Most Meaningful Athletes in Minnesota Bracket: Week 7

This week we take a look at round two of the Wolves and Lynx Regions, which have a few compelling matchups.

As a reminder, the goal is determine who the most meaningful athlete to play in Minnesota is based on many factors: seasons spent in Minnesota, Championships and playoff appearances while in Minnesota, All-Star appearances and other awards won while in Minnesota, franchise stats and memorable moments that stand out as well as overall popularity.

Here are the official results from this past week. In the Twins Region, the overall number one seed Kirby Puckett took care of business against Johan Santana with 93% while Alan Page upset Randall McDaniel with 70%. In the Vikings Region, the Vikings receivers both moved on in upsets. Cris Carter beat the number one seed Fran Tarkenton with 58% of the vote and Randy Moss beat the two seed Harmon Killebrew with 88%. This will be a very interesting faceoff between the two best receivers in Vikings history next week.

Matchup Number One: 1) Kevin Garnett vs 5) Kent Hrbek

Kevin Garnett: The Big Ticket just celebrated his 44th birthday which brought back a flood of awesome memories to social media. Timberwolves fans will always remember his gaudy statline in game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals at home against the Kings in 2004. Garnett played a cool 45 minutes, shot 52% from the field with 32 points, 21 boards, 5 blocks, 4 steals and was essentially running the Point during portions of the game. This was the final season of an eight year run of playoff appearances, where he racked up racked up 10 All-Star appearances, eight All-NBA appearances in a time where talented Power Forwards were plentiful (Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Webber, Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Elton Brand to name a few), and even was the 2003/04 league MVP, averaging 24 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 stocks (steals and blocks).

Kent Hrbek: In 14 seasons in Minnesota, Hrbek only made 1 All-Star appearance, but was a key piece to 2 World Series Championships. In 1987, Hrbek had a career best 34 home runs and helped the Twins capture their first title. In easily his most memorable moment, Hrbek was involved in a controversial play in the 1991 series, where Hrbek, a first baseman, applied a tag to the runners leg as he returned to first base and the runner ran into Hrbek. Without even knowing much about the play, I remember making jokes about Hrbek pushing the runner off the base when I’d play baseball with my cousins or friends and that play will live on for a long time.

Matchup Number Two: 2) Tony Oliva vs 3) Joe Mauer

Tony Oliva: Regarded as one of the best players to not be in the MLB Hall of Fame, Oliva had a decorated career with the Twins. In his 15 seasons in Minnesota, Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball, notching 8 All-Star appearances, 3 AL Batting Titles, 1 Gold Glove, 5 AL season hit leaders and was the 1964 AL Rookie of the Year. While still waiting for his call to the Hall of Fame, Tony-O will have to settle for a statue at Target Field.

Joe Mauer: Perhaps the most beloved Twin in franchise history, the Minnesota boy had a wonderful individual career. In 15 seasons, Minnesota only made the playoffs four times during Mauer’s tenure and had virtually no playoff success. On a personal level, though, Joe made 6 All-Star appearances and is one of the most decorated catchers in MLB history. He was the 2009 AL MVP, won 3 AL Batting Titles, a feat rare to full time catchers, and won 3 Gold Gloves. Plus, who doesn’t have a memory of watching a Twins game with friends or family, seeing a runner on first base with Joe strolling up to the plate and someone saying “Here comes a double play” and seemingly every time it happened?

Matchup Number Three: 1) Maya Moore vs 4) Adrian Peterson

Maya Moore: Perhaps the most decorated Lynx player in franchise history, Moore had an exceptional career. In her 8 seasons in Minnesota, she led the Lynx to the playoffs all 8 seasons, winning championships in 4 of them. As an individual, Maya was the 2011 Rookie of the Year, 2013 Finals MVP, 2014 League MVP and made 7 All-WNBA teams and 2 All-Defense teams. Although she has pseudo-retired to assist in a social justice case, her career has been dominant, memorable and meaningful. If she ever returns to basketball, she’d make the Lynx instant contenders for a WNBA title, which shows her level of impact.

Adrian Peterson: I still remember my draft take on Peterson – “Why would we draft another running back when we have Chester Taylor? It doesn’t make sense to me.” After he was named the 2007 Rookie of the year, the 2012 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the year, made 4 1st Team All-Pros, rushed for the 2nd most yards in a season and a single game record of 296 rushing yards, I guess you could say I was wrong. AP was one of the most dominant runners in the past 30 seasons and provided Vikings fans with plenty of highlight moments. Peterson would be higher ranked if it wasn’t for the stain of his major fumbling issues (cough 2009 NFC Championship game) and his personal life issues. However, it seems that most fans have either forgiven Peterson or forgotten about these issues and have fond memories of his time in the purple and gold.

Matchup Number Four: 2) Lindsay Whalen vs  3) Seimone Augustus

Lindsay Whalen: It wouldn’t be a most meaningful athlete in Minnesota bracket without the Hutchinson native herself. In her 9 seasons with the Lynx, she helped lead Minnesota to 8 playoff appearances and 4 titles as the point guard for the squad. Add in 4 All-Star appearances, 5 All-WNBA appearances, a 2004 NCAA Final Four appearance with the Gophers and the fact that she is the current head coach of the Gophers, and Whalen is Minnesotan through and through. How many other athletes who played in Minnesota have a local gym named after them?

Seimone Augustus: While Maya was the more decorated Lynx player, Seimone has put in a heck of a career in her 14 seasons with the Lynx. Augustus has been the rock for 9 playoff appearances and 4 championships, notching 8 All-Star appearances, 6 All-WNBA team appearances, a 2006 Rookie of the Year trophy and the 2011 Finals MVP trophy. Seimone was the player who set the table for the Lynx franchise and was the first player to form the core of their championship run. Maya and Lindsay were certainly important, but when you think of the Lynx, you think of Augustus.  Although this season Seimone is set to play for a different team for the first time in her career (if there is a season), Target Center will always know that “SEIMONE…. IS IN DA HOUSE!”

 

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