It was unseasonably warm in the Twin Cities last weekend, the sort of early November weather that helps shorten the intolerable months here.
The leaves on the trees along the Mississippi River had almost all either fallen or turned to gray, but there were a few stragglers hanging on and producing patches of dull color as observed them while crossing a bridge.
Because my broken brain never fully shuts off sports, this contrast naturally made me think of ... the Vikings?
It did. A franchise trying to hold onto the last fading glimpses of the good, while knowing what lies ahead. Sunday's game against Baltimore did nothing to change that notion.
Let that serve as a prelude to some bigger-picture thoughts I have about the six big pro franchises in town. Success and stability often go hand in hand in many aspects of life, and here is how I would currently rank each of those six teams in order of most stable to least stable:
1 Lynx: They've made the playoffs each of the last 11 seasons, all of them with Cheryl Reeve at the helm. They've won four championships. Even with a disappointing first round loss in the playoffs this year, the Lynx are a model of stability even as their roster has changed in recent years.
2 Wild: Minnesota is off to a strong start and looks like it might have the single most transformational player in this market currently on its roster in Kirill Kaprizov. GM Bill Guerin deserves kudos for the decisive direction he has moved this franchise.
3 Minnesota United: Showing just how fragile this list is, the Loons might have dropped a spot or two had they conceded a late goal to the L.A. Galaxy on Sunday and missed the playoffs. But they made it, and now they're in the postseason for the third straight year — a measure of success that Adrian Heath can show all his doubters.
4 Twins: This is a team in roster transition, though not necessarily one in the midst of leadership transition. But 2022 feels like a very important season, which makes their current situation far less stable than it felt just eight months ago.
5 Wolves: Ask me again in a week, and the Wolves might be the least stable. Let's just say it wouldn't stun me if Karl-Anthony Towns trade rumblings pick up if the Wolves fall flat in these next three road games out West. Remember when they were 3-1 and had just beaten the world champs? It feels like forever ago, and it will gain even more distance if they come home 3-9.
6 Vikings: To earn this place, the Vikings check one very important box. Which team in this market feels like it will undergo the most dramatic changes in the shortest amount of time? The answer is the Vikings, unless they find a way to turn their season around.