A lot has happened with Minnesota Sports teams in the past few weeks and months so if you’re trying to play catch up here’s what you missed.
The Twins as of April 30 are 11-11. Minnesota won their tenth game of the season on April 27. That is a significant improvement over a disastrous 2012 campaign where the Twins didn’t win their tenth game of the season until May 13th. The Twins have gotten an impressive start to the season from new pitcher Kevin Correia. Correia has been solid posting a 3-1 record with a 2.23 ERA in five starts this year. Correia last pitched April 28 where the right-hander tossed eight shutout innings beating the Texas Rangers at home. The Twins bullpen has been nothing short of fantastic as well with the Twins relievers combining for a 2.35 ERA. Offensively the Twins have been led by Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau. Mauer is hitting .289 with two home runs and 10 RBI. Willingham leads the Twins in both home runs (5) and RBI (13). Justin Morneau is hitting .250 with two home runs and has knocked 11 runs which is second on the team. If the Twins continue to get solid pitching and more offensive production they will be on track for a much needed rebound season in 2013.
The Wild open a playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks on April 30 in Chicago. The Wild are making their first playoff appearance in five seasons. Chicago is the overwhelming favorite to knock off the Wild in the best of seven series. The Blackhawks were the NHL’s best team losing just six games in the lockout shortened season. The Wild finished with a record of 26-19-3. In his first year with the Wild, Zach Parise led the team in scoring netting 18 goals and adding 20 assists for 38 points. The Wild earned the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference after sputtering towards the end of the season winning just four of their last ten games. The Blackhawks I believe will be too much to handle and they will win the series in six games. Minnesota should be able to win one of those games at home as they were 14-10 at the Xcel Energy Center this year.
The Wild also announced that their AHL affiliate the Houston Aeros will become the Iowa Wild for the 2013-14 season. This is a very good opportunity for fans to go watch Wild prospects in Iowa as the team is now a much shorter trip away from the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota. The team should also get an attendance boost by moving closer to the state of hockey.
The Minnesota Vikings concluded their 2013 draft last weekend using their first round selections to take players to fill holes in crucial positions that were of team needs. With the 23rd overall pick the Vikings selected defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd out of the University of Florida. Floyd by some was a projected top ten pick but fell to the Vikings at 23. Floyd provides depth at that position with the aging Kevin Williams close to retirement. The Vikings certainly got a steal of pick in Floyd. With the 25th pick the Vikings selected Xavier Rhodes out of Florida State. Rhodes is a corner back who was also close to a top ten pick so the Vikings were able to get another steal. With the release of Antoine Winfield, Rhodes should see significant playing time this season and adds to a now young and talented secondary joining safety Harrison Smith a first round pick of the Vikings last year. The Vikings traded up to get the 29th pick as well and selected Cordarrelle Patterson out of Tennessee. Patterson is a Wide receiver and the team hopes he can replace Percy Harvin in the future.
The Timberwolves missed the playoffs yet again in 2012-13 and subsequently fired President of Basketball operations David Khan. Khan had come under criticism this year by star forward Kevin Love who questioned the direction of the franchise. The team has been rumored to be in talks with former Wolves coach Flip Saunders to fill the void left by Khan. Nothing has been made official yet as no replacement has been officially announced. The Timberwolves hold the eighth pick in the NBA Draft this June. Several mock drafts have the Wolves taking UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad with their pick.