We’re not far removed from an alarmingly nice month of September weather, and so far October in Minnesota has been great as well.
(No, you’re not reading the weather page. This is sports. Hang tight.)
The point is, dear sports fan, you’re probably not (yet) thinking about a cold-weather getaway. But I want to plant a seed for mid-December because 1) it will get cold, 2) now is a great time to plan travel even if it’s not cold yet and 3) there is a perfect opportunity awaiting in Phoenix.
By some serendipity of schedule-making, the Vikings, Wild and Timberwolves are all playing road games against Phoenix-area teams in a four-day span between Dec. 10 and Dec. 13.
A long weekend just as the weather starts to get nasty, in a warm-weather area, to see three Minnesota teams? Yes, this a real thing. Here are the details and my recommendations (and yes, Arizona doesn’t observe daylight savings so in the winter the time difference is only 1 hour):
Part 1: Vikings at Cardinals — 7:25 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, (6:25 p.m. Phoenix time). Watch Teddy Bridgewater and Carson Palmer duel in the desert, a game that could have NFC playoff implications. By my calculations the Vikings could be 7-5 when this game arrives. If they have any hope of making a late-season run at the Packers, this game will be big.
Part 2: Wild at Coyotes — 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 (7 p.m. Phoenix time). If you’re lucky, the Wild won’t be in the midst of its annual December swoon that has (at least for the past two years) brought about questions about Mike Yeo’s job status. The Wild beat the Coyotes in all three meetings last season.
Part 3: Wolves at Suns — 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13 (1:30 p.m. Phoenix time). I’m guessing the Wolves will enjoy this road trip far more than the Suns will enjoy the Jan. 17 game in Minneapolis. That’s just a hunch.
Details and cost: The beauty is you can do this with just a long weekend. Fly in Thursday early afternoon to get to the Vikings game. Take an evening flight home after the Wolves game Sunday. Nonstop flights in the times you need are about $500 right now. Count on $200 for car rental and $400 for three nights of hotel, though if you go with a group those costs will be split.
You can “get in the door” to all three games for about $100 total per person, but if you’re going to go all that way you’ll want at least decent seats. Figure on $300 total ($150 for Vikings/Cardinals, $75 each for Wild and Wolves).
So let’s say you have a group of four friends, two people to a room: $500 flight, $50 each for car, $200 each for lodging and $300 each for game tickets. I can think of worse ways to spend a little over a grand in December.