Despite 8-3 start, not much “Super” about Vikings
It was amazing watching the Vikings get overwhelmed in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos, only to have every fan that approached me complain about quarterback Kirk Cousins.
I couldn’t help but think about those fans and all the others who felt similarly after watching Cousins lead the Vikings to four second half touchdowns as the team held on to win 27-23.
Despite being 8-3, the Vikings have many problems, offensive line, defensive secondary, special teams play, that in totality make it rather remarkable that this team is 8-3 and likely to make the playoffs.
Does Cousins have flaws? Certainly. That said, he has proven, time and again, that he is most effective throwing off the run. The Vikings need to move the pocket, because the offensive line has also shown that it is not capable of keeping Cousins upright against a pass rush.
If this team is going to anything down the stretch and in the playoffs, it will be because the team is able to focus their attention on the flaws around Kirk Cousins, and I would advise Viking fans to do the same.
Embed from Getty Images
While much improved, Wiggins still has a way to go.
Despite being selected first in the 2014 NBA draft, winning 2015 Rookie of the Year honors, and receiving a max contract extension in 2017, to this point, the career of Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Andrew Wiggins has largely been viewed as disappointing, at best.
Coming off the worst statistical season of his career in 2018-2019, there was little reason for optimism heading into this season. But, something appears to have clicked with Wiggins, and while it’s still early, the 24-year-old enigma is giving Wolves fans reason for optimism.
At the time of this post, Wiggins is averaging nearly 26 points per game, along with career-best numbers in assists per game, rebounds per game and shooting percentage. His shooting percentage of 56.3 includes career-best shooting percentages on both 2-pointers (53.2) and 3-pointers (36.1).
Clearly buying-in to the new style of NBA basketball adopted by Head Coach Ryan Saunders and President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas, Wiggins has reduced his number of mid-range shots to 35 percent while increasing his three point attempts to 29 percent and also getting to the rim at a decent rate.
While all of that is encouraging, Wiggins still doesn’t pass enough or draw enough fouls, and then there’s his defense, where by most factors he is subpar, at best.
Still, they say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Wiggins is showing he can be the complimentary player to Karl Anthony Towns that fans were always hoping for, and that, with good health and some good fortune, a playoff appearance may not be out of the question.
Falvey, Levine earn extensions, faith of Twins fans
The Minnesota Twins made a couple of important signings last week. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, architects of the Twins’ American League Central Division Championship, agreed to contract extensions to remain in charge of the team’s baseball operations.
All reports say the new deals will keep the Twins dynamic duo in place through at least 2024, putting the Twins future in good hands and on solid footing.
Falvey’s new title of President of Baseball Operations was said to be necessary to put him on equal footing with other top executives around the league. I’m not sure how that figures into his day-to-day decision making or gives leverage in negotiations with players, agents, or other teams’ executives, but if it keeps Falvey happy and here in the Twin Cities, I’m all in.
In three seasons with the Twins, the pair has guided the franchise through a major overhaul of the entire baseball operation while delivering two postseason appearances and the team’s first AL Central title since 2010.
Make no mistake about it, Falvey and Levine’s work has not gone unnoticed around Major league Baseball, and if their success continues, based on MLB’s inherent inequity, at some point they will most likely be lured away by an under-performing team in a larger market.
The hope here is that they stick around long enough to leave the franchise and its minor league system in solid enough shape to survive their departure, and another World Series wouldn’t be bad either.