Despite a 2-3 mark, Wolves off to an impressive start

Five games into this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have managed to produce their most exciting 2-3 team ever.

Back-to-back victories against defending champion Dallas and perennial playoff participant San Antonio will energize a fan base. And the Wolves’ three losses were by a combined nine points, and two of those losses came against title contenders Miami and Oklahoma City. So it’s been a tough schedule to open.

Kevin Love has been spectacular, averaging more than 25 points and 15 rebounds per game. I know there are still those that disagree, but you can’t tell me he’s not one of the three best post players in the NBA so far.

And of course there’s Ricky Rubio, who is averaging 8.8 points and 6.4 assists per game despite limited minutes. He has been impressive, despite Minnesota being careful with him in the early going. Funny how we haven’t heard much from those arguing a year or two ago that the team should just deal Rubio away because of his reluctance to go to the NBA immediately after being drafted.

I’m not convinced this is a playoff team just yet. Let’s see how the team responds as the schedule lightens up a bit over the next week.

 

Vikings season mercifully ends

I’m back on the blog. First off, I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, what-have-you and a Happy New Year.

I was out of town for a few days over Christmas, and yes I did get everything I wanted. I even bought a gift for myself: a hybrid system that plays Nintendo and Super Nintendo games. An RBI Baseball blog post could be on the way in the not-too-distant future.

The NFL season ended yesterday, and I’m sure many of you are grateful for that. I know cheering for the Chicago Bears this year was especially hard. At 7-3, I thought they were going to the NFC championship again. But I knew the Jay CutlerĀ injury was devastating (his stats don’t do justice to the job that he was doing). The Bears lost five straight without Cutler before beating the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday to finish at 8-8.

Feeling like this right now? Photo by Carrie Snyder / The Forum

And how about those Vikings? They secured the No. 3 pick in April’s draft with a 3-13 record and made sure this was the worst season ever to be a Minnesota sports fan (see this story for explanation of that).

A few random thoughts on the end of the Vikings season:

  • What do you do with that No. 3 draft pick? If I were running the Vikings, I think you take the best player. I’ve heard plenty of people say that they should try to land another QB with that pick, but the Vikings have too many holes to fill to have such a narrow-minded view of needs. And if you can get a boat load of talent for trading down, why not?
  • Jared Allen is a machine. He had a spectacular season – breaking the franchise sacks record – on a really bad team, and he should be applauded for that. Are you standing while you applaud? You should be. And what makes his season more impressive was highlighted during Sunday’s game. Because the Vikings are losing in the fourth quarter more often than not, Allen doesn’t get near the sack opportunities as players on other teams because the Vikings’ opponent is often times running the football.
  • To those saying that Adrian Peterson shouldn’t have been playing in a meaningless Week 16 game, it’s time to get over it. Peterson tore ligaments in his knee during that game and could miss a couple of games early next season. The guy has 16 games a year to earn his paycheck, and if he is medically cleared to play, he should play. And if you’re a fan forking over $500 to take your family of four to a Vikings game, you want the stars to be out there.
  • And finally, Sunday’s game marked the end to an impressive 13-year NFL career by Carrington, N.D., native and former UND standout Jim Kleinsasser. The scene at the start of Sunday’s game – with Kleinsasser as the lone captain for the coin toss – was pretty cool. It’s obvious from all I’ve read about him over the last couple of weeks that he was highly respected in the NFL community, and you could see that at midfield before the start of the game. Although around here, he’s probably best known for this: