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Souhan on Sports

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan: On Teddy and Johnny Football

I've always been fascinated by myth-making and unintended results in sports.

When I first started covering the Twins in 1993, I remember looking back at Andy MacPhail's signing of Jack Morris and Chili Davis, and having MacPhail tell me that he had actually targeted Mike Boddicker and Kirk Gibson.

The Twins would not have won the World Series in 1991 had they signed their original targets.

Which leads us to the Vikings' draft in 2014.

They chose Anthony Barr with the ninth pick. They did very well there.

Reports on draft day - including one from my buddy Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press - indicated that the Vikings then tried to trade up into the first round to take Johnny Manziel. He wound up going at No. 22 to the Browns. Then the Vikings traded for the 32nd and last pick in the first round to take Bridgewater.

I still think Manziel can be a very good NFL player if he can learn to regulate his life away from football. But while Bridgewater has not been brilliant this season, he turned out to be the better pick to date.

The Browns are a mess and so is their supposed franchise quarterback. The Vikings winding up with Bridgewater has allowed them to get to 7-3 this year and to stop spending assets on the quarterback position.

Manziel still might have a higher ceiling than Bridgewater, but Bridgewater turned out to be the much safer pick.

-Krawczynski and I discussed Andrew Wiggins, the Wolves, the Warriors and Kevin McHale's firing on The You Betcha Basketball Show at Also up this week: My interview with Justin Morneau and MalePatternPurple with Tim Yotter on the Vikings. We'll put out the Russo-Souhan Show on Thursday and Roy Smalley's Chin Music, in which he talks about hanging out with Paul and Linda McCartney on his honeymoon, on Friday.

-Today at 3 p.m. Michael Russo and I will be at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub before the Wild game to do our show live, with live questions and giveaways. Please stop by.


Souhan blog: You can't coach around bad offensive line play

Snapshots from the weekend and for the week ahead:

1. Every time the Vikings lose - and I've had a lot of experience with this, covering the team since 1990 - I hear and see people blaming the coaching. Especially the offensive coordinator. Let's get this straight - you can't coach around bad offensive line play.

This isn't an offense based on throwing a dozen wide receiver screens. It's an offense based on power running and downfield passing. If you're Norv Turner, you can't go into a game expecting your offensive line to collapse. And once it does, you can't change to all three-step drops and screen passes. That won't work against an intelligent team. Sometimes football is more about blocking and tackling than schemes.

2. I'm not surprised Tubby Smith gloated about beating Richard Pitino. But let's think about that sentence. Tubby Smith, a former national champion coach, is now gloating about beating the lowly Gophers in an early-season tournament in a fifth-place game.

Isn't that a little sad? Doesn't that speak to the lack of expectations that Smith has had for himself and his programs since he left Kentucky?

3. The Gopher football team has a good chance to beat Wisconsin on Saturday and go to a bowl. While we're all sick of 6-6-ish seasons and minor bowls, that would be a nice finish to a tumultuous season and a credit to Tracy Claeys for keeping the team together.

Wisconsin's offensive line is a mess. The Badgers aren't running the ball well, and still aren't throwing it well. This should be a highly favorable matchup for the Gophers.

4. The Vikings have yet to beat a good team this year, and they may not have to on Sunday. The Falcons are a mess. If the Vikings had beaten the Packers, I would have thought that Atlanta was a trap game for them. Having lost to the Packers, now I expect the Vikings to bounce back.

5. New podcast this morning at with Justin Morneau. He told me the story behind Torii Hunter's punch, how he wants to finish his career and about his good times in Minnesota.

You can subscribe on ITunes or download the ap at, or just listen with one click at Thanks.


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