Barring something unforeseen, we can pretty safely guess that none of these local college or pro teams are going to make it into the Elite 8 of their respective sports: Wild, Timberwolves, Gophers men's basketball or Gophers men's hockey. (And no, the final 8 of the NIT doesn't count).
So instead, we propose the creation of our own Elite 8 tournament. The participants: your favorite Minnesota sports teams, college or pro, of the last 25 years. As in, which specific year's team did you enjoy watching and experiencing the most over the last 25 years.
We will accept nominations, though we have a few suggestions of our own:
1987 Twins (World Series champs)
1987 Vikings (Two playoff upsets, reached NFC title game)
1988-89 Gophers men's hockey (NCAA runners-up, WCHA champs, tons of stars)
1989-90 Gophers men's basketball team (went to NCAA Elite 8)
1990-91 North Stars (Improbable run to Stanley Cup finals)
1991 Twins (WS champs)
1996-97 Gophers men's hoops (Final Four, no matter what the records say)
1997-98 Timberwolves (45 wins, KG and Marbury showing major promise, nearly had playoff upset of Seattle)
1998 Vikings (15-1, you know the rest)
2001 Gophers wrestling (First-ever NCAA champs, All-Americans in all 10 weights)
2001-02 Gophers men's hockey (First NCAA title in 23 years, won it all at Xcel Energy Center)
2002 Twins (First playoff team since 1991, only Twins team of era to win playoff series)
2002-03 Wild (Surprise playoff run to Western Conference finals)
2002-03 Gophers men's hockey (NCAA champs again, Thomas Vanek dominates)
2003-04 Timberwolves (MV3, made it to Western Conference finals, No. 1 seed in West)
2003-04 Gophers women's basketball (Final Four run led by Lindsay Whalen)
2006 Twins (Huge turnaround after slow start, thrilling finish to regular season)
2009 Twins (Similar to 2006, but MVP for Mauer)
2009 Vikings (Brett Favre, etc.)
That's 19 teams. You can supply more. Then we need to whittle it down to 8. After that, the real fun begins. And by real fun, we probably mean online voting -- which is more fun than thinking about the lack of any winter teams in the mix this year.