Archive for Jacob Wandersee

Anything Can Happen in Shortened MLB Season

Opening day for the MLB is quickly approaching as teams convene for their version of “spring training” amid the pandemic. On July 23rd, teams across the country will begin their play of a shortened 60 game regular season and expanded playoffs. But what exactly will the season look like?

First, spring training will be operating mostly as normal, with 60 players invited to camp. There is no minor league season this year, so the 60 players are mostly anyone who has a chance to play this season. The Twins will have two sites, Target Field for the top 30-40 players and CHS Field for the bottom 20 or so minor leaguers.

Testing will be done every other day all season long in order to catch any potential COVID cases. Anyone who tests positive or is showing symptoms will have to sit out until they are clear. Four Twins have already tested positive.

This could be quite the roadblock to a successful season. For example, if three of your best starting pitchers all get sick in the same week and have to sit out, things become a lot more complicated when it comes to the rotation. This year, more than any other year before, depth will be essential to a successful season.

With the shortened season, there are also some different rules in place regarding the game itself. First, all National League games will be using the designated hitter. Finally, awkward pitchers who bat twice a year can sit out of batting practice and save themselves from the embarrassment.

Also, in extra innings, each half-inning will begin with a runner already on second base. Due to cramming more games into less days, this will likely prevent any marathon 15 inning games from occurring.

There will also be a special COVID-19 injured list, allowing teams more roster flexibility in the case of an outbreak among the team.

Lastly, the 60 game schedule will involve 40 games against divisional opponents and 20 games against the same division in the opposite league. That’s great news for the Twins as the bulk of their games will be against their division rivals (who are generally on the weak side right now) of the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals. In the NL Central, they will face off with the Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. This will limit the travel for teams, making the hectic season a little more bearable.

Coming off a franchise record 101 wins, how do the Minnesota Twins stack up this season? Currently, the over/under on the season win total is 34.5, which is good for 4th in the league behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Houston Astros.

In the new 16 team playoff format, where the three division winners are the top three seeds and there are five wildcard teams, the Twins would be in a great position to at least win a series. In the first round, the series will be a three game series, with all three games at the home stadium of the higher seed. The good news is that this would make it much less likely that the Twins would have to get swept by the Yankees in the first round again.

In a weird, hectic, and shortened season where players will be in and out of lineups based on injuries, fatigue and COVID, this might be the trickiest and flukiest World Series that a team could ever win. Nothing about it is going to be predictable as there are way too many unknowns to even consider.

The beauty is that instead of the slow burn of 160 games, the season is going to fly by. Each game will have a major impact on the standings and the playoff picture. Even the playoffs, with shortened three game series, will be wild and unpredictable… So who is to say that this can’t be the Twins year?

 

Most Meaningful Athlete Champ and Sport Shorts

After months and months of research, voting, and bracketeering, the champion has been crowned for Minnesota’s Most Meaningful Athlete. I’m sure you are at the edge of your seats… just like I am. Well, not really because I know the results. But I digress.

The winner, with 60% of the vote, was the one and only Kirby Puckett. While Kevin Garnett was a meaningful athlete, he never had much playoff success. He is the best this franchise has ever seen and probably ever will see, but that was never enough to get the T-Wolves over the hump. Regardless of whether that was his fault or management’s fault, that is the unfortunate truth.

Puckett was a beloved athlete, known for his bubbly personality and his clutch ability. As I’ve stated before, everyone remembers where they were when Kirby Puckett hit that game 6 walk-off home run in the 11th inning. Nostalgia is a powerful drug, especially when it comes to sports and championships (just ask anyone who is a Packer fan). The first overall seed going into the tournament proudly took home the title for Most Meaningful Athlete and it was an honor he deserved.

In other news, sports are finally returning. Most professional sports leagues are eying mid-July as a date when seasons can either start or resume play. Let’s take a quick peek around the professional leagues to see how it impacts our local teams.

First, the NHL is going to resume by jumping straight into the playoffs with 24 teams involved at two neutral sites for all of the games. The top four seeds in each conference will play a round robin tournament to determine the seeding. In the play-in round, the 5-12 teams in each conference will play a five game series to determine who will make the first round of the playoffs.

In this format, the Minnesota Wild will sneak into the playoffs as the 10th overall seed in the West and will face off with the 7th seeded Vancouver Canucks. During the regular season, the Wild were 2-1 against the Canucks and actually have a decent chance of winning this series. Regardless, in a season where it seemed the Wild would take a major step back, they will still sneak into the playoffs and playoff hockey is always entertaining.

The NBA is also going to resume in mid-July with a similar format. However, this plan has a few differences from the NHL. First, not everyone in the league is onboard. This is both due to the COVID-19 situation as well as the equality movement that has stemmed from the murder of George Floyd. Some major players have expressed that they are uninterested in playing more games this year.

When it comes to specifically the basketball portion of the plan, 22 teams have been invited to Orlando to play eight regular season games to determine the playoff seeding. After that, a regular playoffs with seven game series will commence with 16 teams.

The saddest part about this is the fact that in the Western Conference, 13 of the 15 teams are invited to Orlando. The two that aren’t are: The Golden State Warriors, who without Klay Thompson or Steph Curry purposefully tanked to let their stars rest and heal and to hopefully add young talent to the squad, and the Minnesota Timberwolves, who were trying their hardest to be competitive. Yet another tough year of being a Wolves fan…

Lastly, the MLB may or may not have a season. Owners and the players association are fighting and bickering back and forth concerning the number of games and how much players should be paid. They cannot agree on anything. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred went from saying “unequivocally, we are going to play Major League Baseball this year” to “I’m not confident” there will be a season.

It is very Minnesotan that a roster coming off the most wins in franchise history might not get to follow it up with an opportunity to win the division and make a run for a World Series. I guess all we can hope for is that the Wild get just enough puck luck to get us to the NFL season.

 

Most Meaningful Athletes in Minnesota Bracket: Championship

The sports abyss is finally coming to a close. It looks like sports will finally be returning in mid-to-late July and we can finally start watching, writing and talking about real sports again. Thankfully, this most meaningful athlete of Minnesota bracket was there to get us through the abyss and it is wrapping up this week with the championship matchup.

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. Although Randy Moss was a popular athlete, it paled in comparison to Kirby Puckett, as Kirby garnered 62% of the vote to propel him to the finals. On the flip side, Lindsay Whalen was able to edge Adrian Peterson with 58% of the vote, but fell to the number two overall seed Kevin Garnett in a 72% to 28% vote.

Here is the championship match between the two most meaningful athletes of all time.

Final Matchup: 1) Kirby Puckett vs 1) Kevin Garnett

The number one overall seed squares off with the number two overall seed in a battle of longevity, success and popularity.

Kirby Puckett: Kirby Puckett was my number one overall seed for many reasons. First and foremost, he is perhaps the most famous athlete to play in Minnesota that was a critical aspect in two multiple championships. Minnesotans haven’t exactly experienced much winning in our sports history. The Vikings have four Super Bowl losses and a plethora of NFC Championship losses, the Timberwolves only made the Western Conference Finals once and the Wild have never really come close. The Lynx of course have had success but the WNBA has yet to rise to the level of interest that these other sports garner.

Puckett was essential to the 1987 and 1991 World Series championships. In ‘87, Kirby batted .357, leading the Twins in hits and runs scored. In 93, Puckett belted a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game 6 to propel Minnesota to a Game 7, which they would go on to win 1-0 thanks to Jack Morris. Anyone who is old enough to remember things from 1991 remembers that home run in the Metrodome.

When you consider Puckett’s 12 seasons with the Twins, he has the stats, the popularity and success to make the case to be the most meaningful athlete. He was a 10 time All-star, won six Gold Gloves, won the 1989 batting title, the 1991 ALCS MVP and the 1993 All-Star MVP award to top it off. Throw in his strong, lovable personality and you have one heck of a meaningful Minnesota Twin.

Kevin Garnett: The Timberwolves franchise has been mostly abysmal since 2005. In fact, before Jimmy Butler came to town and led the Wolves to the 8 seed, Minnesota had never even made the playoffs without Kevin Garnett. There is some belief that the franchise might not exist in Minnesota today if it wasn’t for the high school superstar that fell into the laps of the Timberwolves.

If you look at the franchise record books, virtually every major statistical category is led by Kevin Garnett. Although the franchise is young, it doesn’t exist elsewhere in the NBA where a single player is the leader in games, minutes, field goals, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and points. That both speaks to how amazing KG was and how awful the franchise has been without him.

The Timberwolves made the playoffs eight straight years with Garnett at the helm, losing in the first round each year until the 2003/04 season. In this season, with the addition of Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell, KG was an animal, averaging 24 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 stocks (steals and blocks), winning the league MVP award and capturing the number one seed in the West.

In an era with other historic power forwards like Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Karl Malone, The Big Ticket was still a 10 time All-Star and made eight All-NBA teams. The highlight of the franchise’s history is game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Sacramento Kings. KG played all five positions, including point guard, and led the T-Wolves with 45 minutes played, and shot 52% from the field with 32 points, 21 boards, 5 blocks and 4 steals, an incredible game on all accounts.

Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal proved to be too much in the Western Conference Finals. Garnett sadly had to go elsewhere to win a title as Minnesota proved too inept to put the right pieces around him. This was something that KG was reluctant to do and he had to be convinced to allow himself to be traded. How many superstars in any sport have ever wanted to stay in Minnesota? Nobody played with more passion and heart than KG and Minnesota fans have loved him from the beginning. Even as he has had a feud with owner Glen Taylor, a feud where both sides have fault, fans only care about Garnett and bringing him back.

Garnett might not have had the same playoff success that Kirby Puckett did, but he did keep a franchise in existence simply due to his talent, effort and popularity. Can Kirby say that?

 

 

Most Meaningful Athletes in Minnesota Bracket: Final Four (Sort-of)

The Most Meaningful Athletes in Minnesota Bracket is winding down and the results have not been overly surprising. There are five athletes remaining due to a tie last week, all of which I would have expected to make it this far.

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. The overall number one seed Kirby Puckett continues his dominant run, as he swept Alan Page with 100% of the vote. In a battle of Vikings receivers, the fan favorite three seeded Randy Moss took down Cris Carter with 75% of the vote. Joe Mauer was beloved, but not nearly as much as Kevin Garnett as KG won with 88% of the vote. Lastly, in a rematch due to a tie, Adrian Peterson took down Maya Moore with 60% of the vote.

As I stated earlier, these results are not surprising to me. Kirby Puckett is perhaps the most revered athlete in Minnesota history, as he was a cornerstone piece to two championship teams. Randy Moss, although his time was more brief, was memorable, lovable and super talented, leaving a positive image for local fans. Kevin Garnett is a no brainer, as nobody has meant more to the Timberwolves franchise than The Big Ticket. Lastly, Adrian Peterson had a dominant run at running back and Lindsay Whalen is a local favorite, making for an intriguing matchup.

Here is one Final Four match along with the last Elite Eight match.

Matchup Number One: 1) Kirby Puckett vs 3) Randy Moss

Two of the most popular athletes in Minnesota history, both athletes had lovable personalities and big moments, creating a lasting impression on Minnesota fans.

Kirby Puckett: Puckett is easily one of the most popular athletes to ever step foot in our great state, especially to the 35 and older crowd. Puckett spent 12 seasons with the Twins was an All-Star in 10 of them and racked up six Gold Gloves, a 1989 Batting Title, a 1991 ALCS MVP and a 1993 All-Star MVP award. Even more importantly, Kirby led the Twins to two playoff appearances, both resulting in World Series Championships. Everyone who was alive for the 1991 World Series remembers his walk-off home run that helped the Twins capture the title, the last title won by a men’s franchise in the state.

Randy Moss: Moss is easily one of the most popular athletes to the 35 and younger crowd for a myriad of reasons. Vikings fans instantly fell in love with Moss when he jumped on the scene winning the Rookie of the Year and in his eight seasons with Minnesota, he would go on to be a three time 1st Team All-Pro, a five time Pro-Bowler and would help the Vikings make the playoffs in four seasons. Behind Carter, Moss is 2nd in franchise history in yards, receptions and touchdowns with 9,316, 587 and 92 respectively. Moss had some of the most dynamic games in franchise history and the big personality to bring fans in. “Super Bowl Homeboy!”

Matchup Number Four Rematch: 2) Lindsay Whalen vs 4) Adrian Peterson

Our last female athlete who has been a Minnesotan athlete from the beginning takes on the best running back in Vikings history.

Lindsay Whalen: It wouldn’t be a most meaningful athlete in Minnesota bracket without the Hutchinson native herself. In her nine seasons with the Lynx, she helped lead Minnesota to eight playoff appearances and four titles as the point guard for the squad. Add in four All-Star appearances, five 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?

Adrian Peterson: AP is one of the most dominant and forceful runners in the history of the NFL and he carried the Vikings franchise during his time with Minnesota. Adrian had an immediate impact, winning the 2007 Rookie of the Year and would go on to win the 2012 MVP and Offensive Player of the year awards, be a four time 1st team All-Pro, would rush for the 2nd most yards in a season and a single game record of 296 rushing yards. Peterson was a highlight machine, as he always had the potential to rush for a long touchdown on any carry and would constantly break tackles and stiff-arm defenders into oblivion.

 

Most Meaningful Athletes in Minnesota Bracket Elite Eight

After a few months of the sports abyss, it looks like professional sports might be returning in early to mid July. That is welcomed news for sports enthusiasts across the country as we have all been waiting for something to watch and talk about.

Seven weeks into the tournament, we are down to the Elite Eight of athletes to play in Minnesota. Most of the remaining candidates are ones that I thought from the beginning would have successful tournament runs. This round has some extremely interesting 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. Not surprisingly, Kevin Garnett thwomped Kent Hrbek with 83% of the vote. In a case of a recent Twins legend against an old one, Joe Mauer garnered 92% of the vote against Tony Oliva. Lindsay Whalen edged out fellow Lynx legend Seimone Augustus with 58% of the vote. Lastly, Maya Moore and Adrian Peterson tied and I am going to have a revote this week. I was late posting this one and want to get legitimate votes, so we will repost that one this week!

Here are the Elite Eight matchups.

Matchup Number One: 1) Kirby Puckett vs 3) Alan Page

This is a matchup of Minnesota legends of old; a two-time World Series hero pitted up against an MVP.

Kirby Puckett: Responsible for potentially the most memorable moment in Minnesota sports history, Puckett is easily one of the most popular athletes to ever step foot in our great state. Puckett spent 12 seasons with the Twins was an All-Star in 10 of them and racked up six Gold Gloves, a 1989 Batting Title, a 1991 ALCS MVP and a 1993 All-Star MVP award. Even more importantly, Kirby led the Twins to two playoff appearances, both resulting in World Series Championships. Considering he had a walk-off home run in the 1991 World Series, the last title won in Minnesota on the men’s side,  Puckett still has a place in Minnesota sports fans’ hearts.

Alan Page: One of the most ferocious defenders in Vikings history, Judge Page had a storied career. In 12 seasons with the Purple, Page led the menacing elite Purple People Eaters defense to nine playoff appearances, along with four Super Bowl appearances. Page made nine All-Star teams, six All-Pro 1st teams and even was the 1971 league MVP, the first defensive player to ever win the award.

Matchup Number Two: 3) Randy Moss vs 4) Cris Carter

This is the intriguing matchup that I anticipated when the bracket was seeded, as two of the most popular Vikings of all time square up.

Randy Moss: Randy is one of the most revered Minnesota athletes to this day and had a storied eight season run with the Vikings. Moss jumped on the scene winning the Rookie of the Year and would go on to be a three time 1st Team All-Pro, a five time Pro-Bowler and would help the Vikings make the playoffs in four seasons. Behind Carter, Moss is 2nd in franchise history in yards, receptions and touchdowns with 9,316, 587 and 92 respectively. Moss had some of the most dynamic games in franchise history and the big personality to bring fans in. “Super Bowl Homeboy!”

Cris Carter: Carter had a major impact in his time in Minnesota as an elite playmaking wide receiver. In 12 seasons, Carter made eight Pro-Bowls, was a 1st Team All-Pro twice and helped lead a dynamic Vikings offense to eight playoff appearances. Carter remains the franchise leader in yards, receptions and touchdowns with 12,383, 1004 and 110 respectively, marks that are not going to be broken anytime soon.

Matchup Number Three: 1) Kevin Garnett vs 3) Joe Mauer

Two of the most popular Minnesota athletes of the past 20 years go head to head in a battle of longevity and heart with little playoff success.

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).

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 Four Rematch: 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.

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!”