Back from vacation, ready for a long football season leading into a Super Bowl blocks from my house.

Two points this morning:

1. I think the Vikings should be a playoff team. But only if the offensive line is competent.

The starting offensive line was hardly that against the Bills, but if my premise is that preseason games are meaningless, this is a good time to remind myself of that.

Good performances in the preseason are meaningless. So are many bad performances.

We're not going to know much about this line or offense until we see the starting group lining up together and dealing with a defense that has prepared a game plan to beat its flaws. And that won't happen until the regular season begins. Which is another reason not to have four - or any - preseason games. You learn nothing.

2. Byron Buxton is 7-for-14 over his last four games. In his last 19 games, he's hitting .371 with a .420 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage for an OPS of.920. He's becoming the player he needs to be for this franchise to take off.

I know fans are still obsessing over the Twins' willingness to sell off at the trading deadline. The reality is that this team will be a true contender, this season and for the next five, only if its best young players thrive. Buxton is proving that. Without Jaime Garcia and Brandon Kintzler, the Twins are winning because of players like Buxton,Eddie Rosario and Kepler.

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Live shows this week from MNSPN.com and Hell's Kitchen: 6 p.m. Wednesday: Russo-Souhan Show followed by...6:45: The Prep Show with John MIllea. Please stop by for one or both. Barb Abney's Music From Hell will follow.

@Souhanstrib

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