Vikings forced to rebound on the road against Giants
The whole point of bringing in Assistant Head Coach Gary Kubiak and Running Game Coordinator Rick Dennison was to help the Vikings avoid making Kirk Cousins a pocket passer against teams with physically superior defensive fronts. Teams like, say, the Chicago Bears.
Yet, where was Cousins on those rare occasions when the Vikings actually had possession of the football last Sunday in Chicago? Back in the pocket, getting harassed, getting sacked and once losing possession of said football. Never mind that the Bears were missing several starters on defense, they still dominated the Vikings, sacking Cousins six times and causing him to fumble twice.
It’s not like the Viking defense is without blame. The Bears converted 5 of 9 tries on either 3rd or 4th down in the first half, holding the ball, eating the clock and making 10-year journeyman QB Chase Daniel look like an All-Pro, while filling-in for injured started Mitchell Trubisky.
Former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Well, the Bears are still punching the Vikings in the mouth, and the Vikings still have no idea about how to fight back.
Gopher football hosts Illinois for homecoming, looks to stay perfect
Tanner Morgan’s performance against Purdue was one for the books. The sophomore QB completed 21 of 22 passes for 396-yards and 4 touchdowns in leading the unbeaten Gophers past the Boilermakers 38-31 on Saturday. Morgan’s completion percentage of 95.5% is the highest for any Big Ten QB with at least 15-attempts and leaves no question as to who’s the best QB in town, college or pro, right now.
Let’s be clear, there are still many issues with this Gopher football team; the fact that they can’t seem to tackle anybody stands out. But, Morgan keeps proving that he’s more than just holding down the QB spot until Zack Annexstad recovers from a preseason ankle injury, and I’d put the receiving corps of Sr. Tyler Johnson, So. Rashod Bateman, So. Chris Autman-Bell and So. Demitrius Douglas up against any team in the country. ANY team.
Now comes a Homecoming “revenge game” next Saturday against an Illinois team that clobbered the Gophers 55-31 last year in Champaign, IL. With a win the Gophers would be 5-0, with underachieving Nebraska coming in the following Saturday, before the next road game against bottom-dweller Rutgers on October 19th.
I know, I know, one game at a time and all, but the Gophers stand a very good chance of being bowl eligible before Halloween. Row the Boat, indeed.
Twins open playoff Friday in Big Apple, Arraez remains a question mark
The Minnesota Twins’ recent history of playoff futility is well-documented, especially when it comes to its American League Division Series opponent, the New York Yankees. The Twins head into Friday night’s series opener in the Bronx having lost 13 consecutive playoff games, 10 of those coming against the Yankees.
That being said, keep in mind that many of those losses came against the Yankees, a team that was loaded with talent like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. One thing the Twins have already proven is that they can hit for power with anybody. The question is, do they have enough pitching left to beat a good team in a short series?
While the injury to rookie sensation Luis Arraez leaves his status for the series in doubt with what’s being described as a sprained ankle. One has to wonder why two players would run into each other on a infield pop-up in game #161? Analytics be damned, the Twins remain atrocious when it comes to several areas of baseball fundamentals, and they can’t afford to make mistakes and advance in the playoffs.
Wild need to be road warriors, right away.
The puck drops on the Minnesota Wild’s regular season Thursday night in Nashville, and while you can’t make the playoffs in the first month and-a-half of a 7-month season, you can play yourself into quite a hole.
For some reason, the Wild plays its first three games on the road, five of the first six, and 13 of the first 18-games will also be played away from home. This means the Wild has got to be game-ready, right out of the gates.
Most preseason projections had the Wild finishing outside the playoffs before the team installed Bill Guerin as the team’s new general manager in August. Now, many preseason predictions have the Wild as one of the last teams to get in, but that brutal schedule is sure to test the team, and potentially Guerin’s patience, right away.