To our readers: Thank you for taking part in our Mailbag Monday this week. Star Tribune columnists received many questions about the teams and leagues we cover, and each writer selected at least two questions to answer on his or her blog.
Former Vikings coach Bud Grant used to say the most important players to the team were QB #1, QB #2, and QB #3. You need decent backups. Your thoughts?- Kerry Knoff via email
A: That’s the tricky part - you don’t know if you’ll need one. Kirk Cousins has been remarkably durable during his career. In a salary cap league, teams have to decide how much money they can afford to invest in one position at the expense of others. Would you rather give a big contract to Danielle Hunter, a star who is on the field for virtually every defensive play, or a backup quarterback who may not play? If a team has salary cap space, paying a quality backup quarterback makes sense. The Vikings don’t have salary cap space. Grant didn’t have to worry too much about salaries those days; players made almost nothing.
Do you think Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas has done a great job?-Leslie Monteiro via email
A: I think he has an ideal background and resume. He was a key figure in a Houston organization that often succeeded in categories in which the Wolves have failed - player development, international scouting, creative thinking. I was impressed by his moves this season, acquiring D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley while ditching onerous contracts. But the Wolves remain a bad team, and at some point over the next few years he’ll have to prove he can turn them into a good team.
I spent zero time prepping or watching or listening to draft coverage. Should I be ashamed of my lack of draft involvement? - @dennissundlie
A: No. The draft is frequently overrated, and most of the players taken, even in the first round, don’t matter as much on the field as you would think by consuming draft coverage. But the NFL draft is a great example of why the NFL is so popular - it gives fans something over which to obsess. Speculation and hope are the greatest drivers of a sport’s popularity, and the NFL draft is all about speculation and hope.
One Twitter follower sent a screen capture of the cover of former Star Tribune writer Jim Klobuchar’s book entitled ``Will The Vikings Ever Win the Super Bowl?’’-@GreenPayBacker
A: Will the Vikings ever win the Super Bowl? Probably. They’re a highly competitive franchise that will break through someday. I can still remember, as a baseball writer, hearing similar questions about the Red Sox and Cubs. The Cubs and Astros were laughingstocks not long ago. Eagles and Saints fans used to think they’d never win one, either.
I’m a lifelong MN fan who grew up in E.P. but now live in Vegas You wrote that the Vikings drafting Antoine Winfield & Tyler Johnson was “not what the team was after.’’ So...you don’t think the Vikings could use an unanimous All-American safety and an uber-productive wide receiver?- @JacksonRKruger
A: The Vikings would have had to take Winfield in the first round, or trade up dramatically in the second round to take a player who would have been stuck behind their current starters. That wouldn’t make sense. Given that the Vikings had a million draft picks and didn’t take Johnson indicates that they didn’t value him as much as Gophers fans would have hoped.
What type of impact do you think Kirill Kaprizov will have upon the Wild when he comes and who would you like to see “mentor” him when he arrives? - @JohnsonfromWisconsin
A: I think adding Kaprizov to a team blessed with Kevin Fiala could make the Wild more exciting than they’ve ever been, and possibly as good as they’ve ever been. I think interim coach Dean Evason has shown he can mentor young players, including Fiala, and should be given the coaching job. I don’t know if Parise is the type to intentionally mentor a young player, but any young forward could learn a lot from his work ethic and grit.
Which Minnesota teams could best be described as ``Born To Run’’ and ``Dancing in the Dark?’’ - @dennissundlie
A: Yes, I’m a cliche. I’m a veteran American sportswriter who loves Springsteen. Born to Run? The 2012 MInnesota Vikings. Adrian Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards and got Christian Ponder to the playoffs. Dancing in the dark? The Timberwolves, when they hired David Kahn to run their basketball operations and he chose Jonny Flynn instead of Steph Curry.
Thanks for all of your questions. -Jim Souhan @Souhanstrib
You can find my podcasts at TalkNorth.com