Minnesota's sports are thriving! Photo credit to dot.state.mn.us.
In a stunning turn of events, as fall sports are coming to a close and winter sports takes over, it is finally a positive thing to say you are a Minnesota fan. The Vikings have not faired so well, needless to say. However, the Wild, Gophers (both hockey and football), and Timberwolves have all had an impressive season thus far, even if it is early.
Golden Gophers football has a current record of 8-2, with notable wins over San Jose State, Indiana, Northwestern and Nebraska. The team is an absolute threat on the ground; David Cobb is just 50 yards away from 1,000 yds on the season and the two QB's Mitch Leidner and Phillip Nelson have combined for a total of 712 yds. The QB situation at Minnesota this year has been an interesting one. It seems that when one of the two has an off day, the other steps right in and takes over. Nelson has come in as the front-runner the past couple of games however. The team is certainly not slacking in the receiving game either. The top 5 receivers for the Gophers have combined for 1,068 yds. At this rate, the Gophers should be in a substantial Bowl Game at the end of the season.
Gopher hockey is currently 6-1-1 and not showing any signs of slowing down. The top two scorers, Sam Warning and Hudson Fasching, each have 5 goals through only 8 games. Goaltender Adam Wilcox has an impressive save percentage of .924. That's significantly better than what you will see in most of college hockey at any level. This Gopher is much younger than the norm. Most of the team are freshman or sophomores, but the lack of experience does not seem to be an issue.
Not since Kevin Garnett have the Timberwolves been able to put together a competent squad to make the playoffs. This year's team looks like they may be the one to break that streak. The Wolves had a good draft this past year, picking up an offensive weapon in Shabazz Muhammad and defensive star Gorgui Dieng. Also, with the addition of shooting guard Kevin Martin, the Wolves made the necessary additions to be a contending team. Martin has proved to be a positive pick up with 23.3 PPG, which is 2nd on the team only behind Kevin Love with 27.2 and the team averages 105 PPG as a whole. Point guard Ricky Rubio averages just under 8 APG (assists per game) which should come as no surprise to anybody. The Wolves biggest problem will be staying healthy; something they have had trouble with in the past. If they can keep the whole team together, the playoffs are a very foreseeable future.
The Wild, who did make the playoffs last year but were quite disappointing in them, have 7 wins through 10 games and with the combination of young talent and veteran leadership, are proving to be a force in the NHL. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter who we traded for last year lead the team in points and assists while Jason Pominville, who is also a recent pick up, leads the team in goals. The main aspect working against the Wild at this point is the fact that they are in one of the toughest divisions in the league. In order to play for the Stanley Cup, they would have to get past the reigning champions, the Blackhawks, along with the St. Louis Blues. The thought of the Stanley cup making its way to the State of Hockey may not be too far away.
It is said that you need to have patience and a lot of loyalty to be a fan of, well basically all Minnesota sports teams (unless you're a Lynx fan). If the teams of the northern state keep playing how they have been, that patience and loyalty is sure to pay off.
By Andre Hill