MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The deficiency on Minnesota's offensive line made that position the obvious priority for offseason improvement on a team that stumbled to an 8-8 finish. By the second day of the NFL's open market last month, the Vikings had two free-agent tackles signed for their starting lineup. They simply couldn't afford to wait for the rookies this spring.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Fairly or not, T.J. Watt will draw comparisons to his big brother when he gets to the pros. Oh sure, he can speed past an offensive tackle and split double teams just like another former Wisconsin star with the same last name and similar skillset as a pass rusher. But J.J.
Baylor coach Matt Rhule is spending the rest of this week back in Philadelphia, where he will be at the NFL draft with his former Temple players while also touting the Bears. "I'm there to support my Temple kids, and I'm there to sell Baylor to future recruits, and make sure that all kids that I'm recruiting know that our process is doing things that no one thought was possible," Rhule said Tuesday.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Adrian Peterson, the NFL's most productive running back for much of the past decade, has decided to head into the twilight of his career as a potential backup in New Orleans' pass-happy offense. The Saints on Tuesday came to terms on a two-year contract with Peterson, a 10-year veteran who has posted seven 1,000-yard seasons with Minnesota and once eclipsed 2,000 yards.
WACO, Texas (AP) -- While the first public glimpse at Baylor's new offense was vanilla by design, there were very clear indications during the Bears' spring game that some things will be drastically different under new coach Matt Rhule. Bears fans and Big 12 opponents better get used to seeing Zach Smith and other quarterbacks line up under center at times in I-formation sets with fullbacks and tight ends.
BOSTON (AP) -- Boston University researchers will study Aaron Hernandez's brain to determine if the former NFL star suffered from the same degenerative brain disease as Hall of Famer Junior Seau and former Bears defensive back Dave Duerson, who also took their own lives. Hernandez hanged himself in prison early Wednesday, days after winning an acquittal in a 2012 double homicide case. He was already serving a life term in a 2013 killing.
2. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-14) LAST SEASON: 49ers tied franchise record for losses, leading to organizational overhaul. Longtime GM Trent Baalke was fired, along with first-year coach Chip Kelly, and replaced by first-time GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. Team struggled just about everywhere in 2016.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Football is hard. But for Malcolm Jenkins of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, convincing politicians to enact meaningful changes to the nation's criminal justice system is much harder. Jenkins, free-agent wide receiver Anquan Boldin and other players were meeting with members of Congress this week to push for legislation that leads to improved relationships between minority communities and local police.
BOSTON (AP) -- Chicago Bears wide receiver Deonte Thompson has testified in the double-murder trial of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez. The former New England Patriots tight end played football with Thompson at the University of Florida. Thompson testified Monday about a Florida party he invited Hernandez to in February 2013. Hernandez smiled when Thompson referred to him as "my guy." Thompson's team, then the Baltimore Ravens, had just won the Super Bowl.