Rand: Things have been worse for the local teams

  • Updated: July 23, 2014 - 7:40 PM
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The Wild’s Erik Haula celebrated with fans after scoring against the Blackhawks in the playoffs last year.

Photo: JEFF WHEELER ‘ • jeff.wheeler@startribune.com,

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These are not the best days, collectively, for the Timberwolves, Twins, Vikings and Wild, but these are not the worst in recent memory. That honor goes to the spring of 2011, when the Timberwolves completed a 17-win season under Kurt Rambis, the Wild trudged to a playoff-free season, the Vikings tore up an aging roster after a disastrous 2010 and the Twins went from good to awful overnight.

Indeed, three years after that nadir, those four teams are at various stages of rebuilding — but the four combined offer four of the most compelling types of stories that keep fans interested:

• Team: Wild. Type of story: Well-built team aiming for the next step.

Any team that makes the playoffs in this market is going to be celebrated, but mix in an owner willing to spend with a good core of young talent and you suddenly have a team that can capture the imagination of fans with nothing more than on-ice play.

• Team: Wolves. Type of story: Potential trade of a superstar for young, intriguing pieces.

The Wolves haven’t participated in the playoffs in a decade. They play in a brutal conference. And they are on the verge of losing the second-best player in a 25-year franchise history. So why is my e-mail flooded with messages from intrigued fans wondering about a Kevin Love trade? Because trade stories offer the dual seductions of mystery and potential. Add in that the past two No. 1 overall picks could be part of a deal and we’re off the charts with speculation and interest, even if the Wolves figure to take a step back in the short-term.

• Team: Vikings: Type of story: New coaching regime ready to start over with revamped roster.

Mike Zimmer is 0-0 as an NFL head coach, and that’s a powerful position heading into the opening of his first training camp with the Vikings on Thursday. “Let’s see what Zimmer can do with the defense” and “When will Teddy Bridgewater start at quarterback” are talking pieces to keep even the most cautious fan occupied.

• Team: Twins. Type of story: Young players on the verge of making an impact.

Admittedly, this one is getting harder to buy and sell when a lot of youngsters are slumping (Oswaldo Arcia), fighting constant injuries (Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano) or stuck in Triple-A while others get called up (Alex Meyer, Trevor May). But the Twins fan who can keep an eye on the long-term prize can still find solace and even genuine excitement about the future.

Michael Rand

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San Francisco 2 Bottom 6th Inning
Kansas City 3
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
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Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
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Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 90 FINAL
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Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 91 4th Qtr 1:00
Memphis 93
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 100 4th Qtr 9:57
San Antonio 78
Portland 16 1st Qtr 3:00
LA Lakers 15
Phoenix 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 4 3rd Prd 5:30
Pittsburgh 2
Washington 1 2nd Prd
Edmonton 1
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Anaheim
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
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Virginia Tech
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(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
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Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Chivas USA 0 2nd Half
Real Salt Lake 1
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
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