For all the talk about the championship drought among major men's pro sports teams in Minnesota — one that goes back to the Twins in 1991, but gets obliterated quickly when we properly include the Lynx and their four titles during the last decade in the overall discussion — there has been no shortage of individual talent on many of those teams.
But I dare say there might not have been at any point in the last 30 years a collection of emerging talent across all the major franchises quite like what we are seeing now.
I talked about that at the outset of Monday's Daily Delivery podcast. Even at the end of the segment with Patrick Reusse, our veteran columnist had to conclude that there was great reason to be optimistic about the Twins, Wild and other local teams.
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It starts, undoubtedly, with Wild rookie sensation Kirill Kaprizov. A million words might be written about Kaprizov before it's all over, but for now let's say there hasn't been a rookie this transformational to his team or to this market since Randy Moss with the Vikings in 1998.
Of course, his rookie teammate Kaapo Kahkonen has been almost as important. With eight straight wins, many of them holding things down before Cam Talbot returned, he helped spark the Wild's climb up the standings and into what has to be considered serious contention.
For the Wolves, No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards has been far less consistent. But he has averaged 27.3 points in three games since the break — including a career-high 34 in Sunday's win over Portland. Most importantly, he shot 50% from the field in that game. He's only made more than half his shots twice all season — both Wolves wins. When he is more efficient, Minnesota has a chance.
The Vikings? Justin Jefferson just set a record for receiving yards by a rookie. More than Moss. More than anyone else in league history.
The Lynx have the last two WNBA Rookie of the Year winners on their roster: Crystal Dangerfield a season ago and Napheesa Collier in 2019. That's how you reload.
Minnesota United? Emanuel Reynoso jumped into the lineup last season and changed the dynamic in much the same way Kaprizov is changing the Wild. This year, he has to be considered as a possible MLS MVP.
For the Twins, Alex Kirilloff could be a future star.
There is a long way to go, of course, but as we (hopefully) emerge from everything we have endured in the last year there is hope to be found on these local teams — more, collectively, than we have seen in quite some time.
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