Happy holidays. Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?
Well, if you didn’t, you’re in luck: I picked out a few last-minute gifts (OK, they’re late, but I got a great deal) for Minnesota pro sports fans. Here are your ideal presents, if you root for the …
Vikings: Well, I couldn’t afford the biggest and most obvious present, which would be post-dated for delivery on Feb. 4 anyway.
The offering now is more basic: The gift to enjoy whatever comes of this surprisingly magical season. Be honest: Did any of us see a 12-3 record and likely first-round bye as part of this year’s equation when the Vikings were 2-2 and struggling through the first half of a game at Chicago behind a clearly unfit Sam Bradford?
Your present is to enjoy the rest of the ride. Don’t worry about how it might end. Try to put aside scars of the past and focus on the now. This is the most surprising excellent season in recent memory for any team around here, which is saying something because …
Twins: This is the franchise that held the “most surprising excellent season in recent memory” label as recently as three months ago. The Twins jumped from 59 wins and irrelevance in 2016 to 85 wins and a playoff berth in 2017. Bigger and better things could be on the horizon.
The gift I would like to give Twins fans is a front-line starting pitcher. Yu Darvish would be expensive and he’s far from perfect, but if Minnesota could land a player of that caliber this offseason it would inject an element of reality to the Twins’ pursuit of a deep postseason run.
Wild: Your gift, Wild fans, is patience. There’s a good chance the Wild is better than its mediocre record has indicated so far this year. Injuries have played and continue to play a major role in keeping Minnesota from fulfilling whatever potential it has this season. In the NHL, though, just making the postseason gives any team a reasonable chance of hoisting the Stanley Cup. If the Wild can get healthy and get on a roll at the right time, this season might just work out yet.
Timberwolves: Your gift is enjoying just how good Jimmy Butler is. His brilliance, particularly in the last few weeks, continues to be obscured by smaller quibbles about minutes, rotations and other things. The Wolves are having their best season in years, and Butler is their most complete player and fiercest competitor since Kevin Garnett in his prime.
United: A scarf? Scarves are always nice. Kidding! Soccer joke! Really, United fans, your gift would be an offseason of meaningful roster building that gives hope that the on-field product in 2018 matches the enthusiasm in the stands and points to even better things in 2019 when the new stadium opens in St. Paul.
Lynx: What do you get the fan that already has everything? Well, those who have everything tend to be greedy. How about a fifth WNBA championship, this time in the even year of 2018?