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J-Dog Dungan

Viking's success makes the Twins' life harder

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The Twins and Vikings. Both considered down and out for the considerable future after a 3-13 2011/2012 and a 99-loss season in 2011. Unfortunately for the Twins, the Vikings have come storming back after last season and now sit one win away from joining the playoffs. The Twins, on the other hand, again just avoided a 100-loss season. In several ways, this makes the Twins' life much more difficult in several ways.

1. Success of rookies and vets together. Something that the Vikings have going for them this year is that they have a solid group of rookies (several of whom are going to be very disappointed if they don't make the Pro Bowl) and vets who have combined for one of the greater turnarounds a team that doesn't have RG3 or Andrew Luck could have imagined. While the Twins may have a rookie or two (or more) on the 25-man roster this year, it takes them a while to get used to 162 games of Big-League pitching. This is a category the Twins desperately need to get together if they have any hope of competing this year.

2. Success of rookies. Rookies Harrison Smith, Blair Walsh, Matt Kalil, and Jarius Wright have all had hands in pushing the Vikings to this season right after just being in college. Their successful transition into the Vikings game plan has made their team by and large a team that can succeed in the playoffs. What doesn't go the Twins' way in this category is that players, even ones coming out of college as seniors have to start in the Minors, even if they are the best. They then have to stay there (sometimes for not very long) and things happen to them. They get hurt, they have bad years, and some fall to the wayside.

3. Success of the Draft. It is fairly easy to tell whether your players impact your team right away in the NFL. If they are on your 53-man roster and play regularly, they can have a huge impact on your team from the first game they play. While you do have to wait to judge the draft long-term for a while (no duh), the fact that they play right away gives their team an advantage, at least in the short run. The Twins and the rest of the MLB have to wait and watch their prospects climb the ladder, hoping that nothing happens to them on the way and that they are successful in helping their team out. It is impossible to judge the MLB draft short-term because no prospects are allowed to start in the Majors anymore, and that's why GM's like Billy Beane dub the draft a crap shoot.

4. Free-Agent attraction. The Twins, coming off of two 90+ loss seasons in a row, isn't a great place for FA's to go (unless they are trying to re-establish their value), especially with their well-earned reputation of not shelling out big bucks where FA's are concerned (Willingham is a wonderful exception to this rule.) The price of FA's in the MLB is also rapidly rising, making small-market teams like the Twins have to rely more and more on the draft and international signings to keep themselves going. The Vikings have been slightly better at attracting FA's, but with the promotion of Spielman to GM, will probably be relying more on the draft to supply them with fresh talent, and rightfully so. However, if they really wanted to make their team better in an instant with the right FA signing, with the spending cap that is imposed, they statistically have a much better chance of being able to get FA's because teams can't pay mega-bucks for them.

FA's are also much more interested in going to a team if they have shown recent success. 90+ losses: not attractive in the slightest. Going from 3 wins to 9+ in one season and having the base players to repeat such success makes that team much more attractive to FA's.

And now for my point. The Vikings, with their success in the draft showing on the field, and with their playoff (yes, playoff) hopes either being fulfilled or dashed next Sunday, have risen the bar for the Twins. Their turnaround from 3-13 and a Top 3 pick (until they traded it) to either 9-7 or 10-6 will make Twins fans, including myself, wishing for the kind of turnaround for the Twins that the Vikings have had this year, and unless nearly everyone on the roster has above-average years, I don't see it happening this year.

Now before I go, I want to make my prediction for the rest of the football season. The Vikes win next week, 31-24, face the Packers again in the Division series, win there, beat the 49ers who are the 2 seed, then face Atlanta in the NFCCG, beat them there, avenging their loss all those years ago by having Walsh kick the game-winning field goal, then beat Denver in the Super Bowl with AP running in the winning touchdown to prove that he should be the MVP and Comeback Player of the Year. (I better not get nasty messages about this, this is completely guessing (and most likely my guessing incorrectly and quite deludedly)). SKOL VIKES!

Updated 12-25-2012 at 01:15 AM by J-Dog Dungan

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  1. Rosterman's Avatar
    Winning makes the whole stadium issue look good. And the Vikings have to hold that game plan while it is built. Do I see a similar scenario as what is happening in Twinsville.

    I can get down on the Twins, but the last two seasons aren't entirely their fault. They spent a lot in 2011 and had injuries to main guys throughout the year. The whole rotation, which I thought would've been easily good for 50-60 victories alone, imploded. Both of the problems that happened (during the season) were insurmontable by a team like the Twins to go out and purchase the one or two necessary pieces needed to win, let alone just compete in the short-term.

    As I looked at 2013, I did see hope. Money to spend. Pitchers available. A few holes that could be patched in the offense. But the offense became weaker when you basically traded away your number 1-2 hitters with no repalcements in sight. And no one really to step in if you wave some dollars at them. There is a weakness in the infield besides in a year in which the candidates you could buy are on the same level as the ones you have. The money that could be spent on pitching was to do a patchwork job for at least a year to give new guys time to develop or implode, as well as basically refurbishing a weakness in the organization of hard throwers compared to the multitude of pitch-to-contact guys that will be spending time at High-A and AA with dreams now shattered of pitching in the major leagues.

    It is a smoke-and-mirrors offseason. Usually the Twins appear to do enough to look like they can win bigtime and end up doing enough to remain competitive. But they clearly need to totally retrench and go into rebuild mode, which is sad because it can easily be a 1-3 year process, depending on what teams around you do.

    Twinsfest: Who will pay to go to this event!?
  2. jtrinaldi's Avatar
    In other news, I just got my Packers playoff tickets in the mail
  3. Highabove's Avatar
    The Twins are back to being a small market Franchise. Boy, that didn't take long.

    27 Million Dollars came off the books. The Twins have plenty of resources to be an active player in the F.A.market. They choose not too.
    Updated 12-26-2012 at 01:01 AM by Highabove
  4. PopRiveter's Avatar
    Your first 3 points are all the same point. In football, a good draft has a huge and immediate impct. There is no immediate impact in baseball. Success in baseball is generally the result of a long, slow build. The 2 sports attract different personalities at least partially for this reason. In football, everything is about now. In baseball, you have to balance timelines and momentums.
    I appreciate both sports, but am more impressed by a successful baseball team than a successful football team. To put it plainly, it is easier for a flawed football team to win 10 games than it is for a flawed baseball team to win 100.
  5. Thrylos's Avatar
    The Vikings successes have done nothing to the fans' perceptions of the Twins. Even in the season that they were cheated out of a Superbowl by the Taints and the officiating crew who wanted to atone for Katrina, while Gardy's club was doing its regular postseason routine.

    Always too much slack for the Twins' and their leaders for the same fanbase who wanted to bury the Vikings and their leaders, this Millennium.
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