Archive for Jacob Wandersee

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!”

 

Most Meaningful Athletes in Minnesota Bracket: Week 6

The entire 1st round has been completed and it is time for some 2nd round action, starting with the Twins and Vikings regions. This round is going to provide much more difficult decisions and closer voting matchups given the stature of the remaining athletes.

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 of the first round matchups from the Lynx region. Again there were no upsets, as the number one seed Maya Moore beat Case Keenum with 72%, Seimone Augustus crushed Mikko Koivu with 89% and Lindsay Whalen edged out a victory over Adam Thielen with 53% of the vote. In what I thought was the most intriguing matchup of the entire first round, Adrian Peterson thumped Torii Hunter with 78% of the vote.

There were a couple of interesting notes from the first round. First, not a single Wild player advanced, as they finished 0-5. Second, it was also nice to see a couple of Lynx players advance. The Twins and Vikings have 6 players remaining, the Lynx have 3 and the lowly Timberwolves have 1 candidate remaining. Let’s take a look at this week’s matchups from the Twins and Vikings regions.

Matchup Number One: 1) Kirby Puckett vs 4) Johan Santana

In our first matchup, we find two Minnesota Twins; one of the most feared hitters in Twins history up against one of the most feared pitchers.

Kirby Puckett: Responsible for potentially the most memorable moment in Minnesota sports history, Puckett is easily one of the most popular athletes in history. 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. Add in a walk off home run in the 1991 World Series and that is a stacked resume.

Johan Santana: The best pitcher the Minnesota Twins have had in perhaps the past 20 to 30 years, Santana gave fans eight memorable seasons. The Twins made the playoffs in four of the seasons he spent here and Johan was a decorated athlete. Making the All-Star team three times is a great accolade, but Santana went way further than that by collecting the 2004 AL Cy Young & Pitching Titles, the 2006 AL Cy Young / Triple Crown / Pitching Title, and a 2007 Gold Glove.

Matchup Number Two: 2) Randall McDaniel vs 3) Alan Page

Matchup two is a battle of two of the most iconic linemen in both Vikings and NFL history.

Randall McDaniel: The best offensive guard in Vikings history, McDaniel was not someone any defender in the NFL wanted to line up against. The 11-time All-star enjoyed 12 phenomenal seasons in Minnesota and was a 1st Team All-Pro seven times. McDaniel was also named to the NFL 100 All Time Team and when you tack on nine playoff appearances, it is clear that the Hall-of-Famer had an illustrious career.

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 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 Three: 1) Fran Tarkenton vs 4) Cris Carter

Two historic Vikings square off in a matchup of exciting playmakers.

Fran Tarkenton: When you talk about Vikings quarterbacks with anybody who was around in the 1970’s, they will be quick to tell you about the impact that Fran Tarkenton had. In 13 seasons, the Hall-of-Famer led the Vikings to five playoff appearances and three Super Bowl losses. Fran was also elected as the 1975 NFL MVP and scrambled his way to five Pro-Bowls and one 1st Team All-Pro.

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 Four: 2) Harmon Killebrew vs  3) Randy Moss

One of the most ferocious hitters for the Minnesota Twins faces off with one of the most memorable Minnesota Vikings.

Harmon Killebrew: Harmon is perhaps the most iconic Minnesota Twin in franchise history, although he is often forgotten due to how long ago he played. Hammerin Harmon played 21 seasons for the Minnesota franchise, actually tallying seven seasons before the franchise moved to Minnesota. Although the franchise only made the playoffs in three seasons, Harmon mustered up 11 All-Star appearances and the 1969 AL MVP award. If you check out the Twins franchise records, you’ll find Killebrew’s name all over the book, including topping the team in career games played, Offensive WAR, Slugging Percentage, RBI’s, Total Bases, Bases on Balls, Extra Base Hits.

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!”

Most Meaningful Athletes in Minnesota Bracket: Week 5

We are down to our last region of the first round, the Lynx Region. After three regions of play, the matchups have been largely chalk, but I think the second round will get more interesting.

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 of the first round matchups from the Wolves region. Kevin Garnett, not surprisingly, thwomped Brett Favre with 100% of the vote, Kent Hrbek pulled off the upset by beating Rod Carew with 80% of the vote, Joe Mauer tied Bert Blyleven but pulled out the victory with the tie-breaker and Wally Szczerbiak didn’t receive a single vote against Tony Oliva.

Let’s take a look at this week’s matchups in the Lynx Region.

Matchup Number One: 1) Maya Moore vs 9) Case Keenum

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.

Case Keenum: Keenum’s case is based more on memorable moments than on longevity. Signed in 2017 as a backup, Keenum would finish the year 11-3 as a starter, giving the Vikings a 13-3 record and the 2nd seed in the NFC. Case would put up over 3,500 yards, 22 touchdowns and finish with a rating of 98.3, but will be remembered for one play and one play only. It was impossible for me to leave a guy off the list known for the best moment in Vikings history in the Minneapolis Miracle.

Matchup Number Two: 4) Adrian Peterson vs 5) Torii Hunter

As an aside, it pained me that these two had to face each other in the first round. These are easily two of the most popular athletes of the past 20 years.

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. 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.

Torii Hunter: Easily a fan favorite among Twins fans, Hunter was revered during his time in Minnesota. In 12 seasons, although the Twins only made the playoffs 4 times (which is harder to do in baseball than the other sports), Hunter had a solid career, specifically defensively. His 9 Gold Gloves in centerfield are incredible and he was able to add 2 All-Star appearances for good measure. When most of us think of Torri, the first thought that comes to mind is when he robbed Barry Bonds of a home run during the All-Star game, one of the more memorable moments in recent All-Star game history.

Matchup Number Three: 3) Seimone Augustus vs 6) Mikko Koivu

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. Although this season Seimone is set to play for a different team for the first time in her career, Target Center will always know that “SEIMONE…. IS IN DA HOUSE!”

Mikko Koivu: When the Minnesota Wild drafted the young Finn in 2001, there is no way they knew that they’d have a franchise stabilizer for the next 20 years on their hands. Although Koivu has never made an All-Star appearance, his 15 seasons at the NHL level have been steady, helping the Wild to 8 playoff appearances. Check the Wild record books and you’ll find Mikko scattered all over – he’s 1st in games played, assists, points, plus/minus, shots and is only 14 goals from catching Gaborik for 1st in career goals.

Matchup Number Four: 2) Lindsay Whalen vs 7) Adam Thielen

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 has a pretty strong case to move on in this tournament.

Adam Thielen: A much more recent case, Adam Thielen has a similar story to Whalen. A Minnesota native who played college ball at a Minnesota college who found their way to the Minnesota professional team. In 6 seasons with the Vikings, Thielen has appeared in 2 Pro Bowls and helped Minnesota make 3 playoff appearances. Adam has logged 2 top 10 seasons in receptions and yards and is no doubt one of the most popular Vikings in the past 20 years.

Most Meaningful Athletes in Minnesota Bracket: Week 4

Two regions of the Most Meaningful Athletes to play in Minnesota have completed their first round of play. Let’s take a look at how the results from the polls shook out last week and preview this week’s upcoming 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 of the first round matchups from the Vikings Region. So far, both the Twins Region and Vikings Region went completely chalk, with the 1 through 4 seeds all taking the first round matchups.

This round had some dominant defeats. Fran Tarkenton beat Sam Cassell with 80% of the vote, Cris Carter crushed Neal Broten with 91% of the vote, poor Rebekkah Brunson got demolished by fan favorite Randy Moss with 93% of the vote and Harmon Killebrew took care of business against Ryan Suter with our first sweep of the tournament, getting 100% of the vote.

Let’s take a look at this week’s matchups in the Wolves Region.

Matchup Number One: 1) Kevin Garnett vs 9) Brett Favre

Kevin Garnett: Where to start with The Big Ticket? ‘Da Kid might be the only reason that we still have a basketball team to cheer for in Minnesota. Garnett came right out of Farragut Academy High School and burst onto the scene to save a struggling Timberwolves franchise. Garnett led the Wolves to 8 straight playoff appearances in his 14 seasons in Minnesota and the team has only made the playoffs once without him. Kevin racked up 10 All-Star appearances, 8 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). Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals was the closest the Wolves would get to a championship and that was on the back of KG.

Brett Favre: Favre brought Minnesotan’s perhaps the most memorable season in Vikings football. The longtime rival suited up for the purple and gold to spite the Packers and had his best statistical season at the age of 40. The gunslinger put up 4,202 yards (3rd highest in his career), 33 touchdowns (4th highest) and only 7 interceptions (lowest of his career by 6). His quarterback rating was 107.2 (his second highest was 99.5). That led to 12 wins and a devastating loss to the Saints in the NFC Championship game where players were essentially paid to hurt him… but we won’t get into that.

Matchup Number Two: 4) Rod Carew vs 5) Kent Hrbek

Rod Carew: One of the most decorated hitters in both Twins history and MLB history, Carew had a heck of a career. In his 12 seasons with Minnesota, he logged 12 All-Star appearances and took home the trophies for the 1967 Rookie of the Year along with the 1977 AL MVP. Add in 7 AL Batting Titles and the 2nd baseman was one of the most feared hitters of the 1970’s. For those of us who weren’t around in the 70’s, we probably better remember his name for being referenced in Adam Sandler’s Saturday Night Live song “The Chanukah Song”, which I guess still counts for something.

Kent Hrbek: In a battle of Minnesota Twins icons, we find another historic Twin who had a memorable career. 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 Three: 3) Joe Mauer vs 6) Bert Blylevin

Joe Mauer: Perhaps the most beloved Twin in franchise history, the Minnesota boy had a wonderful individual career. In 15 seasons, Mauer led the Twins to 4 playoff appearances, but couldn’t get the job done in advancing. 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?

Bert Blyleven: Although Blyleven hopped around to 5 different teams due to his temper, his  most memorable moments came during one of his stints with the Minnesota Twins. In two runs with the Twins, Bert tallied 11 seasons, an AL Rookie Pitcher of the Year award, 1 All-Star appearances and helped earn the Twins their 1987 World Series title… Although most fans probably simply remember him from “Circle Me Bert” as the Twins broadcaster for Fox Sports North.

Matchup Number Four: 2) Tony Oliva vs 7) Wally Szczerbiak

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.

Wally Szczerbiak: Wally was perhaps the 2nd best player to play alongside Kevin Garnett in his time in Minnesota. In 7 seasons, Wally helped KG lead the Wolves to the playoffs 5 times and was named to the All-Rookie 1st team in 1999. Szczerbiak’s peak would either be his All-Star season in 2002, where he averaged 18 points shooting 46% from 3, or his agelessness each year as we see him analyzing March Madness.