The Vikings, who just a year before had made it within a whisper of the Super Bowl, had imploded in Year 2 of the Brett Favre experiment and were clearly headed for a rebuild that would produce just three victories in 2011.
The Wild were stumbling through year three of a four-year playoff drought and would fire head coach Todd Richards in 2011.
The Timberwolves were in the midst of a 17-win season, not to be confused with the 15-win season of 2009-10 that preceded it.
The Twins? They finished a glorious first regular season at Target Field just a few months before the calendar flipped to 2011, but they were also swept by the Yankees in the playoffs. It was the warning sign nobody was ready for, one that would predict four consecutive 90-loss seasons starting in 2011.
The Lynx, at the end of 2010, had won exactly one playoff game (and no series) in their entire history. They were a floundering franchise trying to get a foothold in the local market.
Local pro soccer was a mess; the longtime Thunder had been replaced by the Stars, with a murky financial and ownership situation looming as 2010 become 2011.
All of this is a long way of saying: we’ve come a long way in five years.
Five years later, the Vikings head into the regular-season finale with a playoff berth sewn up and a chance to win the division against rival Green Bay. They look like they have found their long-term coach and quarterback, two huge keys in the NFL these days.
The Wild has made the playoffs each of the last three seasons, making it to the second round each of the past two, and appear headed for another postseason berth and shot at Stanley Cup glory.
The Timberwolves appear to have a better foundation for the future than at any point since the first go-round of Kevin Garnett. They are not winning at a big rate yet, but they are greatly improved this year over last and appear to have a chance to legitimately turn the corner.
The Twins, after those four dreadful seasons, had a winning 2015 and, much like the Vikings and Wolves, their best years seem to be ahead of them.
The Lynx? All they’ve done is won three WNBA titles since 2010, going from afterthoughts in the league and in this market to a dynasty to be reckoned with.
Pro soccer went from floundering to solid footing when Bill McGuire bought the franchise and re-branded it Minnesota United. Things took another leap forward in 2015 with the announcement that McGuire’s group had won a bid for a Major League Soccer expansion team. As 2016 beckons, so does work on a new stadium.
It’s hard to say for sure that we’re headed for a golden age in local pro sports, but it’s not hard to say this: compared to where things were five years ago, this feels awfully good — and all indications are that it will only get better.