At this time last year there was nothing but optimism for Minnesota's professional sports teams.
The Twins were on their way to making the playoffs, the Lynx were about to win their fourth WNBA championship, the Wild were poised for a big year, the Vikings were destined for a deep run, and the Wolves were finally going to snap a 14-year playoff drought thanks to the arrival of Jimmy Butler.
All in all, things worked out and all five teams made the playoffs in the same sports year for the first time since the Wild entered the fold in 2001. You'd think that momentum would carry over to more years of success, but in typical Minnesota sports fashion, it's all crashing and burning.
The Twins stink again, nobody seems to believe in the Wild, the Lynx are struggling, and the Wolves have been the center of countless internal issues. The Vikings are the only team going in the right direction right now.
Who's to blame for the rush to mediocrity? Take your pick.
– Miguel Sano had a titanium rod inserted into his leg, couldn't work out during the offseason and he's gone from a 2017 All-Star to a .211 hitter in 2018.
– Byron Buxton got migraines, broke his toe, hurt his wrist and all the while found a way to get sent to Triple-A Rochester to fix his broken swing.
– Ervin Santana had finger surgery in February and missed the entire first half of the season.
– Jason Castro is out for the entire season because of a torn meniscus.
– Jake Odorizzi, Lance Lynn, Zach Duke, Addison Reed, Fernando Rodney and Logan Morrison have mostly busted (Rodney an exception) after being heralded as key free-agent signings.
– Twins were out of the playoff race so they traded fan favorites Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar, effectively waving the white flag on the season.
– Wolves went from being a top four seed to barely making the playoffs and getting routed by the Rockets.
– Jimmy Butler tore his meniscus and wasn't the same in the playoffs. He also recently had surgery on his shooting hand.
– There have been numerous reports about Butler not getting along with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
– Towns reportedly has some beef with the front office.
– Another report says Butler has no intention to stay in Minnesota beyond the 2018-19 season.
– The Lynx started the season poorly and are now fighting for their playoff lives and the entire WNBA world is questioning if they're too old to continue their dominance.
– Ryan Suter suffered a broken ankle in the playoffs that nearly ended his career with the Wild, and nobody knows for sure just how well he'll be able to bounce back this coming season.
– The Wild got obliterated by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the playoffs.
– The Wild fired General Manager Chuck Fletcher and replaced him with Paul Fenton.
– Fenton drafted defenseman Filip Johannson in the first round and NHL Network's analyst immediate said he isn't great at anything.
There's plenty of other reasons why the mood about Minnesota sports has gone sour – like the Gophers basketball team going from a national frontrunner to a Big Ten bottom feeder – but these are definitely the biggest contributors to our pro sports scene's return to being obsolete.
Thank goodness for the Vikings, right? That is, if their offensive line is healthy.