Welcome to the Tuesday edition of The Cooler, where I’m doing my part to combat the hottest summer in the history of Earth. Let’s get to it:
*It is not exactly a hot take or a revolutionary one to believe the Vikings’ fortunes hinge squarely on the play of quarterback Kirk Cousins, but I still found it interesting to hear the subject batted around on the gambling site VSiN (Vegas Stats and Information Network).
Former NFL executive Michael Lombardi, now with VSiN, was talking with Jeff Sherman — VP of Risk Management for Westgate Superbook — about the intriguing upcoming NFC North Race. The Bears have been installed as slight betting favorites (7 to 4) to repeat as champs, while the Vikings and Packers are at 2 to 1. Detroit is a distant 10 to 1.
Sherman made an initial argument that Green Bay could be a good value bet, but Lombardi countered with a pitch for the Vikings.
Said Lombardi (no relation to Vince): “I think (Gary) Kubiak does wonders. I know Kevin Stefanski will call plays, but I think that offense is ideal for Kirk Cousins. … I think they’re better on the offensive line by far this year.”
Sherman added later: “With Minnesota it’s all going to come down, in my opinion, on Kirk Cousins. I mean they underachieved a bit last year. We’re going to have to see if he’s able to satisfy that contract he got.”
Again, none of this was revolutionary. It was just good July banter that nicely frames what should be an interesting 2019 season and race. Here’s the full exchange:
*Warriors GM Bob Myers told the media Monday that Golden State didn’t sign D’Angelo Russell with the intent of trading him a year from now.
“I know it’s been written and speculated. That’s fine,” Myers said, per ESPN. “That’s what everybody’s job is to do. We didn’t sign him with the intention of just trading him. We haven’t even seen him play in our uniform yet, and a lot of people have us already trading him. That’s not how we’re viewing it. Let’s just see what we have. Let’s see what he is. Let’s see how he fits.”
He definitely sounds like a GM who wants to keep Russell long-term and definitely not like a GM who wants to make sure there’s a strong market next summer and he isn’t getting 80 cents on the dollar because every team assumes Golden State is desperate to trade Russell to unclog its cap. Definitely not.
*Giannis Antetokounmpo is really, really good at baseball. I’m not sure if he’s equally really, really bad at baseball. But maybe?
*Idle thought: Does the NHL need some version of the NBA Summer League to keep interest going in the offseason? Teams do prospect camps already, complete with scrimmages. Why not get organized?
(Or conversely: Is it nice that the league has the decency to give its players, coaches, executive and media something resembling down time in July).