Vikings: The Vikings might be a better team than the Raiders, but this is a difficult matchup. With Eric Kendricks probably out, Anthony Barr limited, Teddy Bridgewater coming off a concussion, and playing on the road, I think Derek Carr's exceptional season and Amari Cooper's rise continue. I'm picking the Vikings to lose a close one. For Sunday, I have my view of Mike Zimmer. You may like it.

Timberwolves: Zach LaVine is driving a lot of fans crazy. Almost as many as Sam Mitchell, who keeps playing him. My view: This is a building season. By the end of it, the Wolves need to have a clear view of what LaVine is capable of. Keep playing him, Sam.

Twins: It would have been easy to keep waiting for young players from an excellent farm system to fill the Twins' needs. Instead they traded for a potential starting catcher and won the bidding rights to a potential DH. I may be among the few who thinks Miguel Sano will be a very good rightfielder.

Wild: The Wild is 3-0 without Zach Parise. Why? Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker are leading the team's best unit, and Devan Dubnyk has come around. Despite all the goals this team scored in its first few weeks, this is still a defensive-minded team and it has gotten back to that with Parise out.

Gopher football: I have a hunch that the Gophers will play very well at Iowa to show support for Tracy Claeys.


New at Roy Smalley on the Twins' moves, Michael Russo with guest Craig Leipold at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub, Viking Update's Tim Yotter on the Purple, Jon Krawczynski on the Wolves, and my chat with San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami (on Curry, the Warriors, Carr and the Raiders) and ESPN reporter and former Vikings beat writer Bill Williamson on the Raiders.