Sports are cyclical by nature. They are, after all, defined by seasons — not quite winter, spring, summer and fall, but markers of time all the same.
And much like the melting of the snow, the first truly glorious June day, the turning of the leaves and the first snow that sticks around, Minnesota sports have a way of repeating themselves.
Here are five examples we’ve heard pretty much on a yearly basis in recent years — all of them with relevance to the present:
1. Ricky Rubio needs to improve his outside shot: I pondered this one as the NBA trade deadline approaches Thursday and Rubio’s name is bandied about as part of speculation. Shooting is the one thing Rubio really doesn’t do well. It’s a big thing. And it’s been a thing for as long as he’s been a pro.
Maybe he’ll get better someday, but for now there’s this: He’s a career 36.6 percent shooter from the field, and this year he’s at 36.1. He’s a career 30.9 percent shooter from three-point range, and this year he’s at 29.2.
2. Adrian Peterson needs to catch more passes: Ah, yes, this one is a personal favorite. Whether it’s Peterson himself talking about becoming more versatile (as he did last month in his media availability following the end of the season) or coaches talking about creative ways to get him involved in the passing attack, this is a nearly annual story.
Listen: Peterson came into the league in 2007. He’s never caught more than 43 passes in a year. There exists the chance that maybe he is what he is?
3. The Wild needs to avoid a midseason slump: This has been a theme for a few consecutive years and , well, I imagine it will be again next year considering this year’s midseason slump cost Mike Yeo his job and could alter the direction of the franchise.
Every team is going to have a losing streak or a bad week of play. Maybe at some point that’s all the Wild will have?
4. The Twins need to strike out more batters: This has been rehashed in recent seasons, particularly among fans. Here is where the Twins have ranked among MLB teams in strikeouts since 2010 (when they were 25th): dead last every season. I’m not making that up; from 2011-15, the Twins have been last in strikeouts every season.
With some young power arms perhaps joining some experienced veterans, is 2016 the year the Twins break that streak?
5. Why can’t the Gophers be more like Wisconsin? When pointing to the hope that Minnesota could become a perennial football and men’s basketball contender, a recurring idea is to point to the success at Wisconsin and think, “If they can do it there, why not here?”
Joel Maturi didn’t do it. Norwood Teague didn’t do it. Whomever gets the permanent AD job in the coming months will therefore inherit that question.