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Vikings were prepared to pick Justin Fields before Bears trade-up to select him in 2021 NFL Draft

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ESPN's Dan Orlovsky shares information on why Justin Fields is seemingly sliding down NFL draft boards

Justin Fields was very close to ending up with a different NFC North team.

The Bears made the biggest splash during the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, moving up nine spots to grab the sliding Ohio State QB 11th overall. They sent the Giants a future first-round pick and more to secure the pick.

But the Bears didn’t just take Fields for themselves — they kept the uber-talented passer away from a division rival. Per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, the Vikings were ready to select Fields with the No. 14 overall pick, but the Bears’ massive move up to No. 11 stunned Minnesota and left the team without an immediate QB selection in that spot.

The Vikings made several attempts to trade up, per Cronin, but no teams bit. Cronin reports that the Vikings were high on tackle Rashawn Slater (he went No. 13 to the Chargers) and eventually accepted a move back to No. 23, trading down with the Jets after Slater was off the board.

MORE: NFL Draft grades — How did Vikings fare?

The Jets would select USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker at No. 14, while the Vikings would select Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw at No. 23. Minnesota would later use one of the third-round picks sent from the Jets to select Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond. 

The Vikings weren’t “desperate” enough to move up to select Fields, per Cronin, but would have had a set succession plan in place after incumbent QB Kirk Cousins’ departure. Instead, they hung back and selected Mond.

Minnesota brass had let Cousins know that they were looking to select a quarterback in the draft, as to not blindside him.

The Vikings, though, will now have to face Fields twice a year instead. Here’s to hoping the decision not to trade up doesn’t come back to bite them.

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Jaguars’ Travis Etienne to work out at receiver in rookie minicamp

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Jaguars' Travis Etienne to work out at receiver in rookie minicamp

The Urban Meyer experiment continues to produce interesting results in Jacksonville.

The first-year Jaguars coach told reporters on Saturday that Travis Etienne — the second running back taken off the board and No. 25 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft — will take all of his rookie minicamp reps as a receiver.

From NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:

MORE: 2021 NFL Draft grades, from best (Dolphins) to worst (Raiders)

That’s certainly one way to work your rookie into the offense.

While it’s not unheard of for players to change positions once they reach the NFL, it does seem a little strange that it would happen with Etienne, considering his track record of success as a running back. To be fair, he consistently demonstrated excellent pass-catching ability while at Clemson, totaling 102 receptions for 1,155 yards (11.3 yards per catch) and eight receiving touchdowns.

Moreover, Etienne was among college football’s best pass-catching running backs for the 2020 season, per Pro Football Focus. He caught 48 passes for 588 yards — both single-season highs — and two touchdowns. That might work to his favor with the Jaguars, as former Clemson star and No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence will still be his quarterback in Jacksonville.

That said, Etienne’s pass-catching ability makes him a dual threat as a running back; it doesn’t guarantee a successful transition to a full-time wide receiver. It’s unclear whether Meyer considered changing Etienne’s position (5-10, 215 pounds) when he drafted him, but that could have been the case considering James Robinson (1,070 yards, seven touchdowns in 2020) was so effective as an undrafted rookie.

One thing you can say about the move: It’s making people talk. Add Tim Tebow and Meyer’s coaching decisions to the mix, and the Jaguars are one of the most interesting teams of the 2021 NFL offseason.

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NBA playoff scenarios 2021: Updated playoff picture, seeds ahead of play-in tournament, first round

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NBA playoff scenarios 2021: Updated playoff picture, seeds ahead of play-in tournament, first round

What do we know about the NBA playoff seedings with just two days remaining in the 2020-21 regular season? Well, not much.

After Friday night’s slate of games, only the 76ers, Celtics and Spurs know exactly where they stand. Philadelphia has clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, while Boston (No. 7 in the East) and San Antonio (No. 10 in the West) have locked in their spots for the play-in tournaments.

NBA STANDINGS: Seeding scenarios, breakdown for playoff spots

With teams still jockeying for position, here is a breakdown of the clinching scenarios for Saturday’s games along with the possible seedings in each conference.

NBA playoff scenarios 2021

Eastern Conference

1. 76ers
2. Nets or Bucks
3. Nets or Bucks
4. Hawks, Heat or Knicks
5. Hawks, Heat or Knicks
6. Hawks, Heat or Knicks
———————————
7. Celtics
8. Hornets, Pacers or Wizards
9. Hornets, Pacers or Wizards
10. Hornets, Pacers or Wizards

  • The Hawks clinch the Southeast Division title with a loss by the Heat.

Western Conference

1. Jazz or Suns
2. Jazz or Suns
3. Nuggets or Clippers
4. Nuggets or Clippers
5. Mavericks or Trail Blazers
6. Mavericks, Trail Blazers or Lakers
—————————
7. Trail Blazers or Lakers
8. Warriors or Grizzlies
9. Warriors or Grizzlies
10. Spurs

  • The Trail Blazers clinch a playoff spot with a loss by the Lakers.
  • The Jazz clinch the best record in the West with a loss by the Suns.

NBA standings 2021: Eastern Conference

Seed Team Record Games back
1. 76ers* 48-23
2. Nets* 46-24 1.5
3. Bucks* 45-25 2.5
4. Hawks* 40-31 8
5. Heat* 39-31 8.5
6. Knicks* 39-31 8.5
7. Celtics** 35-35 12.5
8. Hornets** 33-37 14.5
9. Pacers** 33-37 14.5
10. Wizards** 33-38 15
Bulls 30-40 17.5
Raptors 27-44 21
Cavaliers 22-49 26
Magic 21-50 27
Pistons 20-51 28

*clinched playoff berth
**clinched play-in berth
Eliminated from playoff contention: Bulls, Cavaliers, Magic, Pistons, Raptors

NBA standings 2021: Western Conference

Seed Team Record Games back
1. Jazz* 51-20
2. Suns* 49-21 1.5
3. Nuggets* 47-24 4
4. Clippers* 47-24 4
5. Mavericks* 42-29 9
6. Trail Blazers 41-30 10
7. Lakers 40-30 10.5
8. Warriors** 38-33 13
9. Grizzlies** 38-33 13
10. Spurs** 33-37 17.5
Pelicans 31-40 20
Kings 31-40 20
Timberwolves 22-48 28.5
Thunder 21-50 30
Rockets 17-54 34

*clinched playoff berth
**clinched play-in berth

Eliminated from playoff contention: Kings, Pelicans, Rockets, Thunder, Timberwolves

NBA playoff bracket 2021

(NBA)

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Preakness live race updates, results, highlights from 2021 Triple Crown race

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Preakness live race updates, results, highlights from 2021 Triple Crown race

Two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, the second leg of the Triple Crown Race is here.

The 2021 Preakness Stakes has even more intrigue this year because of the controversy surrounding Medina Spirit, winner of the Derby. A test result from after the race found the horse to have 21 picograms of betamethasone, 11 more than the legal race limit. Trainer Bob Baffert insists that the positive test wasn’t a result of drugging, calling Churchill Downs’ decision to invalidate the horse’s win — pending a second positive test — “an injustice.”

Adding to the controversy: Mandaloun, the runner-up from the Derby, will be retroactively deemed the winner at Churchill Downs should a second test confirm the first. But Mandaloun will not run at the Pimlico Race Course. So we could have a scenario in which Medina Spirit wins the race without being in the official running for the Triple Crown.

All the more reason to watch Saturday’s spectacle. Follow along as Sporting News provides live updates during the 2021 Preakness Stakes.

MORE: Payout breakdown for 2021 Preakness Stakes

Preakness Stakes finish order

This section will be updated with final race results.

Post position Horse Win Place Show
1 Medina Spirit      
2 Mandaloun      
3 Hot Rod Charlie      
4 Essential Quality      
5 O Besos      
6 Midnight Bourbon      
7 Keepmeinmind      
8 Helium      
9 Known Agenda      
10 Highly Motivated      

Watch the 2021 Preakness Stakes

This section will be updated.

Preakness Stakes live updates, highlights, results

All times Eastern

2:49 p.m.: For those curious to see how Medina Spirit will perform in today’s race:

2:23 p.m.: And winner of Race No. 7 at the Preakness: Mischief Afoot.

2:16 p.m.:Your winner for the 2021 Gallorette Stakes: Mean Mary!

2021 Preakness Stakes post time

Coverage of the 2021 Preakness Stakes will begin at 2 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. NBC will take over coverage at 5 p.m. ahead of the race’s scheduled post time of 6:50 p.m. ET.

You can also stream the Stakes live with fuboTV, which offers a seven-day free trial.

Preakness Stakes post positions

Below is the full list of starting spots, as well as each horse’s morning line odds of winning the Preakness Stakes.

Post position Horse Odds
1 Ram 30/1
2 Keepmeinmind 15/1
3 Medina Spirit 9/5
4 Crowded Trade 10/1
5 Midnight Bourbon 5/1
6 Rombauer 12/1
7 France Go De Ina 20/1
8 Unbridled Honor 15/1
9 Risk Taking 15/1
10 Concert Tour 5/2

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