As the Wild and Timberwolves continued to win important games in recent weeks, their playoff fortunes naturally took a turn for the better.
With the knowledge that everything is subject to change, here is a look at where both of those teams — as well as their major pro sports counterparts in this market — fit into the possible postseason conversation:
Wolves: Even with Wednesday's loss at Phoenix, which may have been tainted by questionable officiating if you believe Rudy Gobert, the Wolves enter Friday's huge home game against the Lakers in decent playoff shape. Basketball Reference gives Minnesota a 75% chance to make the playoffs (not just the play-in) and a 40% chance of finishing in the top-six in the conference. These odds will change a lot over the final five games.
Wild: By virtue of gaining at least one point in 20 of their last 21 games, the Wild have vaulted into first place in the Central Division. The playoffs are basically a lock, and Hockey Reference gives Minnesota the best chance (43%) of winning the Central over Colorado (30%) and Dallas (26%).
Interestingly, though, the Wild are given just the sixth-best chance (4.1%) among Western Conference teams of winning the Stanley Cup — a function of winning a lot of close games and having a smaller goal differential (plus-27) than several other contenders.
Twins: It gets far more speculative with the rest of the teams in town, but Baseball Prospectus gave the Twins a 67% chance of reaching the postseason before the first pitch was thrown Thursday. I would say 50% of Twins fans think that's too high, 49% would say great, but win a playoff game, and 1% are truly optimistic.
And get this: The Twins, per BP, have a 4.5% chance of winning the World Series this year — a slightly better chance at a title than is given to the Wild.
Vikings: Coming off a 13-win season, the Vikings are expected to be ... extremely mediocre in 2023. At least that's the message gleaned from over-under win total wagering numbers released a few days ago by DraftKings. The Vikings' number: 8.5. With a 17-game schedule, an over bet means 9-8 or better and an under bet means 8-9 or worse, but the likely outcome is a return to the squishy middle. Then again, that will put them right in the mix with Detroit (9.5), Green Bay (7.5) and Chicago (7.5).
Lynx: In WNBA championship odds released last month, the Lynx were 35 to 1 — tied for the third longest in the 12-team league. This could a rebuilding year, though maybe things will look different after Minnesota makes the No. 2 overall pick in the draft on April 10.
Loons: Similar to the Lynx, the Loons had 32 to 1 odds of winning the MLS Cup right before the season started. But Minnesota United is undefeated (two wins, two draws) in its first four matches so at least a fifth straight playoff trip is not far-fetched.