Most know my favorite NFL team is the Chargers, but I still consider the Vikings a very close second. Cheering for Minnesota sports teams in general over the last two decades has been a terrible experience most of the time. In the time I’ve paid attention (since about 1992) the Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves, and Wild have combined to win zero titles. Nor have any of them even appeared in a championship game. I did the math, and only Washington, DC has had a worse streak amongst cities with all four major pro sports.
Not only have our teams appeared in zero championship games, but they may have suffered the most heartbreaking playoff losses. The Vikings lost to the Falcons in ’98 after a 15-1 season… sorry Walsh and Nick for bringing that up. Then they got annihilated by the Giants in the NFC title game in 2001, 41-0. The following year, the Twins lost to the Angels in the ALCS. The following year, the Wild lost to the Ducks in the Western Conference Finals. The following year, the Timberwolves lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
The Twins lost in the ALDS to the Yankees in 2003 and 2004 in heartbreaking fashion. Really, really tough losses. And after a great 2006 season, they were swept by Oakland in the first round. The Wild were competitive for a few years, then kinda fell apart this season, missing the playoffs, where over half the teams get in. The Vikings had some lean years before a first-round loss to the Eagles this season. And the Timberwolves have been a laughing stock the past few years.
The Twins have seen their best players leave year after year—David Ortiz, Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, Chuck Knoblauch, Cristian Guzman, Corey Koskie, and so on. The Wild lost Rolston and Demitra and will probably lose Gaborik. The Vikings rid themselves of Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper, amongst others. And the Timberwolves traded away Minnesota’s biggest star since Kirby Puckett when they shipped Kevin Garnett to the Celtics.
Yet during that time, none of those teams have really brought in any star players. Sure, they’ve drafted some great players like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Adrian Peterson, and Randy Foye, but they’ve never really gone out and acquired anyone of significance. Joe Crede, Bernard Berrian, Jared Allen, Al Jefferson, and Owen Nolan I suppose might qualify to some as star acquisitions, but no real franchise players other than possibly Jefferson.
The Minnesota teams aren’t going to win very often, and when they do show signs of promise, they crush us with monumental defeats so devastating we think we’ll never be able to watch a game again. So the very least I can hope for is for one of our four teams to make a big move. Something completely un-Minnesota-like. Something that only a New York team would do.
That’s why I am really hoping that the Vikings get Brett Favre. Don’t you? I think bringing in one of the greatest all-time players to one of our teams would be big. I lobbied for the Twins to sign Barry Bonds and now am hoping they’ll make a push for Pedro Martinez. I hoped the Wolves would surround KG with some talent like when they brought in Cassell and Sprewell in their primes, but they neglected to do that after 2004.
I don’t think the Vikings would be a Super Bowl favorite with Favre, but it would at least be something positive for one of our teams. It would create some major buzz around here for once.
Nick, Walsh, any thoughts?