Columnists, Sports

Dropping the Gloves: The Vikings may bring a title to Minnesota, but who’s next?

The state of Minnesota hasn’t seen a championship since 1991 when the Twins won their third World Series. Since then, the state has had a dry spell when it comes to playoff success — until this season, that is, when the Vikings secured a spot in the AFC Conference Championships on Sunday.

There’s still two weeks to play in the NFL Playoffs, and the verdict is still out on whether or not the Vikings will end their franchise-long streak.

The Twins are the only professional Minnesota team to ever bring home a championship. Even the former Minnesota North Stars never took home a Stanley Cup before their move to Dallas.

So aside from the Vikings, who’s next to bring playoff victory to Minnesota? The best chance is probably the Minnesota Wild.

The Central Division is opening up

The Wild have been in a tough spot for a few years. If they were in a different division, they probably could’ve been ranked first. Unfortunately for them, they’re in the Central Division, one of the toughest in the league. But now, the Chicago Blackhawks have taken a back step in their development, making room for the Winnipeg Jets and the Wild to push through.

There’s a great opportunity for the Wild to become one of the top teams in the Western Conference, and while they’re currently sitting in the middle of the pack, the team is making strides.

Bruce Boudreau is ready for any significant playoff victory

Boudreau arrived on the scene in 2016 replacing Mike Yeo. Boudreau was relieved of his coaching duties from the Anaheim Ducks.

Boudreau did a lot of work in Anaheim in his five years there, but each season ended in disappointment. When the Ducks lost their fourth Game 7 in a row on home ice, the team moved along with a different coach.

Boudreau hasn’t forgotten about what lost him the job in Anaheim, though. He’s been telling his Minnesota team that “every game is like Game 7.”

Injured stars are back on the ice

Zach Parise started 2018 off with his season debut after a long recovery from back surgery in October. He hasn’t been playing to up to his usual standard, but if the Wild make the playoffs, he’s sure to perform well.

And Devan Dubnyk, one of the most coveted goaltenders in the league, missed a good chunk of December while healing from an injury. He was back on the ice just before the new year, and he’s definitely back to his normal self. Dubnyk was a key component to their 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, who have been controlling the first spot in the Central Division all season.

Onward and upward

The Wild ended the 2016-17 regular season at second in the Central Division, which hadn’t happened in four years. But the playoffs didn’t go so well for Minnesota, when they lost the first round to the Blues 4-1.

There are still a lot of games to be played until the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin, and many of those games are against Central Division teams.

The Stanley Cup probably won’t be hoisted by the Wild this season, but Minnesota should still expect a victory parade in the near future.

One Comment

  1. The Minnesota Lynx and Saint Paul Saints don’t count in your world?