Last column of the year for 2019 and first for 2020 and a new decade. It’s been a good year, not a great year, for the Vikings and Twins. Both reached the playoffs.
The Wild and Timberwolves did not. After seven years the NHL Wild missed the playoffs, as did the NBA Timberwolves for the 15th year in the last 16. The Timberwolves are lost in the abyss.
The Gophers basketball team qualified for the NCAA during Minnesota’s 2019 NCAA Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium. They beat Louisville in the first round with a chance to reach the Sweet Sixteen and lost to Michigan State, who advanced to the Final Four.
The Gopher football team had its best season in years, starting 9-0 for P. J. Fleck, upsetting number-four unbeaten Penn State and finishing 10-2 and 7-1 in the Big Ten before losing the biggest games of the year to Iowa (23-19) and Wisconsin (38-17) with a trip to the Big Ten Championship game on the line.
The Vikings are a wild card number-six seed in the NFC playoffs. They will be on the road next week to San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans or Green Bay—stay tuned. Sunday the Vikings finish the regular season vs. Chicago. The Vikings lost 23-10 to Green Bay on Monday night December 23. The win clinched the NFC North title for the 13th time for the NFL Champion Packers.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is now 0-3 with the Vikings on “Monday Night Football.” In his career he’s 0-9 on “Monday Night” and just 7-15 in prime-time games. “ESPN Monday Night Football” analyst Booger McFarland said, “A quarterback’s win and loss record is a silly stat because you win and lose as a team.
“What I look for as a quarterback is can you be the reason we win?” said McFarland. “Can you make game-changing plays that help us win? Cousins did not do that tonight.
“I don’t worry about his record on ‘Monday Night.’ That’s stuff to be put in the paper and sensationalized. He’s had a pretty good year so far, so let’s not throw all that away. He’s played pretty well so far, but tonight he did not get it done and ultimately they will hold that against him,” McFarland said.
Indeed, the $84 million guaranteed to Cousins is a number that stays in the minds of fans. The Vikings now have a narrow window of opportunity to win. Because they lost on Monday and were swept by the Packers 21-16 and 23-10, they will be on the road throughout the playoffs.
The Vikings were 4-4 on the road during the regular season. They are a good football team, but can they put it all together now and go win Minnesota’s first-ever World Championship?