Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is working out with Pure Sweat Basketball this offseason to improve various facets of his game, but on Tuesday it was time for some fun.
A YouTube video from his workout showed LaVine — this past year’s NBA Slam Dunk champion — executing various dunks with a different object: a football.
It was enough to make us think about LaVine in a new light … and to wonder what other Twin Cities athletes would be the most intriguing in other team sports:
• Zach LaVine, Timberwolves guard. New position: NFL wide receiver. Watching the video, it wasn’t just that LaVine was able to effortlessly snag long football passes and, in one motion, dunk the ball through the hoop. No, the most impressive thing was how LaVine was able to catch the ball at its highest point — sometimes well above the rim, which is 10 feet in the air. It’s seriously not hard to imagine him as a deep-threat wide receiver in another life. You never know; Mike Zimmer does have an affinity for great athletes.
• Zach Parise, Wild forward. New position: Soccer midfielder. The 5-11 Parise doesn’t have prototypical size for say, the NBA or NFL … but his body type and skill set would mesh perfectly as a soccer midfielder. A good midfielder has to be relentless, creative and unselfish. If you’ve ever seen Parise on the ice, you know he’s all three of those things. He’s a Minnesota guy, and he wouldn’t want to leave the state to join a top soccer league. But with MLS slated to come to Minnesota, the timing couldn’t be better.
• Adrian Peterson, Vikings running back. New position: soccer forward. Let’s face it: Regardless of what you think of Peterson off the field right now, on the field his combination of size, speed and strength would play well in a lot of sports. I could picture him as a physical NHL forward. But even more than that, I could see him as a soccer attacker. Try slowing him down as he barrels toward the goal. I dare you.
• Joe Mauer, Twins first baseman. New position: NFL quarterback. Writes @dwade on Twitter: “The alternate universe where Joe Mauer is the Vikings QB is an obvious one.” Indeed, we are all familiar with Mauer’s multisport prowess and how he gave up a shot to be the quarterback at Florida State to sign with the Twins. There were times in the past decade where the best QB in this market might not have been playing for the Vikings or Gophers.
• Torii Hunter, Twins outfielder. New position: NFL free safety. This was another Twitter suggestion, from @TheGameOnGuru, and I like it. Listed at 6-2, 220, Hunter has plenty of size for the position. And he’s not afraid to throw his body around. Maybe if he ever retires from baseball, he could give it a shot?