Three local teams, all of which have made the playoffs in the past two seasons. Three sports. One story line.

In 2022-23, the Timberwolves and their trade for Rudy Gobert became fodder for jokes on national basketball shows.

In 2023-24, the Wolves lead the Western Conference.

In 2022, the Vikings won 13 games in Kevin O'Connell's first year as a head coach.

In 2023, the Vikings won seven games while ending their season with a four-game losing streak.

In 2022, the Minnesota Twins won 78 games as their roster disintegrated down the stretch.

In 2023, the Twins won 87 games, were a dominant team in the second half, and won their first playoff series since 2002.

What factor made these teams successful, or not?

The Wolves didn't change management or coaches, yet dramatically improved.

The Vikings had the same key people in place for 2023 as they did in 2022.

The Twins didn't fire their general manager or manager, or sign a major free agent, to spur success.

The common denominator among these three franchises and their divergent seasons is obvious, and it has nothing to do with in-game coaching or altered management philosophies:

It's health.

The Timberwolves spent most of the 2022-2023 season without their second-best player, Karl-Anthony Towns. That not only robbed them of scoring and rebounding, it delayed the development of a cohesive team.

Gobert never looked fully healthy last season. This year, he's sprinting the length of the court for dunks and defending the three-point line.

Towns' health and Gobert's dynamism have made the Wolves a championship contender.

The Vikings won six fewer games in O'Connell's second season than they did when he was a rookie. He had a better defensive coordinator, Brian Flores, in his second season than in his first.

The difference in the past two Vikings teams wasn't coaching. The variable was health.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins played in eight games. Star receiver Justin Jefferson played in 10. Tight end T.J. Hockenson missed the last two-and-a-half games. Edge rusher Marcus Davenport, the Vikings' biggest free-agent signing, played in two games.

If those four had averaged 14 games played instead of nine, the Vikings would have made the playoffs.

Which brings us to pitchers and catchers reporting to Fort Myers, Fla., and the most realistic expectations for the 2024 Twins.

They were devastated by injuries in 2022.

They were hampered by injuries early in 2023, but their ability to build a dynamic bench, spearheaded by Willi Castro, and their improved pitching depth kept them afloat until their organizational depth — in the form of Royce Lewis, Edouard Julien and Matt Wallner — arrived in invigorating fashion.

Reasonable health would push this year's team into the realm of 90-plus victories and another division title.

Their starting pitching depth will be tested.

Their bullpen is talented and deep.

As for position players, it's possible, with reasonable health, that the Twins could be better at almost every position this season, with the possible exception of right field, where no one knows what to expect of the latest version of Max Kepler.

Catcher: Now that Ryan Jeffers has established himself as a No. 1 catcher, he should get more at-bats. Last year, Christian Vázquez had 355 plate appearances and a .598 on-base plus slugging percentage. Jeffers had 335 plate appearances and an OPS of .858. More at-bats for Jeffers improves the lineup.

Third base: Royce Lewis is a budding star. Last year, he had 239 big-league plate appearances. With reasonable health, he'll more than double that this season.

Shortstop: Carlos Correa played through plantar fasciitis and, not surprisingly, produced the worst full-season OPS (.711) of his career. An average Correa season at the plate dramatically upgrades the Twins' offense and ability to punish lefthanded pitchers.

Second base: Julien had 408 plate appearances and produced the fourth-best OPS (.839) on the team. He outperformed Jorge Polanco. Julien needs to improve in the field but he is an offensive upgrade.

First base: A virtual platoon of Carlos Santana and Alex Kirilloff should provide depth and quality at-bats to a position that was in flux, or relatively unproductive, for much of last season, and Santana becomes their best-fielding first baseman.

Left field: Matt Wallner had 254 plate appearances and the second-best OPS on the team. More at-bats should give the lineup a boost.

Center field: If Byron Buxton can play center field at full speed, he could go from frustrated DH to superstar.

If — all together now — he's healthy.