Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse joins Michael Rand for a look back at an important weekend in Minnesota sports. They started with the Vikings, who played one of their most complete games of the season when they needed it the most -- and punctuated a 27-20 win over the Chargers with some fourth-quarter aggressiveness on offense. A touchdown extended their lead, and a few key plays let them run out the clock instead of relying on defense for a stop at the end. The Gophers football team, meanwhile, displayed none of that aggressiveness. Though Minnesota outgained Iowa by more than 100 yards and held the ball for twice as long as the Hawkeyes, settling for field goals and failing to make enough big plays in the passing game doomed the Gophers to a 27-22 loss that almost closed the door on Big Ten title aspirations. Reusse and Rand also talked about the Gophers men's basketball team's surprising 3-0 start, the Wolves falling flat after demolishing the Lakers and an epic Division III football game.
More episodes from "StribSports Daily Delivery"
Gophers football: Axe won, Tanner Morgan back, Mike Sanford Jr. out -- and Las Vegas Bowl next?
37:12A trio of football guests helped Michael Rand make some sense of a busy week: *Gophers football writer Randy Johnson joined Daily Delivery to discuss a whirlwind week for that program. Let's see: On Saturday the Gophers beat Wisconsin to reclaim Paul Bunyan's Axe and to change the narrative on their season; Not long after, we learned that Tanner Morgan is returning for a sixth season while much-criticized offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. is departing. And on Sunday, we should find out which bowl game the Gophers have earned this season. *Andrew Krammer joined for a film review of the Vikings, which wasn't pretty after a 34-26 loss to San Francisco. The Vikings were gouged against the run in the loss, and it wasn't just an isolated problem explained away by injuries. *My Least Favorite Team is My Favorite team with Keith Richotte, now with ... limericks?
Patrick Reusse on the Buxton extension, Vikings loss and never doubting P.J. Fleck
41:50Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse joins host Michael Rand for a look at a very busy weekend in sports. Topics covered: *Byron Buxton's seven-year, $100 million extension with the Twins. While Reusse and Rand agreed it needed to happen, Reusse has a message for Buxton: Now you need to play. *The Vikings were run over by the 49ers, though they made enough plays to keep the game close. Defensive shortcomings told the real story, though blaming Kirk Cousins is more fashionable. *The Gophers beat Wisconsin for just the second time since 2003, and they would have had more than just a trophy (and big win) had Nebraska defeated Iowa. Still, it turned what would have been a disappointing season into a good one. *The Wolves had a big win in Philadelphia. Ryan Hartman can't stop scoring, which is a good thing for the Wild. And Reusse witnessed perhaps the biggest win of all in Edina.
Will the Twins spend enough money to win? And will they trade Byron Buxton?
24:03Phil Miller joins host Michael Rand for a look at the Twins and an important offseason. They should have close to $50 million to spend on the open market. But a presumed labor stoppage will complicate any free agent pursuits, and their biggest question might be regarding a player already on their roster: Byron Buxton, and whether they extend or trade him.
Did the Wolves turn a corner? + Gophers QB Tanner Morgan on criticism, opportunity + NFL picks
28:40Introduction: It was a winning night for Minnesota teams, with the Wolves, Wild and Gophers men's basketball team all earning victories. The biggest of the three was the Wolves' 113-101 win over the Heat, their fifth win in a row and a triumph over Jimmy Butler. Is it enough to declare this team has turned a corner? Not yet, since consistency has long been a problem. But it was a big step forward. 6:00: Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan joins the show to help set up Saturday's big game against Wisconsin and to answer a big question: How has he dealt with criticism this season? 11:00: Mark Craig's NFL picks.
Gophers DE Boye Mafe on the Badgers showdown; Wolves and Gophers winning with defense
30:55Introduction: It's an all-defense edition of Daily Delivery as host Michael Rand notes the impact of Minnehaha product and current Gonzaga freshman Chet Holmgren in Tuesday's 83-63 win over UCLA in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown. And the Gophers men's basketball team is carving out a defensive identity early this season, starting 4-0 thanks to its ability to limit teams from the three-point line. 5:00: Gophers football defensive end Boye Mafe joins the show to help set up Saturday's huge rivalry game against Wisconsin that could determine the Big Ten West champion. Mafe explains how P.J. Fleck keeps the team focused on a single-game mentality and looks back on a career playing in his home state. 10:00: Wolves beat writer Chris Hine joins Rand for a look at the team's recent four-game winning streak, which has been fueled by defense. The Wolves have the seventh-best defensive-rating in the NBA and the No. 1 defensive rating over the past five games, thanks in large part to being very good defending three-pointers. Can they keep it up against a tougher slate of opponents, including old friend Jimmy Butler and the Heat on Wednesday? 29:00: Winning a playoff game without taking a single shot on goal? It happened in Major League Soccer on Tuesday.
Will Cousins stay aggressive? + Hidden offensive line woes + Gophers vs. Badgers showdown
41:33It's Tuesday Morning Nickelback time on Daily Delivery, as host Michael Rand welcomes in the usual trio of guests to break down all the big Vikings and Gophers story lines. 2:00: Andrew Krammer joins for Vikings film review, where he takes a look at Justin Jefferson continuing to make big plays -- and Kirk Cousins continuing to push the ball to him downfield. Rand points out that Cousins was pressured at the second-highest rate in the league this past week -- nearly 50% of his dropbacks -- but had by far the most passing yards under pressure. Will he continue to be aggressive even when facing pressure? 15:00: My Least Favorite Team is My Favorite Team brings us five -- yes, one for every Vikings win -- haiku poems this week. Most of it seems to revel in the Packers losing. 29:00: Randy Johnson joins for a Gophers football update ahead of Saturday's huge game against Wisconsin. Depending on what Iowa and Purdue do this weekend, the game could be for the Big Ten West title.
Patrick Reusse on the Vikings' luck, Gophers' opportunity, Loons' collapse and Wolves' surge
41:50Patrick Reusse joins host Michael Rand for a look back at the weekend in sports. It was a mostly positive set of results in Minnesota, including: *The Vikings held off the Packers 34-31 thanks to some late-game heroics and some good fortune that included getting the benefit of a few critical officiating calls. Reusse says Vikings fans can't complain about the referees after that one. Rand notes how the narrative today would be totally different had a late Kirk Cousins interception not been overturned upon review. But the bottom line is Minnesota took a huge win and evened its record at 5-5. *The Gophers gave themselves a chance at the Big Ten West title with a breezy 35-14 win over Indiana on Saturday. Now the path is clear: If Iowa loses to Nebraska, Purdue defeats Indiana and the Gophers beat Wisconsin next weekend, Minnesota will be the Big Ten West champion. Just don't ask Patrick what the name of the Gophers stadium is. *Minnesota United started fast in its playoff game Sunday against Portland, but the Timbers controlled the final 70 minutes of the match in a 3-1 result that ended the Loons' season. *Three wins in a row for the Timberwolves have helped change the narrative on that season, at least for now.
Vikings vs. Packers: A view from Green Bay; NFL picks; Wild and Wolves get the message
38:14Introduction: Chris Finch and Dean Evason delivered messages to their teams before both of them played Thursday. Finch and veteran guard Patrick Beverley implored the Wolves to be professional coming off a win Wednesday against the Kings and follow it with a good showing against San Antonio. Evason juggled his lines after a 4-1 Wild loss to San Jose. The verdict? Messages received loud and clear. Both teams delivered blowout victories and looked about as good as they have at any point this season. 5:00: Longtime Wisconsin-based NFL writer and radio host Jason Wilde joins the show to help set up Sunday's game between the Vikings and Packers. What does Wilde think of all the Aaron Rodgers drama and his future in Green Bay? How much will a recent lack of practice time for Rodgers hurt in Sunday's game? Those questions are answered and much more. 19:00: Vikings/NFL writer Mark Craig joins for his weekly NFL picks segment and to offer more perspectives on Sunday's big game at U.S. Bank Stadium. He thinks the Packers will prevail, but the NFL has been hard to predict this season.
Trade Byron Buxton? No way; Ryan Suter's return; Chris Finch yells, Wolves respond
31:54Introduction: A piece in The Athletic this week indicated there is an expectation within MLB that Byron Buxton will be traded by the Twins. Though there wasn't much news beyond what has already been reported -- the sides keep talking about a new contract but can't agree on terms; the Twins worry about his injury history but also the backlash for letting him go -- it was a reminder that we're into the baseball offseason with no resolution in sight. And it's also an opportunity to restate this: trading Buxton would be a giant mistake that the Twins would regret on multiple levels. 7:00: Star Tribune Wild beat writer Sarah McLellan joins the show to give an evaluation of the team after 15 games. Though there have been some rough edges, including sluggish starts from Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala and a certain lack of sharpness in keeping pucks out of the net, a 10-5 record bodes well for the rest of this season. And the new-look Wild blue line will greet an old friend Thursday when Ryan Suter's Dallas Stars visit Xcel Energy Center. 26:00: The Wolves only collected half of all available defensive rebounds in Wednesday's game against the Kings, leading coach Chris Finch to raise his voice at halftime. The response came after the break, with Minnesota getting a much-needed 107-97 win. But defensive rebounding remains a big issue.
Minnesota United's Adrian Heath + Bench Tanner Morgan? + Vikings a playoff team?
40:33Introduction: Host Michael Rand watched most of Tuesday's Wild game with a level of concern, though clearly not alarm over the 4-1 loss to San Jose . Even with a 10-5 start to the season, there have been some cracks in the Wild's game that showed up again in the loss -- including a lack of production from Kevin Fiala and Kirill Kaprizov. Then again, if you have Dish Network you weren't able to watch the game anyway -- nor will you be able to see anything on Bally Sports North. 5:00: Minnesota United manager Adrian Heath joins the show in advance of Sunday's playoff game in Portland. The Loons started the year 0-4 and left themselves little margin for error, but they rallied and on the last day of the year secured a postseason berth for the third consecutive season. When fully healthy, Minnesota United can play with anyone. Will they be fit in the playoffs and offer further vindication for Heath over his doubters? 21:00: Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins joins the show and debates three main points with Rand: Should the Gophers bench QB Tanner Morgan? Are the Vikings a playoff team? And do the Wolves need patience or a major shakeup? 38:00: Are you ready for Crypto.com Arena?