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.
Find him on Twitter
Let's be honest. I don't know if Christian Ponder is going to be a star or a bust. You don't know, either. The Vikings' braintrust, which invested countless hours dissecting his film and background and interviewing him and his coaches, don't really know, either.
But if you stop worrying about where draft experts had him ranked, he has a lot going for him.
According to consensus and statistics, he's:
-Personable. (Personality matters for quarterbacks; they have to be leaders.)
-Accurate (he completed 69 percent of his passes as a junior, and 62 percent as a senior.)
The biggest knock on him seems to be durability, but the Vikings say they thought he displayed toughness in trying to play through his injuries.
My column, in the Friday paper, makes this point: We don't know how good this kid is, but if he can play, we are about to be treated to the best drama in sports: The nurturing of a young quarterback.
For now, I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier. I think Frazier knows what makes an NFL player tick, and Spielman is a tireless worker. I think they feel they landed a guy with great strengths and no glaring weaknesses.
I'll say this: I'm much more interested in this team today than I was yesterday.
-Congratulations to Michael Cuddyer for ripping into his teammates today. Somebody had to say it.
I think this will be Cuddyer's last season in Minnesota - he'll be a free agent and is not likely to want to take the kind of pay cut necessary to keep him here - and I'll miss him. He's honest, team-oriented, selfless and has a sense of humor. And he's responsible and accountable. A few of his teammates should take note.
-Joe Mauer wants to remain a catcher? Then he needs to prove he can recover from injuries and stay behind the plate. At some point, the Twins may have to remind him that he's the employee, not the employer.
-I know, I know, the Twins stink right now. They're a rather pathetic group.
Let me just remind you how lousy a team can look and still win something, though. In April of 2006, the Twins were swept by Cleveland early in the season by a combined 17-8. Then they were swept by Chicago by a combined 23-6. Then they were swept by Detroit by a combined 33-1.
That team, of course, won 96 games.
That's not a prediction of future success, merely a reminder that past failures haven't always been terrible omens.
-Ralph Sampson is declaring for the NBA draft?
Then I'm declaring that I'm about to win $1 billion dollars.
-While other NBA teams conduct their coaching searches, the Wolves...are...still...thinking...about...it...very...slowly...so...as...to...create...the...illusion...of...thoughful...ness.
-Upcoming: I'm outta here. Taking my first real adult vacation in a long, long time. I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 tomorrow, then going on a cruise. Tom Pelissero will conduct the Gardenhire Show and Sunday Morning Sports Talk along with my Strib colleague Judd Zulgad. I'm guessing they might talk about the draft.
I'll be back the following Sunday.
My twitter handle is @Souhanstrib. I may tweet from the beach; I may not, but this is a good time to thank y'all for reading, and listening.
Justin Morneau arrived at Twins camp today, then conducted a long, thoughtful interview on the subject of his concussion, recovery and timetable.
He said he won't play in the first four or five games of spring training. Later, I spoke with Twins GM Bill Smith, who told me it might be more like seven to 10 games.
Here's what we know: Morneau has been out of action for more than seven months and remains cautious. I've been optimistic about his eventual recovery all along, because Morneau is a hard worker and great competitor, but this is an obvious sign that the Twins have no idea whether he'll be ready for opening day.
Which is fine. Too often we spend spring trainings obsessing about the opening day roster, and then by June the roster has turned over significantly because of injuries and failures, and is due to be overturned more by midseason trades.
It doesn't really matter whether Morneau is ready on opening day. What matter is that he has a productive season. The Twins' caution is appropriate.
-Star Tribune photographer Carlos Gonzalez is doing a daily photo gallery at startribune.com. You can also find it by following him on Twitter at @CarlosGphoto.
-I'll be on at 2:40 p.m. every afternoon on 1500espn, and will conduct another Sunday Sports Talk from here at 10 a.m. on Sunday, while partner Tom Pelissero will be in Indy at the NFL combine. We're everywhere.
-Too early to give you any impressions about players at spring training. Delmon Young is the only player I haven't seen in the clubhouse so far, but that's not a big deal. I saw him at TwinsFest and he looks like he's in excellent shape
One Twins coach told me today, ``It's fun to see all these young, smiling faces in this clubhouse during workouts, and then see how tight these kids get when the games start.'' So true.
-I'll check in tomorrow, after watching Morneau during his first workout.
-My opinion on the Vikings placing the franchise tag on Chad Greenway: He's a good player, and worth protecting, but if I'm going to pay $10 million to a linebacker, I want to see impact plays. Sacks. Interceptions. Forced fumbles. I'd like to see the Vikings' coaches putting Greenway in position to make more big plays, not just be a cog.
-Kevin Love is a wonderful player, but, man, did he look lead-footed as compared to the other NBA All-Stars. Having great hands doesn't matter much if you can't get to the ball.
-Because of the culture of the team this season, I wouldn't be surprised if the Wild survives Mikko Koivu's hand injury and still makes the playoffs. That's not rational analysis, just a gut feeling.
-The Gophers basketball team should beat Michigan State at home on Tuesday. But do you really trust this team? I don't.
So a beef jerky company drops Ben Roethlisberger? Isn't Roethlisberger the perfect representative of a beef jerky company? Think of the possible slogans. The mind boggles.
-I'm at Target Field tonight. The Wolves play their finale at Target Center, about 8 feet away. Will I attend the Wolves' finale?
Only if you promise me that Mark Madsen will sign a one-day contract and jack up 20 threes.
-Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson is saying that Jermaine Dye isn't signed because of racism.
I wish I could think of a kinder word than ``stupid'' for this...but I can't.
Who got sick of Dye's lousy fielding and erratic hitting and let him go? White Sox GM Kenny Williams, who, last I checked, was black.
As am-1500 personality Phil Mackey pointed out, Jarrod Washburn had the same season as Dye last year - good for four months, horrific for two - and also is unsigned because of unreasonable contract demands.
So...MLB general managers weren't racist when they were signing Dye to huge contracts...but now that he's in decline, they are racists?
-Bud Selig took some heat for saying that it is the ``pace'' of play that detracts from the game more than the actual time of game. But I agree. If the pitcher works quickly, the hitter stays in the batter's box and the game just happens to take 3 1/2 hours, that doesn't bother me.
What bothers me is when a game takes 3 1/2 hours for no apparently reason, other than lackadaisical play.
-I think I've been too hard on Tubby Smith. The Wild had their most disappointing season in history, the Wolves had their worst season in history, the Gopher hockey team had one of its worst seasons ever...compared to those winter sports, Tubby's guys were superstars.
-In case you need one more place to drink before, during or after a game, Hubert's is advertising a Happy Hour. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
-Notice that when the Vikings re-signed Ryan Cook, they announced it during Opening Day at Target Field? Think they wanted that news to fly under the radar?
-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.
With day games today and Thursday, my next appearances on am-1500 will be 2:35 p.m. Friday with Reusse & Souch, and in the 6 p.m. hour with Joe Anderson. Sunday, we'll start with the Gardy show at 9:30 a.m., followed by Sunday Sports Talk til noon.
-Something we didn't see in the Metrodome Part 1,249: Napkins blowing in the outfield, interrupting the game.
-Delmon Young somehow dove for a first-inning liner and missed it entirely, letting it roll to the wall for a double.
He may be a changed man, but I'm still not sure you should play him in day games, if you know what I mean, and I think you know what I mean.
-Lots of people wearing ties in the ballpark today. Lots of people taking long lunch breaks.
-Kevin Slowey threw 30 pitches in the first inning and Mauer had to visit the mound twice. Can we stop comparing him to Radke now?
-I'll check in after the game.
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