Sports highlight shows tend to be jam-packed with touchdowns, goals and dunks.
They tend to be less-packed with solid three-and-outs, consistent zone clearances and efficient on-ball pressure.
All of those things — flashy or steady — can win games. With Minnesota sports teams lately, it is the latter. Looking for a common thread that explains a lot of the winning happening around here in the last few weeks? It's defense, as Patrick Reusse and I talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast.
Let's look at five prominent team with at least one key stat to show how each is thriving on defense:
Timberwolves: It's only two games. Against two bad teams. Repeat that mantra. But also be encouraged by this: Through two games, the Wolves lead the NBA in defensive rating, allowing 91.5 points per 100 possessions in wins over Houston and New Orleans.
They've done it with solid positioning and also by leading the NBA in steals (an absurd 15.5 per game) and blocked shots (10 per game).
The tests will get stiffer — like, say, at the defending champion Bucks on Wednesday — but for now a team that finished 28th, 20th, 24th and 25th the last four years in defensive rating is leading the whole league and taking Chris Finch's defensive urgings seriously.
Wild: Wait, a team that has allowed five goals in two of its last three games is good on defense? Yes.
If we look at 5 vs. 5 data, the Wild is tied for second in the NHL in fewest expected goals allowed (7) and is No. 1 in the league in Fenwick (a measure of puck possession). If the Wild can smooth out a few things, maintaining its winning ways should be possible.
Vikings: End-of-game situations have been a chore, but overall defensively the Vikings have been much better than last year. Pro Football Focus has them No. 4 in their overall defensive grades — aided by the No. 5 pass rush — while Football Outsiders lists the Vikings sixth in their DVOA defensive ratings.
Gophers football: Minnesota was torched for 45 points against Ohio State in its opener and gave up another 26 the next week to Miami (Ohio). Since then, though, the Gophers have allowed just 66 points in five games — four wins and the 14-10 loss to Bowling Green. That's an average of just 13.2 per game, and it includes a shutout of Colorado.
Minnesota United: The Loons are clinging to a playoff spot in the West largely because of their defense. They've scored just 36 goals, tied for fifth-fewest in Major League Soccer. But they've allowed just 38, the ninth-fewest.
We'll see if any of this leads to the oft-repeated notion that defense wins championships.