Minnesota sports history is filled with plenty of regrettable personnel moves. But the state's teams have also made their share of shrewd deals. As such, we are counting down our choices -- with many assists from folks on Twitter -- for the 25 best moves made via free agency, waiver claims or trades in the past 25 years of Twin Cities sports. (Note: Trades for draft picks count, but we are not including straight-up choices made in entry drafts such as Kevin Garnett or Joe Mauer). Weight was primarily given to the impact of the player or players obtained and the level of risk/boldness involved.
4 Frank Viola trade: Viola's time with the Twins was just about perfect for a small-to-mid-market team. The Twins developed him, he helped them win a World Series in 1987, he won a Cy Young in 1988 and then, as the team started to fade, the Twins traded him to the Mets mid-1989 -- and received a haul that would help them reload for another World Series title in 1991. In exchange for the lefthanded pitcher, the Twins received (among others) Kevin Tapani (a 16-game winner with a 2.99 ERA in 1991), Rick Aguilera (their closer for years to come) and David West (a useful lefthander who had two scoreless appearances in the 1991 ALCS).
3 Brett Favre: This was the grand gamble, the great experiment, the ... well, if it wasn't the greatest story line in Minnesota sports history, tell us what was. The rival quarterback coming to the team he once despised, hoping for revenge on his former franchise and aiming to win a Super Bowl for a Vikings team that had been tantalizingly close oh-so-many times. Minnesota signed the veteran before the 2009 season to a two-year, $25 million deal (they would later add a few million to it for the second year). He responded with 4,202 passing yards, 33 TD passes and only seven interceptions, and he led the Vikings within yet another eyelash of the Super Bowl. But no matter how 2009 ended or 2010 sputtered ... no matter all the drama ... that crazy gamble in 2009 paid off in a huge way for 99 percent of one glorious season.