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The 10 worst things to happen to Minnesota sports in 2016

Picking the 10 worst was a difficult job, but here's what we came up with.
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From Teddy Bridgewater's knee to record-setting misery for the Twins and Gophers basketball, and all the way to "Xanaxgate" inside the Gophers wrestling program, the Year of 2016 was filled with anguish for Minnesota sports fans.

Picking the 10 worst things to happen was a difficult job, but here's what we came up with. We'll have a list of the 10 best things on Wednesday.

10. Summer of Losing

On Sept. 30, the Twins set a team record with their 103rd loss of the season, falling to the White Sox, 7-3. The worst part of this terrible team was the pitching staff, which posted a 5.08 ERA (31st in the MLB) while allowing a ridiculous .283 opponents batting average. Thank God for Brian Dozier's 42 home runs or this team would have been unwatchable for six months.

9. The worst Gophers basketball team of all time

Richard Pitino's Valentine's Day was highlighted by his Gophers extending the worst start to conference play in program history with a 13th straight loss, 75-71 to Iowa. Minnesota won just three of its final 24 games en route to a 8-23 record. Their two conference victories were the fewest since the 1932-33 Gophers went 1-11 in Big Ten play.

8. Refs rob the Lynx in WNBA Finals

The Lynx were robbed by the officials in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals on Oct. 20. The game was tied 71-71 when officials failed to call a shot-clock violation on a basket by L.A.'s Nneka Ogwumike with 1:14 remaining. The shot counted and the Sparks went on to win 77-76. This doesn't rank higher on our list because Minnesota still had a chance to win the game, and missed free throws by Sylvia Fowles down the stretch helped doomed the Lynx.

7. Eyegate

The day before the Vikings are set to play the Cowboys on national TV, head coach Mike Zimmer underwent emergency surgery to repair a detached retina in his right eye. He was unable to coach the next day and the Vikings lost a close game, falling 6-6 and putting them in a virtual must-win situation the rest of the season.

6. Death of Denny

July 22 was a shocking day when news broke about the death of Fformer Vikings head coach Denny Green. He died of cardiac arrest. He was 67.

5. Brock Lesnar

From time to time he's been the only champion in our sports-stricken state. But now we can't even count on the guy who made millions in fake wrestling. Lesnar was suspended by the UFC for a year and fined $250,000 after failing a pair of drug tests. He tested positive for anti-estrogen drugs.

4. Mitch Leidner at Wisconsin

The Gophers quarterback played as poorly as one can in the second half of Minnesota's critical game at Wisconsin in October. Minnesota, with a shot at a Big Ten West division title on the line, was leading the Badgers 17-7 at the half before Leidner threw the game away. He was picked off four times in the second half and finished 9 of 26 for 158 yards on the day. The Badgers won 31-17 en route to an appearance in the Big Ten championship game.

3. Goodbye, Blair

Blair Walsh will probably delete 2016 from his memory. His personal saga began Jan. 10 with the heartbreaking 27-yard miss that cost the Vikings their 2015 season. It ended Nov. 15 when the Vikings cut him after missing four field goals and four extra points, one of them proved critical in a loss to the Lions.

2. University of Scandal

Golden Gophers athletics were the heart of scandal in Minnesota in 2016, culminating with 10 football players being suspended for the Holiday Bowl in connection to a sexual assault investigation. But the football players weren't the only athletes in trouble.

The miserable 2015-16 men's basketball season included three players – Kevin Dorsey, Nate Mason and Dupree McBrayer – suspended for posting a sexually explicit video to social media. And earlier this year Reggie Lynch was arrested and accused of sexual assault, although charges were never filed, according to Fox9.

In addition to the issues with the football and basketball programs, the wrestling team had legal troubles. After 30 years at the U of M, coach J Robinson was fired Sept. 7 for failing to reveal important details related to Gophers wrestlers selling and using the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

1. Teddy's knee

Teddy Bridgewater's season ended before it started after suffering a dislocated knee and torn ACL in a non-contact drill during practice on Aug. 30. His injury was the start of a downward spiral the Vikings would only temporarily recover from, before ultimately collapsing in a free fall for the ages. It's still not certain if Bridgewater will be ready to play at the start of the 2017 season.

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