Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where you can never bee too far out in front of the news. Let’s get to it:
*Here’s an interesting nugget from the SI media podcast that was posted on Wednesday: Host Jimmy Traina and guest John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal were talking about the NFL schedule and specifically Thanksgiving games, when Traina asked Ourand about the nightcap finale of the three-game slate.
“I didn’t actually write about this but I have heard that Minnesota vs. Philadelphia is one that’s in play,” Ourand said around the 32 minute mark, adding later: “It’s not dead set, but I’m told that it’s pretty likely.”
What’s particularly interesting is that it would be a home game for the Vikings, and it would mark the first time Minnesota has hosted a Thanksgiving game. Dallas and Detroit traditionally had a monopoly on Thanksgiving home games. The Vikings have played eight times on Thanksgiving, all on the road against one of those two teams, compiling an impressive 6-2 record in the process.
In 2006, the NFL added a third game on Thanksgiving with the home team rotating between all the league teams. The Vikings haven’t had a home game yet, but it sounds as if that is likely to change on Nov. 28 this year.
Keep in mind, however, that “likely” is not a guarantee. The Vikings and Eagles in a March 2018 report were slated to be the opening game of the 2018 season, but they didn’t actually end up playing until Week 5.
(Thanks, by the way, to longtime blog reader/commenter @fasolamatt for the tip on this one).
*If the men’s college basketball season ended today, the Gophers would likely be an NCAA tournament team. CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm projects them as a No. 9 seed right now in the South, facing No. 8 Butler in the first round.
That said, there are a lot of toss-up games remaining on the Gophers’ schedule — many that would fall into the category of “bad loss” or “good win,” but none that will be easy. Wednesday at Nebraska is a good example. The Huskers have an RPI of 111, but a win at Nebraska is a tough proposition.
The Gophers have similar road games at Rutgers and Northwestern later in the 20-game conference slate. Some combination of four more regular-season wins would bolster Minnesota’s resume. Do the math, and you realize how important tonight’s game is.
*Blowing a two-goal lead at home to a mediocre Eastern Conference opponent and losing in regulation is not the path to the postseason. The Wild is now 1-4-2 since the all-star break. Thanks to the extreme mediocrity of the second-tier of the Western Conference, the playoffs are still very much within reach. But it’s setting up to be a strange trade deadline in two weeks.
*I’m not sure this constitutes a blockbuster, but per ESPN’s Adam Schefter the Ravens are going to trade Joe Flacco to the Broncos for a mid-round draft pick.