It is a time of transition in sports, a gentle fade from the pandemonium of late winter and early spring to a more casual pace. We will feel it even more acutely whenever the Wild's postseason ends.

This time of year gives us a chance to pause and reflect — to think a little more big picture about the teams and stories that define the Twin Cities market.

So here are five things I've been thinking about, that are worth your attention as the months go on:

1. Can the Wild really make a deep run in the playoffs?

This is the big one on everyone's mind heading into a massively important Game 5 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild is absolutely built to make a long run in the postseason, but its own deficiencies on special teams plus the structure of the playoffs are reasons for concern.

It feels like the Wild has the edge against St. Louis based on how the series has played out so far and knowing two of the last three (if necessary) are at home, but hockey is strange and the Blues are good. Awaiting the winner of the series is Colorado, which just swept Nashville.

And if not this year for the Wild, then when? Minnesota will always have a chance as long as Kirill Kaprizov and other core players are here, but the salary constraints will tighten next year with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts hitting hard.

2. Are the Lynx just starting slow again, or are they not very good this season?

The Lynx started 0-4 last season, and the tendency was to wonder if their streak of playoff appearances was in jeopardy. Then they won 22 of their final 28 regular-season games to again look like one of the WNBA's best before a quick playoff exit against Chicago.

This year's team has started 0-2 and looked pretty ragged doing it. They're loaded up with veterans for Sylvia Fowles' final season, but they've also made some curious roster decisions in jettisoning Layshia Clarendon and 2020 Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield just before the season started.

A team that has made the playoffs 11 years in a row and won four titles, all under head coach/GM Cheryl Reeve, gets the benefit of the doubt. But let's just say there is some early doubt, nonetheless, from Lynx faithful.

3. The Vikings seem to have a significant edge this season, but how much is it really worth?

It was interesting to me that the recent announcement of the Vikings' game against the Saints in London confirmed that the neutral site game is, in fact, counting as a Saints home game.

That means the Vikings, in this unbalanced new 17-game NFL world, have nine true home games in 2022, just seven true road games and the game in London.

That would seem to be a significant edge for the Vikings, who had just eight home games last season. They went 5-3 at U.S. Bank Stadium but 3-6 away from home as they missed the playoffs. If they can go 6-3 at home this year, split their road games and take the game against the Saints on neutral turf, they would be a 10-win team and likely in the playoffs.

But home-field advantage in the NFL overall — and in sports in general — has been greatly diminished in recent years. Some of it was the COVID year when attendance was limited or nonexistent, but some of it comes as a result of teams getting smarter about travel, rest and recovery. Home teams in the NFL were barely over .500 in 2021 after being under .500 in 2020.

Whether the Vikings get a true edge from those extra home games will tell the story of 2022. We'll get a full picture of the order of their schedule when it is revealed Thursday.

4. Will the Timberwolves keep rising or will they stall?

The Wolves doubled their win total from 23 to 46 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18. Most of their best players are either on the rise or in their prime. One might think they could take another step forward in 2022-23 and compete not just for a playoff spot but for a top-four (or at least top-six) finish in the West.

But they have huge offseason questions. Will they attempt to trade D'Angelo Russell, or will they concede he is too valuable to their success even after his playoff struggles? Will Karl-Anthony Towns sign a massive extension? Can they meaningfully add to the roster regardless of what happens with Russell and Towns?

The West will be better next season as teams reload and regain health. The Wolves, who avoided catastrophic injury last year, will need to improve just to keep pace.

5. How sustainable is the Twins' strong start?

As surprising as the Twins' recent hot streak and surge into first place in the AL Central has been, the caveat is this: Per ESPN, they entered Tuesday having played the fourth-easiest schedule in MLB.

That will change somewhat this week with series against Houston and Cleveland, but after that it's back to a bunch of games against Oakland, Detroit and Kansas City — something Phil Miller and I talked about on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast.

Without a dominant opponent in the division, the Twins should be able to at least hang around the race. But we will get a better sense for how their surprisingly good pitching will hold up once they face better teams.

Pay particular attention to June 3-12, when they have nine straight games against the Blue Jays, Yankees and Rays.