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FREEMAN TO START MONDAY NIGHT FOR MINNESOTA

MAKING NEWS

Josh Freeman will make his Vikings starting debut Monday at the Giants, the team said Wednesday. Freeman signed a one-year deal worth $3 million Oct. 8, five days after the Bucs released him. He got the nod over Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. Freeman said he is grateful for the chance, saying the organization has people committed to being "quality human beings" and "they do things the right way." Said Bucs RT Demar Dotson: "I think he's going to do well. I look forward to watching him play."

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

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Number of the day

8 2009 first-round picks besides Josh Freeman no longer with the team that drafted them:

Player.........................Pos. ...No. ...Tm.

Jason Smith.................OT......2......St.L

Aaron Curry.................LB......4......Sea.

Darrius Heyward-Bey...WR......7......Oak.

Eugene Monroe............OT......8......Jax

Aaron Maybin...............DE.....11.....Buf.

Percy Harvin................WR....22.....Min.

Vontae Davis...............DB.....25.....Mia.

Chris Wells..................RB.....31.....Ariz.

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Thank yous of the day

From bitter rivalto very big gracias

U.S. soccer got some love from an unlikely source: Mexico. Mexico remained alive for a World Cup berth Tuesday despite a loss thanks to a U.S. win over Panama. Newspaper headlines in Mexico included, "We Love You," and "Thank You, USA." In the past, Mexican fans have thrown bottles of urine at U.S. players. And during a 2004 game, they chanted "Osama bin Laden" during the Star Spangled Banner.

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Quotable

"We've changed our model a little bit because we wanted more than one (Super Bowl ring)."

Jim Irsay, Colts owner on Tuesday on why the team cut Peyton Manning (and avoided a $28 million roster bonus) and drafted Andrew Luck in 2012; Wednesday, after criticism from, among others, ex-Colts coach Tony Dungy and ex-Colts GM Bill Polian, he tweeted he meant the "model" of using most of the salary cap on offense

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Lightning

Tonight

vs. Wild, 7:30, Tampa Bay Times ForumTV/radio: Sun Sports;970-AM

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