It felt like it might be one of those weekends, didn’t it? Every Minnesota sports fan knows that when bad things happen, they have a tendency to snowball.
The Twins lost in extra innings Friday. Nelson Cruz had a wrist flare-up. Then Michael Pineda was popped with a devastating suspension Saturday, and the Twins’ game was going sideways again that night.
It wasn’t hard to picture the Twins getting swept, the Gophers football team losing at Fresno State and the Vikings laying an egg Sunday, among other things. Loserville, here we come …
Except it didn’t. It wasn’t a perfect weekend by any stretch, but by the end the good had fought the bad back to at least a draw. The Gophers’ thrilling win at Fresno State contributed, and the Vikings’ dismantling of Atlanta might change the tone about their ceiling.
The Gophers volleyball team swept Florida. And by winning Saturday, the Twins ensured their weekend wasn’t a complete disaster.
And the only local reason to engage with the Antonio Brown nonsense is that the Vikings won’t have to face him in Week 3 with the Raiders.
A lot to like, but …
The most encouraging result was probably the Vikings’ 28-12 victory over Atlanta. That said, Minnesota fans, being who they are, still registered some social media complaints about what transpired between noon and 3 p.m. when I asked.
Penalties: Yeah, we’ll start with a serious one. The Vikings were penalized 11 times for 100 yards, including three times they jumped offside on third down to give Atlanta a fresh set of downs. They’ll need to clean that up.
Michael Vick: The former Falcons QB is now a Fox analyst, and he was shoehorned into the broadcast rather awkwardly after the game was out of hand. Not only that, but we had to watch replays of Vick’s long overtime TD run against the Vikings in 2002. Two defenders collided, in case you forgot (which you didn’t).
Pizza Ranch commercials: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is in a line of new ads for the Midwestern chain restaurant. The spots are harmless enough, but they’re … not great. The good news is that if Cousins is going to have to throw only 10 times a game, he’ll have plenty of time to work on scripts.
@nimbleboy had perhaps the best answer of all: “Feels like a setup.” Ah, yes. When Week 1 is a relative breeze, the chance for a letdown increases.
• I stayed up just late enough to see the Gophers send Fresno State to overtime with Chris Autman-Bell’s ridiculous fourth-down catch, but I was overcome by sleep before the second part of the big finish. Probably just as well. I might have woke up the whole house had I seen Antoine Winfield Jr.’s game-clinching, out-of-nowhere interception as it happened.
• The head scratcher of Sunday was Washington’s decision to make ex-Vikings running back Adrian Peterson inactive. Peterson ran for 1,042 yards last season, finishing No. 8 in the NFL. Washington ran for just 28 yards on 13 carries Sunday, with the bulk of the work going to 2018 second-round pick Derrius Guice — wasting Case Keenum’s 380-yard, three-touchdown debut in a 32-27 loss to the Eagles.
• The nightmare scenario for pretty much any NFL team played out in Jacksonville, where new starting QB Nick Foles broke his clavicle early in his debut against the Chiefs.
• Meanwhile in Cleveland, the never-ending nightmare continued for the Browns. Things were supposed to be different this year, remember? I mean, I guess a 43-13 home loss to Tennessee was a little different — it was their most lopsided loss since 2015 (and they’ve had years of 1-15 and 0-16 since).