It’s hard not to wallow in Sunday’s Vikings loss, and it’s going to be even harder as signs of a Minneapolis Super Bowl between the Eagles and Patriots dominate the region for the next week-and-a-half.
But pretty soon it’s going to be time to move on. Maybe you need an extra minute or two, but I say the time is now. It’s over. It happened. Even if you can’t yet appreciate how good this Vikings season was in totality, maybe you can appreciate that there are plenty of other good sports story lines to occupy your attention right now.
In short: It’s time to go all-in on the Timberwolves, Wild and Twins (and of course the Lynx, but you should have been all-in on them for the last seven years).
The Timberwolves are tied for the third-best record in the Western Conference at 31-18, having just won two very important games against Toronto and the Clippers while Jimmy Butler and Jamal Crawford are out with injuries.
Andrew Wiggins, a liability at times earlier this season, started to improve his all-around game around the time the Wolves took off about a month ago. And in these last two games, with Butler and Crawford out, he’s been magnificent. If Wiggins can sustain anything close to that level of play when Butler returns to the starting lineup — maintaining his aggressiveness and efficiency even with another primary wing scorer on the floor — the Wolves will be dangerous.
Dangerous this season is relative given just how good Golden State remains, but it’s not unrealistic for the Wolves and their fans to set their sights not only on making the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04 but also winning a series.
The Wild is finally healthy enough and playing with the kind of urgency that has it back at least in the playoff conversation. Minnesota is 8-2-2 in its past 12 games, keeping pace with other red-hot Western Conference playoff contenders while slipping past some others.
The Wild is seeking its sixth consecutive playoff appearance. Three of those ended in the first round. The other two ended in the second round. But in the NHL, getting into the postseason means you have a chance. The Wild is trending in that direction right now.
The Twins have made some mid-level moves to shore up their bullpen, signing Addison Reed, Fernando Rodney and Zach Duke this offseason. That combined with even a serviceable rotation and the continued progression of a very good young lineup should be enough to put the Twins in contention for at least another Wild Card berth in 2018.
The real prize, though, is a potential splash move at the top of the rotation. The Yu Darvish sweepstakes could be decided soon, and the Twins are one of a handful of teams in the mix to sign him. If they are able to pull that off, or even if he signs elsewhere and they are able to sign a starter on the next free agent tier level, their ability to truly contend would be greatly boosted.
Maybe the Vikings sting is still too fresh and you only view this attempt at optimism as another likely opportunity to have your heart broken.
It’s your choice, but what’s the point of being a fan if you aren’t going to care deeply about a team?