Three thoughts from the weekend that DON’T relate to the Super Bowl:
• Washington QB Kirk Cousins is reportedly open to being traded, which is about as surprising as someone complaining about the weather this winter. Cousins was drafted in the fourth round the same year Robert Griffin III was chosen in the first round, and the new regime has made it clear RGIII is the future of the franchise (and rightfully so).
If you are the Vikings: Just say no. Repeat: Just say no. Do not make a play for Cousins. He had a couple of flashes of nice play as a rookie in 2012; in 2013, he started the final three games and looked decidedly mediocre. The longer teams had to prepare for him, the worse he played. That’s not a good sign. He’s going to be a career backup, not the answer. No shortcuts here, Minnesota. Just stay away.
• Sometimes in Minnesota we need a good reality check with our teams, and it arrived en masse for three prominent ones recently.
Perhaps we overvalued the Gophers men’s basketball team after a home victory over Wisconsin. After all, it was a team that had shown plenty of flaws previously — problems that resurfaced in losses to Nebraska and Northwestern after the Badgers beating.
Maybe we started to get too optimistic about the Timberwolves when they showed some defensive moxie and finally climbed over .500 last week. They followed that with a deflating home loss to Memphis — a good team, but that was a chance to build momentum — and then watched their defensive shortcomings return in a loss Saturday at Atlanta.
The long view of the Wild’s recent tough five-game stretch (Chicago at home, then a four-game road trip) is that Minnesota came through it in good shape with six points (two wins, two OT losses). The shorter view is they earned just one point in the final two games, giving up nine goals in the process. Their grip on a playoff spot remains tenuous.
• All that said, we have a terrible habit of getting excited about teams when they are just about to crumble and starting to give up on them right when they turn things around.
The Wild has two home games before an Olympic break that could help the squad refocus. The Wolves have five home games in their next seven, followed by a road game at woeful Utah. The Gophers are at Purdue, then home against Indiana in their next two — winnable games, with or without Andre Hollins, who is still recovering from an ankle sprain but will provide a boost when he returns.