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.