Vikings’ Love suspended four games

Offensive tackle DeMarcus Love of the Minnesota Vikings has been suspended without pay for the team’s first four games of the 2013 regular season for what he claims was an unintentional violation of the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Love told NFL Network he failed a test after buying an over-the-counter supplement at GNC.

A sixth-round pick in 2011, Love isn’t a lock to make the Vikings’ 53-man roster. He’s listed as the second-team left tackle behind Matt Kalil but Minnesota was the only team in the NFL last season to go all 16 games with the same five starters on the offensive line.

If Love survives the final cutdown, he will be eligible to return to the roster on Monday, Sept. 30.

Love is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.

Patriots’ Edelman cleared for practice

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has been medically cleared to practice after recovering from foot surgery, head coach Bill Belichick confirmed Thursday during his news conference with reporters.

Edelman played in nine games last season and made 21 catches for 235 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He missed the final four regular-season games and the postseason after breaking his right foot against Miami on Dec. 4, 2012.

Also, the Patriots announced they had signed four players: free agent defensive lineman Travis Carpenter, wide receiver Johnathan Haggerty, wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei and offensive lineman Scott Vallone. New England also released defensive back Stephon Morris, who injured his right hamstring injury during Tuesday’s practice.

FOX adds three Sprint Cup, 14 Nationwide races

NASCAR and FOX Sports announced Thursday an extension of the multi-platform, multi-series media rights agreement that had been originally announced last October. The deal, which had previously been slated to run through 2022, will now start in 2015 and last until 2024.

In addition, FOX Sports picked up three additional NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and the first 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series events of each season. Last fall, FOX Sports secured exclusive rights to the entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season through 2022 and that part of the agreement also has been extended through 2024.

Thursday’s announcement comes a week after NASCAR and NBC announced a 10-year deal that gave NBC Sports rights to broadcast the final 20 races of each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as well as the final 19 NASCAR Nationwide races through 2024.

According to the Associated Press, FOX and NBC combined will pay $8.2 billion for NASCAR TV rights from 2015 through 2024.

Rangers’ Berkman unsure if he’ll retire

ARLINGTON, Texas — The chances of Lance Berkman returning to the Rangers lineup anytime soon — or perhaps ever — dimmed a little more this week.

After taking nearly a week off to rest his inflamed hip, Berkman’s attempted return to baseball activities did not go well Tuesday. He planned to do a little light running and take batting practice on the field. After he had trouble running, the Rangers decided not to have him hit, either.

“I don’t have any concerns that at some point I’d be able to get out there,” Berkman said before the workout while wearing a heavy heat wrap on his hip. “How effective I’ll be, that I don’t know. These guys invested in me, and I’d like to give them some return. But it’s getting down to the point where it is fish or cut bait. I don’t want this to linger.”

Berkman, 36, has been on the DL since July 7 and last week was shut down from baseball activities to give the hip more time to rest.

Beyond the hip issue, Berkman is struggling to find a way to hit for power with a knee that no longer will give him the power base he once had. He said his right knee is not painful, but it simply isn’t getting enough extension to deliver the kind of torque he once had.

Red Wings to retire Lidstrom’s number

The Detroit Red Wings will recognize one of their greatest players when they retire the No. 5 of defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.

A ceremony honoring the former captain is planned for March 6 against the Colorado Avalanche.

Lidstrom, 43, will join No. 1 (Terry Sawchuk), No. 7 (Ted Lindsay), No. 9 (Gordie Howe), No. 10 (Alex Delvecchio), No. 12 (Sid Abel) and No. 19 Steve Yzerman as retired Wings jerseys. Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99 is also retired Detroit, as well as every other franchise.

Lidstrom retired after the 2011-12 season after spending his entire 20-year career with Detroit. One of the all-time hockey greats, he has won four Stanley Cups with Detroit. He’s also one of two players — Doug Harvey is the other — to win seven Norris Trophies, which is awarded annually to the league’s top defenseman. Bobby Orr won the award a record eight consecutive times.

The native of Sweden holds an NHL record by playing 1,564 games with one team.

Ripken offers $100,000 reward in kidnapping

Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is offering a $100,000 reward to help bring his mother’s kidnapper to justice.

Ripken announced the bounty Thursday at the Sports Legends Museum next to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Last July, Vi Ripken was abducted at gunpoint from her home just outside Baltimore. She was driven around blindfolded for almost 24 hours before she was found unharmed in her car.

No arrests have been made, but the former infielder said he hopes the reward will breathe new life into the case.

Ryan says Jets will use Wildcat offense

CORTLAND, N.Y. — The Wildcat is here to stay, said Rex Ryan.

After much offseason hype about the formation following the offseason acquisition of Tim Tebow in March of 2012, the Wildcat was a massive dud behind old offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. But Ryan has no doubt it’ll be featured more in Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast system.

“I would say we probably would because you guys say, we never used it, so I would say, yeah,” Ryan said. “I would think that’s part of what we do.”

When told of his head coach’s plan, quarterback Mark Sanchez didn’t seem to mind. “I mean, he’s the head man,” he said. “He’s got the call, so if he thinks it’ll work hopefully it’s going to work well.”

With new quarterbacks coach David Lee — who helped bring the Wildcat craze to the NFL — on their side, it’s no surprise the Jets would try to run it on game day.

“I know Coach Lee’s passion about it,” Sanchez said. “I know him and Marty have a good thing going there with the wildcat stuff. They both run a little bit of that in their past so hopefully it’s something that can help the club.”

The Jets’ Tebow-led Wildcat failed to deliver in 2012, but Sanchez said he feels comfortable running the formation. “It’s not that hard,” he said. “You’re just running the ball from the (shot)gun.”