Soon after I came to Minnesota to cover the Vikings in 1990, the Twin Cities hosted a Super Bowl, a Final Four, a U.S. Open, a Stanley Cup Final and a World Series. ``What a time to be alive'' has become a joke, a meme, but that was a pretty good time to be alive and living in Minnesota.

What awaits Minnesota sports fans in the next year?

The Lynx will probably play for another title next fall.

A Super Bowl will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium, and the Vikings have a puncher's chance of playing in it.

The Final Four won't be held in Minneapolis but the Gophers may be good enough to take a run at it.

The Timberwolves are good enough to compete for a home-court playoff advantage in the first round.

The Twins made the playoffs last year with little pitching; any improvement in that area could make them championship contenders.

Gopher hockey could be good enough to play in the Frozen Four in St. Paul next spring and the Gophers volleyball team is a good bet to reach its Final Four for the third straight year.

The Wild has survived a terrible start to the season. If Nashville could turn an eighth seed into a Stanley Cup Final appearance, it could happen for the Wild, as well.

What I hear from fans all the time is that they want one championship before they die.

Given a choice, I'd take a constant flow of meaningful games and big events over an isolated championship. And I think we're in for a calendar year of meaningful games and big events.

-``Trust the process'' is what people say when they don't know what to say.

-Given that the Vikings might have been set up to reach 10 victories or more with Sam Bradford, Case Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater playing quarterback, Devan Dubnyk has to be the most pivotal athlete in the Twin Cities.

-Big football weekend for me. I'll be at Northwestern for the Gopher game on Saturday. Randy Johnson and I will have coverage on and in the Sunday paper. I'll be at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday for the Rams-Vikings game, which is objectively the biggest game of the weekend.

-Please check out for podcasts on the Wild, Wolves, Vikings, Twins and preps.


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