Reusse: Looking beyond the obvious will reveal local faces of the future

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 6, 2014 - 1:04 AM

The faces of the four major sports franchises in the Twin Cities are Kevin Love with the Timberwolves, Adrian Peterson with the Vikings, Joe Mauer with the Twins and Zach Parise with the Wild.

I would call that the proper order, based on the current level of prominence for all within their sports.

There are qualifiers for the entire group as to their futures here as franchise faces:

Love is seen by a high percentage of both NBA national analysts and Minnesota’s paranoid fans as likely to be gone by the summer of 2015. Peterson went from 2,087 yards rushing to 1,266, and his team went from 10-6 to 5-10-1, from 2012 to 2013. He’s now 29 and in a league that has devalued running backs.

Mauer took a P.R. hit during his injury-ruined season of 2011 and has not recovered his standing as a hometown favorite. Parise is effective more as a relentless worker than as an offensive star, which isn’t the norm for capturing the most attention for a franchise in any sport.

There are obvious candidates to replace these “faces” in the near future:

Ricky Rubio’s much-improved play in recent weeks has him back in line to hold that role if the Wolves have a Love-less future. The Vikings’ fan base already has embraced last year’s rookie receiver and returner, Cordarrelle Patterson, as a better version of Percy Harvin.

Mikael Granlund has been everything in his second season that Wild fans were led to believe they would see from him as a rookie in 2012-13. The one disclaimer to that is he’s going to have to avoid concussions.

As for the Twins, the gap between Mauer’s gigantic popularity of 2010 and a fresh face of the franchise is such it might require the arrival of an instantly productive Byron Buxton in 2015.

For me, there’s another foursome that is going to fill voids over the next year — and to do so with enough flair that we’ll see their names on numerous jerseys in St. Paul, at Target Center, at Target Field and on Sundays at TCF Bank Stadium:

Jonas Brodin: The Wild defenseman was a revelation for his steadiness as a 19-year-old rookie in 2012-13. He started this season with six points in nine games, moving legendary coach Scott Bowman to tell the Star Tribune’s Mike Russo:

“He doesn’t have a gap. He’s such a good skater; if you notice, he’s always up. He doesn’t back up at all. That’s the way the good ones are … like Lidstrom, there’s no room.”

That would be Nicklas Lidstrom, as in perhaps the best defenseman ever to have a long NHL career.

The praise for Brodin declined over the winter. The expert opinion seems to be that he’s fallen off some in his second season. Perhaps, but there remains a big chance that Brodin will use his skating and instincts to give the Wild the best NHL defenseman with a puck to be employed in these parts since Craig Hartsburg (1979-89) with the North Stars.

“Brodin is going to add quite a bit of offense as he matures,” Lou Nanne said. “Don’t expect Hartsburg, though. He was unreal with the puck.”

Gorgui Dieng: Hidden from view for most of his rookie season, the 6-11 center/forward has been a revelation over the past month for the Wolves. Who knew that more was there than a shot blocker? He can play away from the basket, he’s aggressive offensively and on the boards, and he wants to defend.

You can see this already: a future matchup where coach Fred Hoiberg tells Dieng that he’s assigned to Lakers star Kevin Love, and Gorgui goes after him hellbent, until he fouls out trying.

Oswaldo Arcia: Don’t get fixated on the flailing you’ve seen to this point. He doesn’t turn 23 until May 9. He’ll have a 25-home run season for the Twins before he turns 25. The future here is Buxton, Miguel Sano … and Arcia.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close