Some Holiday Sports Bits And Pieces

And the MFAN NFL Picks for Week 16!

Marc Elliott

CARLTON PEAK…. Ever go up to Carlton Peak for a hike after the fall colors tour has long ended? The peace and quiet and the scenery can lead to a great afternoon of mental relaxation. Or you can spend it thinking about the Vikings, Twins and Wild and end up spinning around like that little kid in the cult classic movie “The Exorcist”. I mean, dang it anyway, things are getting downright maddening.

The Purple, well, Vikings, stand at 2-12 after getting shellacked by the Saints yesterday in the Metroplex. It was a boring game from a disinterested club. It was that bad. But what the heck, two tilts to go, get a top 3 draft pick and don’t blow it this time. Sorry Chris Ponder fans, but I don’t see him as the QB that will take the Vikes back to the promised land. You know the saying in hockey about building a team from the goalie on out? In football you build from the QB on out.

Obviously Ponder doesn’t have much around him right now save for a couple of players. But don’t you think, like I do, that the team is now paying the price for not drafting a solid, franchise type QB that you could groom and teach and he would be your man for an 8-10 year window? This is what you get when you don’t draft well and then end up going to the used QB lot every off-season or two. The Vikes got lucky and got a career year out of a future HOFer’ in 2009 and that was followed up by the 2010 disaster of a year.

So, do yourself a favor Vikes, you are going to get a top three pick after this season is over. Think it through. Think it through real good. Because I don’t think you have the guy as of right now. Great young man, but I don’t see the word “Super” written anywhere upon him, as in “Star” or as in “Bowl”. In fact, feel free to link the words big and mess to the current edition of this franchise. Thank you.

THE TWINS free agent exodus has continued forth as the club has lost all everything utility man Mike Cuddyer to the Colorado Rockies and today have lost outfielder Jason Kubel to the Arizona D-backs. They join Joe Nathan on the departed list. So, has Terry Ryan decided that the window with this particular core group has closed? What is troubling to me if that is the case is that the club doesn’t really have anyone on the farm ready to step in and take the place of these three and Ryan hasn’t been playing the free agent market yet out side of the signing of free agent outfielder Josh Willingham.

With the uncertainty of Justin Morneau’s health hanging over the club like a storm cloud, Cuddy, Kubel and the departing Jim Thome pretty much represented all of the Twins homerun power. They will get a little of that back from Willingham but not all of it. Is it time to flash the bat signal out to Bombo Rivera? Where are ya’ Bombo?

I WAS READING upon the TSN Canada website this afternoon and in examining the current NHL Power rank I saw that the publication had dropped the Minnesota Wild from 8th to 11th. I had to absorb that for a few minutes and had to come to the realistic conclusion that they were probably not too far off. The club is battling some injuries to several of their top forwards as of this writing, and I believe that the Wild are a club that has to have all their key guys healthy and then have a lot of things going their way to beat some of the top teams in the show.

I’m guessing a true rating for them as of now would be in the 6th to 10th range in my book. (they are tied for 2nd overall in the NHL) And I would base that on who TSN has ahead of them and how I think the Wild would do against them in a 7 game playoff series. I think the Wild could beat; VAN (3rd) FLA (7th) and STL (8th). Some clubs ahead of them that I don’t think the Wild can handle; BOS (1st), DET (2nd), PHIL (6th), PITT (9th). Some series that I think could go either way; NYR (4th), CHI (5th) and NASH (10th). If the Wild are healthy and play their system, they can be a tough team to play against. If they are banged up and missing key guys, their lack of overall depth would in all likelihood, do them in. Sure have been fun to watch so far though, eh?  PEACE & MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL…

MFAN SHORTS; The Wild got smoked like a cheap stogie in Vancouver last night 4-0 but played the game minus several front line forwards. IN MONTREAL the Habs have fired head Coach Jacques Martin and replaced him with non French speaking Randy Cunneyworth. The you-know-what is already hitting the fan over this. Don’t be expecting Cunney to be the long term hire in this mess….



(Note; last week was pretty rough on the MFAN picks but I have to ask, would you have picked against the Pack, the Bears, Giants, Houston, Jets, or Baltimore? Jeeeez!)

(HOME team in CAPS)

Hous over INDY

PATS over Miami

BALT over Cleve

CINN over Ariz

WASH over Vikes

Den over BUFF

PITT over StL

NYG over J-e-t-s

CARO over T-bay

TENN over Jax

CHEFS over Oak

LION over San D

Phil over BOYS

San Fran over SEATTLE

NEW OR over AtL

CHEESE over Bear

LAST WEEK 7-9 SEASON; 143-81


Marc Elliott is a free lance sports opinion writer who splits time between his hometown in Illinois and Minnesota. Elliott grew up in the Twin Cities with many of his childhood neighbors working or playing for the Vikings and Twins. He participated in baseball, football and hockey before settling on hockey as his own number one sport. Elliott recently wrote “The Masked Fan Speaks” column for the Lake County Chronicle for the past ten years and was a prominent guest on the former “All Sports” WDSM 710 AM in Duluth.