John Shipley / St. Paul Pioneer Press
EAGAN, Minn.—For a larger segment of Vikings fans than anyone could have imagined, there are only two ways this can end, in euphoria or profound disappointment, Super Bowl or bust. Kirk Cousins either will help the Vikings win their first NFL title since the 1970 merger, in which case all will be forgiven, or become the most expensive mistake in the epic tragedy of Minnesota sports. Such black-and-white thinking, psychologists will tell you, is unhealthy.
ST. PAUL — Vikings fans whining about how their team has forsaken Case Keenum for a more expensive quarterback, stop right now. Your team has added the player they believe will push them back into the Super Bowl for the first time since 1977. I happen to agree, but that is almost beside the point. General manager Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer pushed all their chips to the center of the table, and you should be pee-your-pants excited for next season.
ST. PAUL—The inoccupation of Zach Parise has been a thorn in the side of the Minnesota Wild and their fans since last spring, when they were smoked by St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs while Parise recovered from a back injury. When it was announced before this season even started that Parise needed surgery to repair that back, some were apoplectic. Parise, after all, is less than halfway through a 13-year contract that pays him an average of $13 million a year.
ST. PAUL—When last we saw the Wild in St. Paul, the locals were burying the St. Louis Blues and all was right with the world. Riding a five-game winning streak, they boarded a charter flight for Arizona to play the worst team in the NHL. Will the real Minnesota Wild please stand up? Are they the team that overwhelmed the Blues 8-3 to end a 9-2-2 February and solidify their hold on third place in the Central Division? Or are they the team that got outscored 12-4 in losses in Glendale, Ariz., and Denver?
EAGAN, Minn. — Mike Zimmer had a crystal ball in his office at Winter Park this season and it's fair to assume the gift from a local clairvoyant will land at the team's new offices in Eagan when the last boxes are moved across 35W on Monday, Feb. 26. It was a good season for the Vikings. Why risk the fates' fury by changing things now?
For as good as they were last season, the Vikings are in something of a bind at quarterback, which seems counterintuitive when considering they could slap a franchise tag on Case Keenum and start 2018 with the guy who led them to the NFC title game. But if we’re to believe a report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapaport, the Vikings are ready to take their chances on free agency, placing them in a deliciously precarious position because there really are only two good quarterbacks realistically available in this year’s free agent class and one of them is Keenum.
The Minnesota Vikings are not expected to put franchise tag on quarterback Case Keenum, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapaport, a sign that Minnesota has decided to woo a free agent they believe will push them over the top. Citing sources with knowledge of the team's thinking, Rapaport reported Monday morning, Feb. 26, that, "Barring a change of heart, Minnesota joins the fray for a starting QB."
Gophers basketball player Reggie Lynch has declined to attend appeals hearings today and Monday and accepted the findings of a school investigation that determined he was responsible for two sexual assaults on campus. Attorney Ryan Pacyga said two separate investigations by the school’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action were biased against Lynch, and that the appeals hearings were flawed.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn.—Tom Brady was in his element as he breezed onto the dais during Thursday, Feb. 1's media access at Mall of America. The New England Patriots quarterback is good with reporters, real and otherwise, and if he hates it all, he did a terrific job of hiding it during the lead-up to Super Bowl LII on Sunday, Feb. 4, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The first question thrown at Brady was about retirement, and like a guy who doesn't have to be told whether it's the blue or the red wire he should cut, he quickly diffused it.
There are NFL teams out there that can take an injury-discount flier on Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings aren't one of them. After winning 14 games and advancing to the NFC title game, they're ready for a big-time passer who can take them all the way. His name is Kirk Cousins. Cousins, 29, is the gunslinger the Vikings need to make the offense as good as its league-leading defense, a 6-foot-3, 217-pound prototype who has averaged 4,392 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions since becoming the Washington Redskins' starter in 2015.