Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Posts about Wolves injury report

On KG, AP

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: February 20, 2015 - 1:32 PM

Good get by ESPN's Ben Goessling, landing the Adrian Peterson interview.

Peterson told Goessling that he's not thrilled with the way the Vikings handled his suspension, and uneasy about the idea of wearing purple again.

That's a problem, in two ways.

First, it means that the Vikings may not be able to keep a very valuable player. I have a hard time believing Peterson will refuse to play next season in Minnesota, but his attitude could complicate the situation, or at least the relationship between team and player.

Second, it means that Peterson suffers from a syndrome a Twins employee long ago referred to as the ``Princess and the Pea'' problem. Peterson has been praised so often in his life, has been such a success, that the idea of someone questioning his character is not only repugnant to him, it's foreign to him. Instead of recognizing that the Vikings have to answer to sponsors, fans and the NFL at large, he wants to hold Vikings bosses responsible for not supporting him more fully. That is a special kind of entitlement, a special kind of crazy.

At this point, given all of the possible permutations, I've come around to believing that what's best for the Vikings is simply to pay Peterson's full salary next season, and try to win while he's still in his prime. My original position was that Peterson should be punished severely...and he was. Losing 15 games, virtually a full season, of his prime is a stern punishment for a despicable act.

All Peterson has to do now is appreciate that key Vikings figures want him back, understand the predicament he put them in, and go back to being a great player who will have to face a protest or two. It's that simple.

If Peterson can't see that, he needs to improve the quality of his entourage, and of his thinking.

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Got a little blowback for praising the Wolves' acquisition of Kevin Garnett.

I would not be defending the trade of Thad Young for KG in basketball terms. Young is a useful player in his prime. Garnett is a formerly great player nearing the end.

I'm praising it because basketball doesn't really matter right now in the Timberwolves' world. The games are meaningless. All that matters right now is developing Andrew Wiggins, and encouraging him to believe that, if and when he becomes a superstar, he has reason to considering staying in Minnesota and trying to win championships here.

Garnett isn't the only person who can make that argument to Wiggins. But he may be the only person Wiggins would have reason to listen to on that topic.

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Tonight, the SouhanUnfiltered.com podcast is live at O'Gara's Bar and Grill off Snelling, at 4:30 with guest Bob Sansevere. (I'm also doing daily radio hits with Bob on 105.1 The Ticket at 3:30 each afternoon.)

My band, The Bar Chords, will play at O'Gara's Shanty at 7:30 or so, and live karaoke starts at 9 with Le Bang. Stop by and say hello.

You can listen to this and all podcasts live or later at SouhanUnfiltered.com, or at IHeartradio via Souhan-Unfiltered. (note the hyphen)

Looking for something encouraging?

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 14, 2015 - 8:55 AM

On Tuesday night, the Gophers fell behind by 17 points before rallying...and losing.

The Wild continued to embarrass itself and its entire effort-based sport with another pathetic performance.

Our bright spot came from the NBA. Actually, from two unanticipated sources in the NBA.

Mo Williams.

And Kevin Love.

Mo, as you know, scored 52 points to break the Wolves' losing streak. Just as impressive, he scored 52 points without frequenting the paint. He scored 52 points with a 7-3 assist-to-turnover ratio. He was both prolific and efficient, and it's nice to see a Wolves point guard invested in avoiding losing. (You can come back any month now, Ricky.)

While Mo was doing strange things, Kevin Love kept proving he is who we thought he was. In a loss at Phoenix, Cavs coach David Blatt benched Love for the fourth quarter, saying he liked the way his on-court lineup matchup up with Phoenix defensively.

In other words, Love remains a terrible defensive player.

Love finished with nine points and nine rebounds. He was 3-for-11 from the field. He was a team-worst minus-20.

Blatt made headlines the other day by saying Love isn't a maximum-contract player. He tried to spin that after guaging the public reaction, but I believe he was offering an honest assessment of a limited player.

Love is great at putting up big numbers. He's not so great at playing winning basketball.

I'll admit I've been conflicted on Love (great band name) for years. I've praised his productivity. I thought Wolves fans blamed him too much for the struggles of what has been a terrible basketball organization. But I also questioned his effort, defense and attitude at times.

Now he's playing with the best player in the world, on a team that should be near the top of the East, and the Cavs are 19-20, and Love is partly to blame.

I'll give Flip Saunders credit for getting Andrew Wiggins for Love, and I'll also credit the Golden State Warriors for being smart enough to keep Klay Thompson. It's not surprising that the team that decided against trading for Love is playing so well.

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Tonight's podcast: 5 p.m. at The Local (the great Irish bar on Nicollet), former Viking and current North High AD Leo Lewis will be my guest. Friday at 5 p.m. at O'Gara's, my guest will be Strib hockey writer Michael Russo. You can listen live or later at SouhanUnfiltered.com. Thanks.

@Souhanstrib

Wiggins surging

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 8, 2015 - 1:46 PM

Andrew Wiggins still doesn't show much emotion on court. He still doesn't look like he's always passionately engaged with playing in the NBA. But let's stop looking at body language and look at results. The kid is playing at a remarkably high level for a rookie, especially one at his age.

He's scored 20 points or more in five straight games. Last night, against Phoenix, he was remarkably efficient, scoring 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting and making four of his five free throws.

He's increasingly willing to drive into the heart of a defense, and to be the Wolves' go-to scorer.

Yes, the Wolves have lost 13 straight, and yes, Ricky Rubio may take two or three more years to come back from an ankle sprain, but the most important person in the Wolves' organization is Wiggins, and he's starting to perform like a budding star.

The Wolves drew a small crowd for an 8:30 start on a freezing night, but at least a few fans were there to chant ``R-O-Y'' - meaning rookie of the year - when Wiggins went to the line late in the game.

While my appreciation of Wiggins grows, I'm having trouble watching Thad Young play. He's Kevin Love Lite - he can amass a certain number of points and rebounds, but his defense is horrid.

-------------------------------------------

At 3 p.m. today Strib hockey writer Michael Russo and I will run a live podcast from the XCel Energy Center press box. We'll talk about the passing of J.P. Parise, and the predicament in which the Wild finds itself, plus the usual music, pop-culture and other-sport nonsense. You can listen live or later at SouhanUnfiltered.com.

@Souhanstrib

Wolves win

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 8, 2013 - 10:22 PM

Tidbits following the Wolves' 108-103 victory over Atlanta at Target Center on Tuesday night:

-16-15 matches the Wolves' best record after 31 games since they were 16-15 in 2006-07

-The Wolves had lost 11 straight to the Hawks.

-The Wolves are 8-0 this season when scoring 100.

-Nikola Pekovic had 25 points and 18 rebounds, helping the Wolves dominate the scoring in the paint, 50-38.

-Ricky Rubio finished with eight assists. He didn't drive the lane often, but he was deft in finding teammates open for jump shots.

-Derrick Williams matched a career-high by hitting three three-pointers. He's shooting 45.2 percent on 3s in his last 31 shots.

-Andrei Kirilenko, the lovable Russian, had 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. He reached 2,0000 career assists. He needs one steal to become the 15th player in NBA history to reach 2,000 assists, 1,000 steals and 1,000 blocks.

Wrote my column on the Wolves' injury woes and the admirable way they've overcome them. I invoke the name of Joey Two Steps.

I'll be on 1500espn from 9-noon all week with Judd Zulgad. I believe we'll have Wolves coach Bill Bayno on at some point tomorrow.

Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

Big weekend for Mn sports

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 17, 2012 - 9:12 AM
It was quite a weekend for Minnesota sports fans, a weekend made possible by perhaps the two most popular athletes in the Twin Cities these days.
One captivated because of accomplishment, the other because of promise. Both exceeded expectations while coming off of major knee surgery.
Adrian Peterson rushed for 212 yards, moving him within reasonable striking distance of Eric Dickerson’s rushing record of 2,105.
Ricky Rubio returned to Target Center and made the kind of deft, heady plays that have made him a national phenomenon.
That’s not an exaggeration. When you talk to national NBA writers and talk to people around the country, they find Rubio more interesting than any Wolves player since Kevin Garnett was a teenager.
Both have a chance, in the season following ACL surgery, to lead their teams to the playoffs. And both teams currently hold the sixth seed in their respective conferences.
We tend to speak of the local sports scene as if it’s one big organism, when actually it’s a collection of independent businesses. But if we want to toss all of local sports into the same category, things are looking up.
The Vikings have a chance to go to the playoffs in what I thought would be a rebuilding year.
The Wolves have a chance to go to the playoffs despite a stunning array of injuries and a recent history of awful personnel moves.
The Twins are building a future winner and could, with one more veteran pitcher, be more competitive this season.
The Wild will play again…someday.
The Gopher basketball team is the best of Tubby Smith’s tenure.
And Gopher football is in a bowl game, which, while it doesn’t impress me, is better than the alternative.
Other than Peterson’s long runs, the most interesting play of the Vikings’ victory, to me, was Everson Griffen’s interception return for a touchdown.
On the play, Chad Greenway faked a blitz from the left side of the defensive line. At the snap, he sprinted to the right flat to cover. Griffen dropped from defensive end into coverage as safety Harrison Smith dropped deep. Bradford saw Griffen but thought he could get the ball past him.
Griffen was an outstanding high school running back. He’s a remarkable athlete. Once the ball was in the air, the Rams were in trouble. Griffen intercepted and scooted down the right sideline to the end zone, shaking off a tackler.
Greenway put his hand in the air, the touchdown, when Griffen was still 20 yards from the end zone. Griffen’s teammates know how talented he is.
Tampa-2 defenses are known for predictability. That play was the latest example of Leslie Frazier and Alan Williams’ ability to mix up coverages and looks this year. And it was the latest of Griffen’s plays that justified the team’s patience with him when he was known for throwing wild parties and underachieving.
Another fascinating week awaits.
The Wolves face Miami and Oklahoma City. The Vikings travel to Houston to face the Texans, who allowed 105 yards to Colts running back Vick Ballard on Sunday.
I’ll be on 1500espn today, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 2:05 p.m., and on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 each morning to talk sports. You can follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

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