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Souhan on Sports

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan blog: Failure vs. Lions doomed 2016 Vikings

Now that the Vikings' season is over it's a little easier to see the forest for all the trees that were placed on injured reserve.

Here's the short view of their season:

They didn't make the playoffs because they didn't beat the Detroit Lions.

When the Vikings are good, they almost always beat the Lions. This season they lost two close, should-have-won games to Detroit. Had they won both, they would be 10-6 and in the playoffs for the second straight season. They would be receiving praise for fighting through a difficult season and they would still be seen as a rising power.

With just a little better offensive line play or a few more big plays from the defense in those two games, the Vikings could be receiving national praise.

The two losses to Detroit are what is leaving the Vikings looking like a team that self-destructed.

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Schedule change: The Sports From Hell Show at Hell's Kitchen will be at 4:30 on Thursday instead of 4 on Friday this week because of events at the restaurant on Friday. Please stop by Thursday. That's the only live show this week from MNSPN.COM.

@Souhanstrib

Souhan: Only one good reason to fire Claeys (and don't trade Dozier)

Writing an opinion column for a daily newspaper can be tricky.

I was prepared to rip into the poor leadership of U president Eric Kaler and athletic director Mark Coyle last week before Kaler held a press conference revealing that he had met with the players and that they were no longer going to boycott the Holiday Bowl.

That caused me to pull my punches.

Now we have more information: That the players were fuming when Kaler held his press conference. Now I believe Kaler and Coyle did botch their handling of this situation.

Now they have another chance to flop: With their decision on head coach Tracy Claeys.

If Kaler and Coyle believe that Claeys somehow mishandled the alleged sexual assault, then he may have to go. Short of that, they have little reason to fire him.

Whatever your opinion on Claeys' capabilities, he just went 9-4 and won a mid-level bowl game with an impressive coaching performance. Maybe that gets you fired at Alabama; it's probably deserving of a raise at Minnesota.

So if they fire him, it will because they showed a lack of leadership or because he fired off a poorly-thought-out Tweet.

If they fire him for lack of leadership that would be an epic moment in the history of hypocrisy. If they fire him for a Tweet, they're being short-sighted.

There is only one reason to fire Claeys: If they're sure they can hire someone dramatically better.

Given that the Gophers replaced Glen Mason with Tim Brewster, Joel Maturi with Norwood Teague and Tubby Smith with Richard Pitino, that would be a roll of the dice.

I don't know where Claeys will take this program, but he's a very good defensive coach coming off a reasonably successful season. I say he should stay...unless there is something to the story that we don't yet know.

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Figuring out why the Wild is playing so well is pretty simple. When everyone is overachieving, and when a team is winning without much help from its supposed best player, you credit the coach. Bruce Boudreau deserves all the credit you can heap on him right now.

Most important for the long-term is that the Wild is not dependent on Zach Parise, and if Parise can get healthy and contribute down the stretch, this team could have uncommon forward depth to go with a very deep blue line.

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My position has been that the Twins shouldn't trade Brian Dozier. I don't like the idea of trading an elite player for prospects, not when the Twins are intent on competing as quickly as possible.

This is a different situation than when they traded Chuck Knoblauch for prospects. Knoblauch wanted out, was a pain in the clubhouse, and the Twins weren't expecting to compete for a few years.

If the Twins trade Dozier, they'd better get a minimum of two close-to-can't-miss pitching prospects. The primary failure of recent Twins' trades wasn't the philosophy of trading position players for pitching prospects - it was that the pitching prospects weren't any good. Had Alex Meyer and Vance Worley turned into, say, No. 2 and No. 4 starters, the Twins would be in far better shape. But they didn't.

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Tonight at 4 at Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis, Michael Russo, LaVelle E. Neal III and myself will host Sports From Hell, which can be watched on Hell's Kitchen's Facebook Live page and will be available later in podcast form. After that, we'll run the VikingUpdate Show with Tim Yotter. We'll be on the big stage from 4-5:15 or so. Stop by and say hello.

@Souhanstrib