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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So, the day I write a column about how entertaining the NFL draft and even Rick Spielman are, we have one of the most boring first rounds in memory.
The Vikings' pick was boring, too. Logical, but boring.
Since Spielman hired Mike Zimmer and Zimmer hired Norv Turner, it's remarkable how linked their player evaluation and player development has been.
Zimmer saw a great player in the quite-raw Anthony Barr, and he was right on. Turner ignored Teddy Bridtgewater's horrendous pro day, saw a fine quarterback with a fixable flaw, and he was right on.
Trae Waynes is another player with outstanding physical skills who Zimmer thinks will fit his system and approach. Zimmer has built enough credibility that it's difficult to question him.
I'm sure Spielman wanted to trade down and pick up extra picks. I'm also sure that every other team picking from 10-20 would have traded down, meaning Spielman had no viable trade partners. So he took a player with whom he was comfortable, and with whom Zimmer wanted to work.
Not exciting, but it fits the Vikings' plan.
Wasn't there, but I was told that the NFL draft in Chicago was a little awkward. Nothing happening in the arena between picks. A lot of quiet, interrupted by booing of Roger Goodell.
Even though it's a TV event, the NFL should find a way to make it more of a party for those who show up in person. Every team does it these days. Why can't the league?
I picked the Wild to beat the Blues in seven, and it turns out I was a pessimist.
I'm picking the Wild to beat Chicago in six, mainly because I think if the Wild is going to win it has to follow a certain blueprint: Win one of the first two, win both at home, survive a Game 5 loss and win GAme 6.
The Blackhawks are still a superior team of skaters, but Devan Dubnyk gives the Wild a tremendous advantage in goal over the Hawks' duo.
An interesting Twins' development: It seems that every time manager Paul Molitor rests a slumping player, that player returns with a better swing and approach. Danny Santana, Kennys Vargas, Brian Dozier...Credit Tom Brunansky and Molitor, two very different hitters who seem to have the players' attention.
Today at SouhanUnfiltered.com, Strib hockey writer Michael Russo will be doing a live podcast from Chicago this afternoon. We'll tweet out the time later after we attend the Wild's morning skate. Other recent podcasts: Strib basketball writer Jerry Zgoda on the Wolves and North Stars, Strib football writer Master Tesfasion with detailed analysis of the draft, and more Russo. Thanks for listening.
Also, I'll be on 105 The Ticket with Bob Sansevere at 3:30 this and every weekday afternoon.
Good get by ESPN's Ben Goessling, landing the Adrian Peterson interview.
Peterson told Goessling that he's not thrilled with the way the Vikings handled his suspension, and uneasy about the idea of wearing purple again.
That's a problem, in two ways.
First, it means that the Vikings may not be able to keep a very valuable player. I have a hard time believing Peterson will refuse to play next season in Minnesota, but his attitude could complicate the situation, or at least the relationship between team and player.
Second, it means that Peterson suffers from a syndrome a Twins employee long ago referred to as the ``Princess and the Pea'' problem. Peterson has been praised so often in his life, has been such a success, that the idea of someone questioning his character is not only repugnant to him, it's foreign to him. Instead of recognizing that the Vikings have to answer to sponsors, fans and the NFL at large, he wants to hold Vikings bosses responsible for not supporting him more fully. That is a special kind of entitlement, a special kind of crazy.
At this point, given all of the possible permutations, I've come around to believing that what's best for the Vikings is simply to pay Peterson's full salary next season, and try to win while he's still in his prime. My original position was that Peterson should be punished severely...and he was. Losing 15 games, virtually a full season, of his prime is a stern punishment for a despicable act.
All Peterson has to do now is appreciate that key Vikings figures want him back, understand the predicament he put them in, and go back to being a great player who will have to face a protest or two. It's that simple.
If Peterson can't see that, he needs to improve the quality of his entourage, and of his thinking.
Got a little blowback for praising the Wolves' acquisition of Kevin Garnett.
I would not be defending the trade of Thad Young for KG in basketball terms. Young is a useful player in his prime. Garnett is a formerly great player nearing the end.
I'm praising it because basketball doesn't really matter right now in the Timberwolves' world. The games are meaningless. All that matters right now is developing Andrew Wiggins, and encouraging him to believe that, if and when he becomes a superstar, he has reason to considering staying in Minnesota and trying to win championships here.
Garnett isn't the only person who can make that argument to Wiggins. But he may be the only person Wiggins would have reason to listen to on that topic.
Tonight, the SouhanUnfiltered.com podcast is live at O'Gara's Bar and Grill off Snelling, at 4:30 with guest Bob Sansevere. (I'm also doing daily radio hits with Bob on 105.1 The Ticket at 3:30 each afternoon.)
My band, The Bar Chords, will play at O'Gara's Shanty at 7:30 or so, and live karaoke starts at 9 with Le Bang. Stop by and say hello.
You can listen to this and all podcasts live or later at SouhanUnfiltered.com, or at IHeartradio via Souhan-Unfiltered. (note the hyphen)
The Vikings' promotion of Kevin Warren to chief operating office is probably a good move.
I can't offer a more definitive opinion because most of what behind-the-scenes NFL executives do remains...behind the scenes. If Warren were a great or terrible administrator, we may never know, and his performance might not ever affect the team's on-field performance.
This much I do know:
When the Vikings held consecutive press conferences last September to address their handling of Adrian Peterson's case, the only person who took the podium who seemed capable of offering a measured and nuanced statement was Kevin Warren.
That makes this promotion understandable and perhaps vital.
As I've written many times, the Vikings have grown into a big-league organization. However the Wilfs handle business in New Jersey, they have been good NFL owners. They have supported the franchise financially, pushed to win, yet been loyal to key employees through difficult times.
The Vikings have become excellent in terms of fan relations and media relations. They have engaged with their great players of the past, although I've heard from some former players that they could do even better in that regard.
What they have lacked in recent years is a key executive who could handle the inevitable difficult press conferences. GM Rick Spielman is personable in small groups and one-on-one but looked like he was being electrocuted during his press conference about Peterson last year. He and coach Mike Zimmer are football guys who should not be expected to handle a press conference on a topic as sensitive to the public and sponsors as child abuse.
Warren can handle that. He gives the Vikings a chance to look as professional on the podium as they have become in other aspects of their business.
I'll be appearing every afternoon at 3:30 on 105.1 The Ticket with Bob Sansevere. Catch my podcasts, including the last few with Michael Russo and Roy Smalley at SouhanUnfiltered.com. Thank you.
Twin Cities sports fans Let's enjoy today.
We wake to one of the best sports days of the year - NFL championship Sunday - after a day during which the Timberwolves, Wild, Gopher basketball team and Gopher hockey team all won.
While we can, let's cite a few positive developings in our winter of discontent:
-Andrew Wiggins keeps getting better. The Wolves' incompetence has given him and opening, and he has walked right through it, becoming more assertive as an NBA rookie than he ever was at Kansas.
-The Wild's trade for goalie Devan Dubnyk has paid off instantly. I believe the Wild would have been better off losing big this year, securing a high draft pick and resetting for next season, but Dubnyk has been better than expected. Maybe the positive development here is that the Wild gets to give Dubnyk a full tryout and decide whether he can become their goaltender of the future.
-It's been a terrible season for Gopher senior Andre Hollins. Saturday, he hit 7-of-10 three-pointers, and the Gophers won. That link shouldn't surprise. College basketball might be the most overanalyzed game in existence. The team that hits shots usually wins.
-Gopher hockey has been a disappointment. Saturday, the Gophers earned a blowout victory over a bad Wisconsin team.
As I wrote about in the Sunday paper, the four coaches and four quarterbacks in the NFL title games today all offer wildly different resumes. You never know who the next great quarterback or coach is going to be.
Strangely, of the four great or potentially great quarterbacks playing today, I think I'm most fascinated by Russell Wilson. Being a short, scrambling, running quarterback with average receivers is not supposed to be a formula for success in the modern NFL, but Wilson has made it one. He makes the right play at the right time, and is not only the best running quarterback in the NFL, he may be the only one who seems to know exactly how to avoid big hits.
Enjoy today...and yesterday.
Latest podcasts at SouhanUnfiltered.com: Strib hockey writer Michael Russo, former Viking Leo Lewis (who recalled that he and his father were both cut by Bud Grant), Twins GM Terry Ryan...and a lot of other fascinating people.
By Jim Souhan
Miami Gardens, Fla.
In an attempt to make sure Teddy Bridgewater experiences all there is to experience in an NFL season, the Vikings on Sunday attempted an onside kick from their own 20 yard line.
It was that kind of day for the Vikings. Bridgewater often played brilliantly, but failures on defense and special teams led to a 37-35 loss at Sun Life Stadium, meaning the Vikings will finish under .500 for the second straight season.
Without much time to throw Bridgewater completed 19-of-26 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. His only interception came on a ball that Matt Asiata bobbled into the air. But he’ll get credit for a ``quarterback loss’’ because the Dolphins shredded the Vikings’ defense, scoring touchdowns on five consecutive possessions.
The Vikings’ remaining goal: To avoid going winless in the NFC North on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium against the Bears.
Head to SouhanUnfiltered.com to hear my podcasts, including chats with Chad Greenway and Jarius Wright.
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