Who Breaks the Minnesota Curse?

Photo: Star Tribune
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It’s been 28 years since a Men’s Minnesota sports team has brought home the big trophy. I say Mens because I’d never forget the Ultimate sports dynasty that is the Minnesota Lynx. After all, it’s what Minnesotans hang our hats on in the last decade…

The year was 1991, and what a time it was to be alive. The Hip-Hop music scene was starting to take over. Gas was a mere dollar per gallon. My Mother was pregnant with her favorite son (me). More importantly, the Minnesota Twins claimed their stake as World champions, winning their 2nd World Series tittle in 5 years. It was a glorious time to be a Minnesota sports fan. On top of the Twins making Minnesota a number one team, the Northstars had just played for a Stanley Cup earlier that same year, falling short to Mario Lemieux’s Pittsburgh Penguins. The Vikings had just made a trade for college football legend Herschel Walker, who we were sure was the “missing piece” to a Super Bowl run.

Fast forward in time, hip-hop has turned to “mumble rap”, gas prices can suck it, the Twins haven’t relived the magic, Norm Green aka Norm Greed moved our beloved North Stars to Dallas just 2 years after appearing in the Finals, and the Herschel Walker trade turned out to be one of the greatest robberies in American history.

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…….. at least I’m still my mother’s favorite son.

One thing we Minnesotans always have, is hope. Hope, that we can finally cry happy tears instead of tears of frustration and sorrow. Whether that is false hope or not, remains to be seen. So who’s the next group of young men to take the state of Minnesota to the promise land? Read below to find out who has the best chance. (from worst to best)

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— The brother that drags the family image down: Farthest from Success —

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The T-Puppies are a dumpster fire. They’ve made the playoffs just once since the 2003-2004 Kevin Garnett-led tittle run and things aren’t looking up. There’s no reason to believe they’ll be contenders in the foreseeable future, either. Two things need to happen before I start to get excited about the Wolves.

  1. Get someone to take Wiggins off our hands
  2. Hit a home run in this year’s lottery draft (my vote is Coby White if he’s still there).

“BuT WigGIns aVerAGes 20/GaMe”.

I’m sorry, but im not interested in a 20 PPG guy if he takes over 20 shots to get there and brings nothing else to the floor. Karl-Anthony Towns is the one true bright spot but if Glen Taylor can’t get his shit together and figure out how to assemble a winning team and environment.. Towns might just end up like KG, a Timberwolves legend who leaves MN for a team who he can win a ring with.

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The Loons

— The New Guys: No expectations and half of MN doesn’t know you exist —

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Who in the hell are the Loons??

In case you didn’t notice (like our boss, Eric), we now have a professional soccer team here in Minnesota. They’re currently in their 3rd season as a franchise in the MLS (Major League Soccer) and the Loons currently hold a playoff spot, 7 games into the 34-game season.

Team Strengths:

Score, score, score and then maybe score some more. Darwin Quintero is one of the more creative goal scorers in the MLS, notching 5 goals in just 6 games (missing one game due to injury) to go along with 3 assists already this season. Abu Danladi, Angelo Rodriguez, Romario Ibarra and team captain Francisco Calvo help round out the 3rd best scoring offense in the league.

Team weakness:

Average goaltender play and defensive breakdowns kill this team. Coach Adrian Heath is a fiery Englishmen who expects excellence from his players, and the Loons play hard for him. The squad is still far from championship caliber, but don’t be surprised if the Loons make some noise this year and sneak into the playoffs for the 1st time in their stay with the MLS. In the meantime, you can catch most of the club’s games on FSN or FSN+. If you’re  not careful, play-by-play commentator Callum Williams might have you yelling at your tv in a British accent by the end of the game.

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The Wild

— What’s a rebuild? —

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Playoff bound! Lose in the 1st round. “Good enough to get there, not great enough to advance.”

Hockey fans are fed up, and they deserve better. After all, we are the State of hockey. We are the state that produces more NHL players than any other state in the US, accounting for 20% of the entire NHL. Our college teams are among the best in the country every year, but our professional team? Not good enough.

It’s been a rough start for General Manager Paul Fenton, who helped mold Nashville into a contender. Fans have been critical of Fenton for sending away fan favorites like Nino, Coyle and Granlund. It’s obvious he wants the team to be younger, acquiring Ryan Donato and Kevin Fiala as the main trade pieces for dealing those cornerstones.

Donato is a player fans should be very excited about. He has a wicked hard and quick shot. He’s not the fastest skater on the ice, but he is quick and smart with the puck. But, more importantly than ANYTHING ELSE.. he’s not afraid to fire that damn puck at that damn net. Finally… He’s a natural goal scorer in the making.

We can’t talk about the Wild’s future without looking to Russia. The most promising piece to this team isn’t even on the roster right now. Kirill Kaprizov — know the name, google the name, learn how to pronounce the name, watch his highlights… AND GET FUCKING PUMPED UP.

The Russian is still under contract in the KHL and won’t even make his wild debut until 2020-2021 season (we think). But when he finally does make the jump to the NHL, he’ll immediately be one of the best players the wild have, if not the best. It’s safe to assume he will be injected into the top line and will make a huge impact immediately. Kaprizov looks like he can do what no other Wild standout has done in REAL bulk quantities since its league debut. Put the puck in net.

With all of that said, let me slam on the brakes and watch you go through the windshield… The wild have a lot of great young talent. with the likes of Dumba, Brodin, Greenway, Donato, Fiala, and Kaprizov, But don’t expect this team to contend until these guys develop and figure out how to play with each other. Plus, it’d help if Suter stopped eating up so many unproductive minutes.

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The Twins

— On the come up… with some new sheriffs in town and ready to shock some people —

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When the Twins were winning all of those division tittles throughout the Torii Hunter + M&M boys era, they did it with “small ball” and a top defensive team. But in this day in age, you either hit bombs or you don’t win many baseball games. The 2019 version of the Minnesota Twins are absolutely hitting the cover off the ball. They lead the entire MLB (Tie w/Astros) in batting average and impressively sit 7th, in home runs hit.

There’s no reason to believe this hot start is a fluke, since the bats for the Twins are stacked. Cruz is a monster, Cron is starting to smash balls, Kepler is a boss, Polanco does nothing but get on base, Buxton is playing how we all hoped he would years ago, and Rosario is on his MVP shit. All of these positives and Miguel Sano hasn’t even played a game yet this year. The lineup is simply deadly.

One trait that all true contenders have, though, is pitching. The Twins are middle of the road, there. Berrios is a true ace, Odorizzi and Gibson are solid end of rotation guys but that’s not enough. The young guys like Rogers and Hildenberger can’t carry the relievers all year and May and Parker will have to step up.

But, they need more help. The Twins are that one “missing piece” away from making a run at a championship. In this case, it may be two missing piece. We need another ace to compliment Berrios and a shutdown bullpen guy. That means the front office will have to do something they aren’t known to do, spend some fucking money. While you’re at it, give Rosario a contract he deserves. If you don’t, I think you have proven to us fans that you don’t care about winning.

BOLD PERDICTION: The Twins win their division this year and have us all on the edge of our seats come the postseason.

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The Vikings

— The kings of the north and what REALLY matters… for good reason. —

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The Vikings are the team that has broken our hearts the most. Maybe that has something to do with me picking them, as the most likely MN team to win the next championship. Because I want it the most. I feel most will agree with me. Vikings fans have been through too much to not be paid off at some point…. right?

Or MAYBE, I’m picking the Vikings as our savior because they really are that good? Ricky and the boys have assembled one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, and now it’s time to go perform. We have one weakness, though… the offensive line. If you think Rick Spielman and crew aren’t aware of that and wont address it in the draft, you’re the fool. 

I have all the confidence in Rick and the boys. No one thought the Vikings would be able to sign Barr, Diggs, Thielen, Kendricks, Hunter, Griffen, Smith, or Rhodes after spending huge money on Captain Kirk. But they did. They signed them all and our team is intact for years to come. Stability at Offensive Coordinator and the addition of Gary Kubiak to the offensive coaching staff, will help Cousins and the offense flourish after an underwhelming performance last year. 

I could highlight every player and go on and on about this topic all day, but lets not make this article ten times longer than it needs to be. Just take my word for it, instead:

BOLD PERDICTION: Dalvin Cook goes for 1,500 plus all-purpose yards this year, Cousins finds his stride, and Anthony Barr records 8+ sacks. The Vikings Win a Super Bowl within the next two seasons becoming the next Minnesota sports team to make fans feel as complete as they did in 1991.

Clem Clemans | Minnesota Sports Fan

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