduled to undergo surgery Sunday.Here’s that sack and injury to Derek Carr. That ankle is not supposed to bend that way. #Raiders pic.twitter.com/1pXAD02PlI— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) December 24, 2016???? Derek Carr saying “it’s broke”? #RaiderNation #Raiders #OAKvsIND pic.twitter.com/707b9Pvsul— The Fanatics View (@thefanaticsview) December 24, 2016After being assisted off the field, Carr was placed onto a cart and left the Oakland Coliseum, according to CSN Bay Area.First Marcus Mariota now Derek Carr. Ugh. pic.twitter.com/Oh98O7CPM4— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 24, 2016Cole’s sack was the first allowed by the Raiders, who held a 33-14 lead at the time of the injury. Carr was 20 of 28 for 228 yards and three touchdowns. He was replaced by Matt McGloin at quarterback.Oakland held on to win, 33-25.The Raiders last week had clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2002, but they go into the postseason without their MVP-caliber quarterback. The Raiders (12-3) are battling the Chiefs (10-4) for the AFC West title, which would likely come with a first-round bye. This article has been updated with Del Rio’s postgame comments. It was also corrected; Carr will undergo surgery Sunday.
Wayne Rooney has left his boyhood club Everton to join Major League Soccer side DC United, less than 12 months after he returned to Goodison Park.The striker, who remains England and Manchester United’s all-time leading scorer, finished the 2017-18 campaign as the Toffees’ leading marksman and the only Everton player to reach double figures in the Premier League.Here FP looks at some of Rooney’s career in numbers.119 – Appearances for England, making him the Three Lions’ most capped outfield player of all time.53 – International goals, making him the top-scoring England player of all time.253 – Number of goals that Rooney bagged in a Manchester United shirt to make him the club’s all-time leading scorer.208 – Rooney’s haul of Premier League goals across his career. Only Alan Shearer, with 260, has scored more.27 – The highest tally of goals scored by Rooney in a single Premier League season (2011-12) and also the number of penalties he converted for Manchester United.17 – Despite reaching double figures for Everton’s season, the 32-year-old went without a goal in his final 17 appearances in all competitions after scoring against Swansea before Christmas.10 – Top-flight goals Rooney managed in his final season with the Toffees. The striker has managed double figures in 12 Premier League seasons.16 – Rooney was 16 years and 360 days old when he netted his first Premier League goal in October 2002 to help Everton beat Arsenal, making him the youngest Premier League goalscorer at the time.12 – Number of major honours he won with the Red Devils (five Premier League titles, three League Cups, one FA Cup, one Champions League title, one Europa League win and one FIFA Club World Cup).5 – The lowest number of Premier League goals Rooney netted in a single league campaign (2016-17).
Marco Silva has defended under-fire winger Theo Walcott but the Everton manager warned that Ademola Lookman is hot on his heels.Walcott came in for a verbal volley from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for not tracking back before Manchester United’s second goal in last week’s defeat, with stand-in captain Seamus Coleman also joining the conversation.Silva denied the pair had a go at the former England international, but the manager suggested that Lookman is knocking on the door for a first Premier League start of the season.“For sure Jordan and Coleman they didn’t do that,” said the Toffees boss ahead of the visit of Brighton. “In a moment Jordan can be commanding but they are team-mates, they are a team.“Of course it is what I want, everyone speaking to help each other, sometimes to command to improve some position or some behaviour, never to criticise.“When you do the good things you do it all together as a team and when you don’t do it, it will be the same.“We should do better in that game but that is football. I don’t have anything to say about our players. I’ve seen the commitment to our work.”After a slow start to the campaign Lookman is getting up to speed again and could be a threat off either flank.“He is pushing, pushing not just Theo but Theo and Bernard because of the way he is working now but it is the same thing I want in other positions as well,” added Silva.The Everton manager looks like continuing his plan to play winger Richarlison as a central striker, even though he accepts the Brazil international has work to do.“Some things to improve, that is normal,” he said. “It’s not a new position to him but something he didn’t do often in the last two seasons. He is now doing it more often.“He can give important things for us, different to Cenk (Tosun) and Dominic (Calvert-Lewin). He is doing well, his attitude and behaviour is an example to everyone.”Silva will resist the temptation to give summer signing Yerry Mina his debut this weekend, even though he knows on-loan centre-back Kurt Zouma will not be available against parent club Chelsea next weekend.“Mina is ready to play. I know how he is working but in our minds we have to stay on one game, the Brighton game nothing more,” he added.“We don’t think about Chelsea. All our ambition is tomorrow’s match.“We have a friendly match next week (against Kenyan side Gor Mahia on Tuesday) and it could be a good solution.”Silva will be without defenders Phil Jagielka and Jonjoe Kenny this weekend due to minor injuries but the pair will return to training next week.
DAVIE, Fla. — The “We Want Moore” chants echoed through Hard Rock Stadium from a fan base that wanted no more of its starting quarterback.Ryan Tannehill looked as bad as his 1-4 Dolphins. A middling performance in a loss in Cincinnati was being followed by humiliation from an opponent that won a mere two games the previous season. The booing and verbal abuse grew louder. Tannehill threw two interceptions and was sacked six more times atop the five suffered vs. the Bengals. In the fourth quarter of that 30-17 loss to Tennessee, the new “quarterback-whisper” head coach heard the cries for veteran backup Matt Moore to replace Tannehill. Like he did with Jay Cutler in Chicago, Adam Gase was hired largely to “fix” Tannehill and mold him into the franchise passer Dolphins brass projected when signing him to a six-year, $92.5 million contract extension in the 2015 offseason.Still, Gase wasn’t the head coach when Miami drafted Tannehill in 2012 (Joe Philbin was). Gase wasn’t beholden to keep playing Tannehill if he, like many fans and a rising number of media members (including yours truly), were to lose faith and/or want to see Moore get a shot.The thought of making that move never crossed his mind. The negativity further galvanized the bond Tannehill and Gase were building. To reinforce his support, Gase came to Tannehill on the sideline and told him not to listen to the outside noise. That Tannehill was still “his guy.”The Dolphins haven’t lost since.“Having him here and his support when things weren’t going well was huge,” Tannehill told co-host Gil Brandt and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “His whole mindset is just to stay the course and keep working to get better. That’s what we’ve been doing myself and team as a whole.”Miami (7-4) takes a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s game at Baltimore (6-5). During that stretch, Tannehill has thrown nine touchdowns and just one interception. He also orchestrated a clutch game-winning drive against the vaunted Los Angeles defense during a Week 11 road comeback.Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert believes those results and Gase’s unsolicited confidence boost go hand-in-hand.“Coach Gase has helped him a lot,” Albert told Sporting News. “We still believed in him even through the rough patches, but the fact coach kept believing in him empowered (Tannehill) through the mistakes we made earlier in the season.”Dolphins safety/special-teams ace Michael Thomas also sees a more self-assured Tannehill. Evidence comes in practice.During one of many embarrassing moment last season, word leaked that Tannehill threw a hissy-fit after being intercepted by a scout-team defender. He demeaned the practice squad in a demonstration some teammates viewed as elitism.The new Tannehill is closer personally with his teammates without having lost his perfectionist approach.“He’s making sure everybody is doing what they’re supposed to do,” Thomas told Brandt and me. “If a play is not run right — even if a scout-team player is not where he needs to be or giving the right look — he’ll restart a play and make sure everybody gets lined back up and does everything right. That’s been translating to the games.”There are other reasons besides Tannehill for Miami’s offense resurgence: a healthier offensive line, the emergence of running back Jay Ajayi (730 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the past six games) and growing production of a talented young receiving corps featuring Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. There also is something to be said for everyone becoming more comfortable operating Miami’s third different offensive system in four seasons.But the collective growth began with another Gase motivational tactic.As the Dolphins started preparations to host Pittsburgh following the Titans loss, Gase stood in a team meeting and asked his players a question: Who’s going to get all the blame if Miami loses again?He was met with silence. Everyone already knew it was Tannehill whether justified or not.Gase spelled that out anyway. He then reiterated that Tannehill was remaining the starter and everyone was going to improve.How much the words hit home was evident when Miami cooled a then-hot Steelers squad with a 30-15 win. “One of (Gase’s) biggest assets is his ability to teach, to relate to players and communicate the offense in a way that the guys understand,” Tannehill said. “People can really buy in and believe what he’s saying because it’s from the heart.”Tannehill would know that better than anyone.Alex Marvez can be heard from 9 a.m. to noon ET Sunday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Sheffield Wednesday’s interim manager Lee Bullen highlighted his two wingers as the stars in their 2-0 win over local rivals Barnsley.The Owls were gifted the chance to take the lead inside two minutes. Cameron McGeehan’s misplaced pass found its way to Kadeem Harris whose initial shot was blocked only to fall for debutant Jacob Murphy who calmly slotted the ball home for his and Wednesday’s dream start.Steven Fletcher wrapped it up after an hour when Kieran Lee’s square pass fell to him and he dropped a shoulder to create space before striking a fine effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.Bullen said: “We set out a game plan and we stuck to it right to the very last seconds of the game. We watched Barnsley last week against Fulham and they pressed Fulham to death.“So, we thought our game plan was to do the same today. I felt the players did that to a tee. The easy option when you get your second goal is to sit back and just soak up the pressure.“But we put our substitutes on who had a magnificent effect on the game as well and just gave us the energy we needed. If you’re being greedy, we could have scored one or two more with the opportunities we had.“We’ve got 11 players who were excellent but if we are going to focus on the two wide men, they gave them a lot of trouble all day.“It might be old fashioned that I play wingers who want the ball and stay wide but they’re out-and-out wingers, so we want them to do the natural thing. I want to keep the game simple.”Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel said: “I’m more upset with the performance. We need to congratulate Sheffield Wednesday for the deserved victory. We didn’t play as well as we can play.“It wasn’t the best start from us, conceding in the first minute in our first away game but Wednesday played a simple but effective game.“Normally we can play so much quicker when we win the ball, but we didn’t have a chance today to use our counter-attack and we lacked conviction.“I think it was more about the lack of experience in this game. We haven’t got many players with experience in the Championship.“We signed players with no experience in the league and no experience in English football. This is the risk we took but it’s only one defeat.“We have so much more to show but it’s a big lesson. They want to learn and sometimes it’s hard when you lose but it’s the best experience to learn.”
Before Friday, the format of The Associated Press’ annual NFL All-Pro roster was outdated.The fact that the roster has been “revamped” is great news for nickel cornerbacks, tight ends, edge rushers and special-teams players, among others. The AP announced the changes “in an effort to more accurately reflect the way teams deploy their players.”Here are the format changes, which go into effect immediately, for each of the three phases of football, via the AP’s release.Offense— “Linemen will now be voted for by specific position: left tackle, left guard, etc.”— “There will be only one running back on the All-Pro team, but we are adding a flex player (running back, fullback, tight end or wide receiver, voter’s choice). The flex player is designed to recognize the frequency of three receiver sets or the use of two tight ends.”The All-Pro roster previously included only “tackle,” “guard” and “center” designations for offensive linemen. It also included “halfback” and “fullback” designations, which are replaced by “running back” and “flex.”Defense— “The AP is adding a defensive back (DB) designation for the secondary. This is to recognize the importance of the slot cornerback in today’s defenses. The DB can be a safety or a cornerback; the idea is to reward defensive backs who cover slot receivers.”— “We also are changing the listing of positions on the front seven to two edge rushers (basically 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers), two interior defensive linemen (basically 3-4 DEs, nose tackles and 4-3 defensive tackles), and three linebackers.”The All-Pro roster previously included only “cornerback” and “safety” designations for defensive backs. It also included only “defensive end” and “defensive tackle” designations for defensive linemen, and “outside linebacker” and “inside linebacker” designations for linebackers. Special teams— “A punt returner and a special teams player (non-returners) have been added to kickoff returner, placekicker and punter.”The All-Pro roster previously included only “kicker,” “punter” and “kick returner” designations for special teams.
Sri Lanka struggled to post 193 in the first ODI against South Africa in Dambulla on Sunday after South African bowlers found their rhythm following a disappointing Test series. Kusal Perera hit an enterprising 81 while all-rounder Thisara Perera made 49 to rescue the Sri Lankan innings, which was tottering at 36-5. Pace ace Kagiso Rabada rattled the top order and finished with superb figures of 4-41 while left arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi picked up 4-33 as Sri Lanka were bowled out in just 34.3 overs. Excellent innings of 81 by KJP. Kusal Perera should continue to bat at No 4 in ODIs with Mendis at 3, Mathews at 5 & Asela at 6. #SLvSA #LKA— Daniel Alexander (@daniel86cricket) July 29, 2018RelatedUncertain times ahead for South Africa as Vernon Philander prepares for final hurrahShahid Afridi urges Pakistan’s players to take more responsibility in Misbah-ul-Haq eraIt was not the kind of effort Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews wanted after he decided to bat first after winning the toss. The Islanders, who won swept the Test series 2-0, were looking at getting their team combination right for next year’s World Cup.“We have the (2019) World Cup at the back of the mind for sure, so we’ll try a few combinations,” Mathews was quoted as saying by AFP at the toss. “We’re good to go and I’m looking forward to it.”
The Rams fired Jeff Fisher with three games left in the regular season … and with Fisher tied with Dan Reeves (who went to four Super Bowls) for the most coaching losses in NFL history.The timing seemed odd for a couple reasons. Owner Stan Kroenke had to know that dubious distinction was hanging over Fisher’s head, and it might haunt him forever if he never coaches again. Assuming he won’t, that is, although Fisher clearly is the NFL’s Rasputin. Yet Kroenke also could have never let Fisher get that close … by getting rid of him and his career of mediocrity and just getting by before now. As a bonus, the Eric Dickerson feud, the snub to Les Snead, the Hall of Fame-level finger-pointing, the slap from his star player about the “middle-school offense,” the forgetting who plays for the Patriots … they all could have been avoided, too.Here are five times the Rams could have relieved him of his duties, and themselves of his burden, when he was just as deserving. The Rams were coming off their post-London bye and playing the defending NFC champs, who were in free-fall at 2-5. Fisher had insisted on keeping Case Keenum as the starting quarterback. Todd Gurley, badly underused before the bye, carried only 12 times, with Keenum throwing 46 times. At home, they were shut out for three quarters and didn’t score a touchdown until 34 seconds to go. A national and international embarrassment, with Keenum throwing four interceptions and the offense grinding to a halt again. Fisher not only immediately insisted Keenum was keeping the job over rookie Jared Goff, but he also said he’d rather bench his receivers than his quarterback (which his receivers must have been bursting with joy to hear). The first official game back as the Los Angeles Rams, on Monday Night Football, and with additional support from fans offended by then-backup Colin Kaepernick’s sideline protests. Until the throttling by the Falcons in Fisher’s last game, this was the Rams’ most embarrassing performance, and many knew it in the moment, not in hindsight. The 49ers have not won a game since. When the move to Los Angeles became official last January, Kroenke touted stability and continuity in keeping Fisher. It would be even more important later when they traded for the rights to Goff as the first pick in the draft. They could have made a clean break with the coach who never led them to a winning record or a playoff appearance in their old home, and they could have given the returning players and the new franchise cornerstone a fresh look and voice. They chose not to. Everybody had a feeling at season’s end that the Rams wouldn’t be back in St. Louis. Everybody also wondered why Fisher should be back after, yes, a 7-9 season — which had begun with fairly high hopes. The haul from the lauded Robert Griffin III trade was supposed to pay off. Fisher was supposed to have his quarterback in place after trading Sam Bradford for Nick Foles. With the 49ers’ decline, the Rams seemed poised to capitalize. The Cardinals did, instead, and the Rams’ season ended by losing to, of course, the 49ers.
Wilfried Zaha has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave the club this summer. That was the headline in the summer of 2017, 2018 and now 2019. The Eagles are no strangers to speculation regarding the future of their star man given they strategically safeguarded his value with a new five-year deal with him last summer. However, the issue facing Zaha is not that he’s been locked down by the club, but rather where does he go to in search of Champions League football? The 26-year-old is entering his prime and is enjoying the best football of his career.Having expressed a desire to play in Europe’s top competition it’s unlikely he’ll remain in red and blue next season.RelatedWATCH: ‘Lack of energy,’ says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Manchester United draw with WolvesQuique Setien’s Barcelona must find balance between possession and verticalitySince returning to South London from his disastrous spell at Manchester United in 2015, the winger has been crucial in keeping the Eagles in the top flight, scoring or assisting 63 goals in 145 games for the club.Never before has a Premier League team relied so heavily on a single player. That might sound harsh on the rest of the squad, which over the years has featured the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, yet the Eagles hadn’t won a single point in the league, stretching over two-seasons, without their star man until last December’s victory over Leicester City.It’s no real surprise Zaha wants to leave his hometown club, with Palace never finishing higher than 10th and equalling their record points haul in 2018/19 with 49 accrued.Palace Chairman Steve Parish is reportedly understanding of his prized asset’s desire to play Champions League football, and while he’s not exactly standing in the player’s way, he’s unwilling to listen to offers below £100 million.That valuation exceeds pretty much every club’s estimations of Zaha, other than the Eagle’s – to whom selling him could be the difference between Premier League and Championship football.Zaha has scored 10 goals for the first time in a single season.This season he hit 10 goals for this first time in his career along with five assists. He also registered more shots (73) and more passes (1,006) than in any of his previous seasons and his skill on the ball has made him one of the most fouled players in Europe.If evidence is require of the player Zaha how grown into, then look at his performance against Liverpool in January.James Milner was terrorised at right-back and he was eventually sent off for two reckless fouls on Zaha. Jurgen Klopp hailed him as “world class”.Similarly, Pep Guardiola admitted he, too is a fan of the winger, but despite the high-praise, both Manchester City and Liverpool are well stocked in attacking areas and unlikely to sign a player of Zaha’s ilk.In England, that leaves potentially Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham as possible destinations.The Gunners are among those strongly linked with the Ivory Coast international with cash-plus-player(s) deal reportedly being proposed.That would of course hinge on their success in the Europa League final but no doubt the prospect of him linking up with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette entices.Elsewhere, Chelsea may not even be in a position to sign any players given their two-window transfer ban.And so that leaves Spurs. Zaha has the right profile for Mauricio Pochettino’s outfit but the problem for them, given they’ve only just moved into their new £1 billion stadium, is cost.The club had a self-imposed transfer window ban in 2018/19 and didn’t sign a single player so the idea of them meeting the asking price for Zaha is unlikely.Perhaps, Manchester United is an option having previously work with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during his 2014 loan spell at Cardiff, the pair know each other well.Zaha’s signature could be the start of a new era at Old Trafford as United look to rebuild a squad that finished a whopping 32 points behind champions Manchester City.Yet, issues emerge here. United have agreed personal terms with Swansea winger Daniel James adding the Wales international to Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford to their wing corps.Not to mention Zaha himself describing his first-spell at United as “hell”. Moving abroad is an option but then his asking price and wages, his deal which runs until 2023 is worth £130,000 per week, limits his destinations.Zaha thrives as star of the show and at Selhurst Park he’s been allowed the freedom to roam and try things on the ball without teammates, or indeed the crowd getting on his back – would he be afforded such luxury away from his boyhood club? Probably not.Does he need to leave Palace to fulfil his potential? No question. A player of his ability deserves to be playing at the highest level and having helped the Eagles reach the Premier League, let alone stay in it, fans wouldn’t begrudge their star man a move to a bigger club.Despite signing on the dotted line and telling fans he’s, “All Palace” less than twelve months ago, it’s clear this Eagle is ready to spread his wings… he just needs to find somewhere to fly.