There are two times of great convergence on the sports calendar: late March and early October. The ends of seasons overlap with starts of other seasons — and even those who aren't in-season are often making news.
We are feeling it right now in Minnesota: The Wolves and Wild are about halfway into their seasons, which will go even longer than usual because of a late start. The Twins and Loons are preparing to start their years. The Gophers men's hockey team is gearing up for the NCAA tournament. The Gophers men's basketball team just finished its year but now we are awaiting a coaching hire. The Vikings are in the thick of free agency, to be followed by the draft.
There is no shortage of things to write and talk about, which was reflected on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast. I feel like we covered a lot of ground with Patrick Reusse and Randy Johnson, and still there's so much more we didn't get to.
If you don't see the podcast player, click here to listen.
One thing I mentioned at the end that I would like to expand on here: Three things I am watching for this week with some of the most prominent teams in town.
*Will the Wolves make a trade (or trades) at the NBA deadline? Team President Gersson Rosas made a flurry of moves at last year's deadline, including swaps that brought in D'Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley. The Wolves have been linked to some of the biggest names on the trade market leading up to Thursday's deadline, including Atlanta's John Collins and Orlando's Aaron Gordon.
But the Hawks have won eight in a row, with Collins playing a key role. And Gordon — who has requested a trade — might be better suited heading to a contender than a team with a longer timeline like the Wolves.
Will Rosas nudge his way into the way into the market and come away with an impact deal? Or will the Wolves stand relatively still — relying instead on the impending return in the not-too-distant future for Russell from injury and Beasley from suspension as upgrades to a roster that has played better since the break?
*Can the Wild bounce back from two ugly losses in Colorado? If you were starting to get an itch to plan a Stanley Cup parade route based on the Wild's recent surge, a pair of losses to Colorado in which Minnesota was outshot badly and outscored 11-1 was a reality check.
No, those two games are not representative of the skill and quality of this team. But those games happened and can't be ignored.
Minnesota will get a chance to regain its footing with two games against the lowly Ducks starting Monday. Peeking ahead, though: the first seven games in April are against Vegas, Colorado and St. Louis. Prove-it time is coming.
*How far will the Vikings go to create cap room in pursuit of more free agents? Ben Goessling had a smart look over the weekend at where the Vikings stand in regards to the 2021 salary cap and beyond. They have already deferred some salary cap pain to future seasons when the cap figures to swell thanks to new TV deals.
Goessling wrote: In what might be an all-in year for a triumvirate (General Manager Rick Spielman, coach Mike Zimmer and quarterback Kirk Cousins) that has produced only one playoff appearance in three seasons together, the Vikings might not have a choice but to defer some costs into the future.
Extensions for Harrison Smith and Danielle Hunter would make a certain amount of sense. If they happen, watch how they are structured to know just how much the Vikings are willing to deviate from their typical script in an attempt to stock up in 2021 and save the cap pain for a future date.