Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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By trading exchanging draft picks, acquiring Mike Wallace and cutting Greg Jennings, the Vikings essentially traded a fifth tround pick for a seventh-round pick for what they hope will be an upgrade at receiver.
It's worth a shot.
Jennings was a disappointment, overpaid and underproductive. Wallace is younger and faster and was more productive last year.
But there are nuances here.
At the end lf last season, Wallace was feuding with the Dolphins' coaching staff. Jennings, despite having a mediocre season, was often cited by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as the veteran who tended to say the right thing at the right time to him.
I would have made this deal, but there is risk here.
Still, Wallace is 28 and has been remarkably durable. When he played with Ben Roethlisberger, he was one of the NFL's best deep threats. The Dolphins, typical of the mismanagement that has made them mediocre for decades, spent wildly on Wallace, then installed a short-passing attack that rendered his best asset - raw speed - meaningless.
Remember, late last season, when Xavier Rhodes looked like he was developing into one of the best young cornerbacks in the game, Wallace beat him. There is talent here, and the Vikings are clearly banking on Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner better-using Wallace, and commanding more respect than did Joe Philbin.
Now Bridgewater will have three complementary receivers: Wallace as a deep threat and veteran, Charles Johnson as a budding No. 1 receiver, and Cordarrelle Patterson as a catch-and-run threat.
Patterson remains the most intriguing. Last year the Vikings tried to force him to become a professional receiver, and he failed. But he's still capable of winning games playing in the limited role Bill Musgrave used him in at the end of the 2013 season. With Wallace and Johnson on the outside, there really wouldn't be anything wrong with asking Patterson to be an underneath catch-and-run receiver, even if the Vikings will always want him to be mroe than that.
Covering high school hoops tonight, checking at St. Paul Johnson and DeLaSalle at Target Center. Richard PItino is here. So is my favorite basketball junkie, Wolves VP Jeff Munneke.
Latest podcasts (think radio-on-demand) on SouhanUnfiltered.com: Glen Perkins, Michael Russo, and local band The Last Ride, who performed with me at O'Gara's on Friday. Next: 5 p.m. Monday at Kieran's Irish Pub across from Target Center with former Gophers great and NBA analyst Quincy Lewis. We'll break down the NCAA tournament field and the Wolves.
The easy statistic to cite in regards to Andre Hollins' slump is that he has scored fewer than 10 points in four straight games.
That doesn't really, matter, though.
What matters is that in the two games that have mattered most to the Gophers basketball game so far - the two road games to start Big Ten play - Hollins has made only three of his 19 shots.
In the previous two games, the Gophers beat cupcake teams while Hollins played limited minutes, and his scoring wasn't required.
At Purdue and at Maryland, Hollins' leadership and scoring were necessary, and absent.
In two Big Ten games, he is 1-for-9 from three-point range. Perhaps even more revealing, a senior guard known for his ability to get to the basket has attempted only two free throws.
Hollins has been passive and inaccurate, leaving the Gophers at 0-2 heading into Tuesday's game at The Barn against Ohio State.
Tubby Smith was known for slumping seniors, the prevailing theory being that players tired of his coaching style.
Now for the second straight season under Richard Pitino, a senior named Hollins is slumping offensively.
Latest podcasts at SouhanUnfiltered.com are with Strib hockey writer Michael Russo, Wolves' VP Jeff Munneke and Strib NFL writer Mark Craig.
Munneke, one of the nicest people in local sports, told great insider stories about people like J.R. Rider, Christian Laettner, Bill Blair and Sam Cassell.
Rick Adelman has been to the Timberwolves what Tubby Smith should have been for the University of Minnesota. He makes a difference in such obvious ways.
Last night, the Gophers held Wisconsin to 16 first-half points and still found a way to lose, because finding a way to lose is what Tubby's teams have done the last two years.
Last night, the Timberwolves beat a good team on the road, whipping the Clippers in LA with a powerhouse fourth-quarter performance, in part because Adelman has a feel for when to play his players, and because he has tremendously upgraded the Wolves' offensive intelligence and defensive tenaciousness.
Darko is not a good player, yet Adelman has used him to good effect twice against the Clippers, particularly in keeping Blake Griffin from the basket. I know Adelman won't win the coach of the year award, but I'd consider him.
In light of last night's developments, here's my latest high-irrelevant, transparently self-serving Local Power Rankings:
I left the No. 1 slot vacant in my last rankings because I couldn't reward the Wolves when they were playing poorly, and no other local teams had earned this spot. The Wolves, having won five of six, easily reclaim this spot. This is a likeable and surging team.
2. Gopher hockey
Four straight victories: That's impressive, but we all know we're going to judge this team by the way it performs in the postseason.
3. Minnesota Vikings
The last two seasons were abysmal, but I'm seeing signs of hope. The farther I get from last season the more willing I am to give Christian Ponder the benefit of the doubt as a rookie quarterback playing with a limited supporting cast. Add Matt Kalil, then find a starting cornerback and a speed receiver either in free agency or the draft, and this team could quickly make strides, especially if Ponder learns from last season.
4. Minnesota Twins
I don't think this is a good team, but there's no way it can suffer as many injuries as it did last season, and the infield defense is guaranteed to be better.
5. Minnesota Wild
Other than the Nick Leddy trade, I like all of Chuck Fletcher's moves. He's aggressive and forward-thinking and I do believe he's building a winner. I just think the young scorers he's drafted and acquired are going to have to make it to the X before the record will support that assertion.
6. Gopher football
Nothing new here, although I continue to hear from Minnesotans about how much they like Jerry Kill. If that vibe works on recruits, we may have something here.
7. Gopher basketball
And your new last-place team in the LPR: I give you the Minnesota Golden Basketball Gophers.
Tubby Smith loses games he should have won, then blames the administration, or his players, or nightlife in Minneapolis. He did take the blame for one mistake: Moving Blake Hoffarber to the point last year. Otherwise, he's a finger-pointer of the first degree.
He must go. But does the new president and his 98-person advisory committee think he should go?
I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 from Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers with Reusse and Mackey. I'll also be on from the stadium for Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on 1500espn on Sunday morning.
Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.
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