We release three Minnesota Sports Ramble blogs a week, one on Tuesday (Minnesota Vikings related), one on Wednesday (Minnesota Wild related), and one on Friday (Minnesota Timberwolves related).
Our most recent content is featured below.
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The Wild Finish Their Canadian Cluster 2-1, the Importance of Koivu (Minnesota Sports Ramble #31)
"They were aggressive on and off the puck against the Habs, in addition to skating and working hard. The Canadiens were on a bit of a hot streak, so it showed us what this team is capable of. It was also a big bounce back game for Dubnyk. Now he needs to back it up against the Panthers tonight."
The importance of Mikko Koivu, blanked by the Calgary Flames, spanked by the Edmonton Oilers, and a route on the Montreal Canadiens.
Vikings Loss at Seattle, DiFilippo Gone, Cousins' Hate, Defensive Games, More (Minnesota Sports Ramble #30)
“While the offensive line is, in fact, playing poorly, Kirk Cousins is a quarterback who is playing scared right now. He knows he doesn't have a lot of time in the pocket, so he is rushing things and his timing is off. Cousins is a pocket passer who has no pocket to pass from. He is in constant panic mode. Some quarterbacks thrive in panic mode and are great at ad-libbing, but Cousins is not that kind of quarterback. He is a slightly more mobile version of Sam Bradford, only slightly less accurate."
DiFilippo as scapegoat, justification of Cousins hatred, the Vikings sputtering offense, a defense of low-scoring games, and more in this edition with Vikings analyst Mike Coenen.
Towns and Wiggins Surge, Impressive Wins, Derrick Rose, and the Wolves Bench (Minnesota Sports Ramble #29)
“Minnesota rallied and gave one of their most impressive defensive performances in some time against the Rockets. They were incredibly disruptive with forcing turnovers and did an excellent job suffocating Houston’s shooters."
Wiggins' and Towns' improvement, impressive wins against the Rockets and Hornets, Derrick Rose as best NBA sixth man, the Wolves bench, and more are discussed this week. As usual, Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland interviews Wolves analyst Beartrap McManus.
Wild Finally Break Their Slump (Minnesota Sports Ramble #28)
"I would put the Wild's playoff probability at 88%. It could be higher if they had more consistent play. The West, and the Central Division specifically, is very tough."
A victory against the Canucks, the Wild's recent slump, bad bounces in Toronto, "outworked" against the Blue Jackets, the teams playoff chances, and more in this weeks edition.
Vikings Simply Outmatched in New England (Minnesota Sports Ramble #27)
“The problem is not John DiFilippo’s play calling, nor the fact the Vikings aren’t running the ball more. The problem, as I say each week, is that the Vikings have a terrible offensive line. They don’t run the ball more because the offensive is terrible at run blocking. The Vikings have two good running backs and no good offensive linemen."
The Patriots simple out-performance of the Vikings, inconsistent Kirk Cousins, play calling and DiFillipo, defensive and kicker woes, a dismal outlook for the Seahawks game and the rest of the season, and more in this weeks Vikings edition.
Covington and Saric Bring Life to Timberwolves, Wiggins' Woes, an Apology to Derrick Rose, and More (Minnesota Sports Ramble #26)
“Covington is also an incredibly disruptive defender who continuously impresses the hell out of me with his strips, steals, and deflections. The timing, skill, and awareness needed to pull those off so regularly is remarkable. The rest of the team seems to be playing with more urgency and intensity on defense since the trade as well, Towns especially."
An apology to Derrick Rose, the teams constant winning (especially their impressive victory against the Spurs), the new life Covington and Saric bring, Wiggins' woes, and more. Timberwolves expert Beartrap McManus sits down with Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland.
Nino, Dumba, Dubnyk, Stalock, and More: Minnesota Wild Update 11/28/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #25)
"The Wild, when healthy and playing well, can compete with any team in the league."
Nino to the fourth line, Dumba's offensive surge, a disappointing loss, and a couple good victories are discussed in this edition. Wild analyst Peter Ripka answers questions from Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland.
Vikings Whimper to a Win Against Hapless Packers (Minnesota Sports Ramble #24)
“The Vikings beat a Packer team that will not make the playoffs. It would have been impressive had they beaten the Bears, Rams, or Saints. But the hapless Packers? Not so much. They got the win, though, and that’s all that matters."
Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland asks Vikings analyst Mike Coenen about their victory against the Packers, their biggest issues this year, and the upcoming game against the Patriots (Mike makes a bold prediction).
Best Wolves Team Ever?: Timberwolves Update 11/21/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #23)
“The game against the Blazers was the most fun I’ve had watching the Wolves all season. They were great defensively throughout. Covington and Saric have made their presence felt on that end since they got here.”
The Wolves dominant performance against the Blazers, their issues against the Grizzlies, Butler on the 76ers, and more with legendary Wolves expert Beartrap McManus and Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland.
A Dominant Performance and Then...Not so Much: Wild Update 11/20/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #22)
"This team has had a problem starting games for a long time. It takes them a bit to get their legs going for some reason. It's hard to figure out what the problem is without being in the room, but it is very frustrating to watch."
A dominant performance against the Canucks, a disappointing one against the Sabres, why the Wild start slowly, and a look around the league. As usual, Wild analyst Peter Ripka answers questions from Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland.
That's Not the Way that it's Done: Vikings Update 11/19/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #21)
“Kirk Cousins does make some critical mistakes at inopportune times. As I’ve mentioned in previous weeks, his numbers are solid. But a lot of games have those critical moments when they are sometimes won or lost. Kirk Cousins is not stepping up in those moments and getting it done. Instead, he’s making critical mistakes that are costing his team games. ”
Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland asks Vikings analyst Mike Coenen about the teams loss to the Bears, the NFC North, and more.
The Post-Butler Era Begins: Timberwolves Update 11/16/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #20)
“Jimmy’s tenure as a Wolf serves as an indictment of his leadership abilities. Wiggins and Towns were a pretty effective two-headed beast before he arrived, and it would be tough to argue that he made them better in his time here."
The fallout of the Jimmy Butler trade, who deserves the most blame for his situation, Towns and Wiggins, and the Wolves recent surge are all covered by Rambling On Wolves analyst Beartrap McManus.
Road Trip Warriors: Minnesota Wild Update 11/14/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #19)
"The Parise-Koivu-Niederreiter line has finally developed their chemistry and are playing with confidence. Continuing that confidence and getting pucks and bodies to the net is essential for their continued success."
Rambling On Wild analyst Peter Ripka discuss the Wilds impressive road trip, which lines are succeeding most, defensive play, and the egg they laid against the Caps at home.
Vikings By the Bye Week Awards (Minnesota Sports Ramble #18)
“Because of his huge salary, people already think Cousins is a major bust after nine games. In reality, Cousins has put up Hall of Fame type numbers (17 TD to 5 INT and a 71.3 completion percentage for 2,685 yards).”
We have an extra fun Vikings update this week. Since it's the Vikings bye week and we're little over halfway through the season, here are analyst Mike Coenen's By the Bye Week Awards. Categories include offensive, defensive, and special teams MVP (may surprise you), biggest surprises, best and worst moments, and more.
So Long, Joe: the Legacy of Joe Mauer (Minnesota Sports Ramble #17)
Hometown hero. MVP. Batting champion. Bi-lateral leg weakness. Through the good and the bad, Joe Mauer has been the face of the Twins for 15 years. His retirement signals the end of an era (doesn't it already feel weird to know that he won't be playing anymore?).
Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland asks our Wild and Twins analyst Peter Ripka what he thinks of the many angles of Joe Mauer's legacy in this special edition of the Minnesota Sports Ramble.
Man, Where to Start: Timberwolves Update 11/9/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #16)
“Wiggins has actually played pretty well this year, I think. He’s taking and making more threes and is rebounding a bit better. He’s still lousy on defense, though.”
Life coach and Rambling On Wolves analyst Beartrap McManus discusses their lousy road trip so far, the effect of Butler on Towns and Wiggins, and the cost of tanking.
Still Looking Up: Minnesota Wild Update 11/8/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #15)
"The Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 5-1 last Saturday in a dominant performance. They made good, crisp passes out of their zone and through the neutral zone. Once they got into the offensive zone, they were aggressive with getting pucks towards the net, which they are scary when they actually do."
In our classic "Ramble style" bullet-point format, Wild analyst Peter Ripka and Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland discuss the Wilds disappointing loss to the Sharks, their beyond impressive victory against the Blues, and the somewhat surprising depth of the roster.
All About the D: Vikings Update 11/6/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #14)
“The Vikings defense started out slow this season, but have been ramping up its intensity and level of play in the past few weeks. So what transpired on Sunday was no coincidence. Offenses play poorly because of good defensive play. ”
Vikings analyst and podcast co-host Mike Coenen discusses the Vikings dominant performance against the Detroit Lions and whether the Chicago Bears are for real.
Lo, How a (Derrick) Rose E'er Blooming: Timberwolves Update 11/2/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #13)
"Rose was truly great in a game they really needed him to be great in, but I’m not sure it says much without demonstrating an ability to play at or near that level consistently. Corey Brewer dropped 51 on the Rockets in probably the greatest moment of my five-year Wolves season ticket tenure, but that didn’t change who he was as a player. I was most encouraged by how well Rose played in pick and roll with KAT, something Teague has yet to figure out how to do effectively. "
Life coach and Rambling On Wolves analyst Beartrap McManus discusses the Redemption of Rose, Jimmy Butler being Jimmy Butler, and the Wolves upcoming road trip. He also answers a super-secret "flush the format" question at the end (oh boy!).
Who is Ascending? Minnesota Wild Update 10/31/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #12)
"Granlund extended his point streak to nine games with what ended up being the game-winning goal late in the Wilds 3-2 road win over the Oilers. If he continues utilizing that lethal shot of his, he will finally on his way to reaching his potential."
In our classic "Ramble style" bullet-point format, Wild analyst Peter Ripka and Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland discuss the Wild's recent win streak, their tendency to start slow, and the ascension of a key Wild asset.
Mistakes, and More: The Vikings Lose to the Saints (Minnesota Music Ramble #11)
“The Vikings would like for a Super Bowl victory to come this season. And who knows, stranger things have happened. If the stars align just right, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the Vikings are still playing in early February. ”
Vikings analyst and podcast co-host Mike Coenen discusses the cost of turnovers in their loss to the Saints, a controversial article about Kirk Cousins, and their upcoming battle with the Detroit Lions.
Insane Bulter Offer, Okogie, and Rose: Timberwolves Update 10/26/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #10)
"I’m not as down on Rose as I was last season, but I think there are a lot of legitimate questions when it comes to his fit with the team, both short and long term. You have to ask whether there’s anything being lost in terms of opportunity cost, as they rely heavily on an injury prone, shell of a former MVP who literally went AWOL on his previous team at the expense of young, talented, and still developing players."
Life coach and Rambling On Wolves analyst Beartrap McManus on the latest insane Jimmy Butler talk, debates the worth of the decently playing Derrick Rose, touches on the teams play so far, and has some words on the young, up-and-coming Josh Okogie.
All They do is Win: Wild Update 10/25/18 (Minnesota Sports Ramble #9, #9, #9...)
"Koivu has a lot of skill that is needed on the power play. He has size and uses it well to protect the puck. He is also an elite play maker and makes passes that he shouldn't."
Wild analyst Peter Ripka and Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland discuss the Wild's recent winning streak, Koivu on the power play, Granlund trending up, and Suter being Suter. Another edition in our classic "Ramble style" bullet-point format.
Finally, an Impressive Victory: Vikings/Jets and More (Minnesota Sports Ramble #8)
"The Vikings did what a Super Bowl contender should do in the situation they were in: they manhandled a less talented team in their own stadium. I don't expect them to lose another game until they play the Patriots on December second."
Vikings analyst Mike Coenen discusses the Vikings impressive 37-17 victory over the Jets, Kirk Cousins, Sam Darnold, DeFilippo v. Shurmur, and the upcoming Sunday Night game against the Saints.
Slow and Go, but Also Some Wins for Wild (Minnesota Sports Ramble #7)
"The top line of Staal, Zucker, and Coyle have a lot of chemistry and have all seemed to find their games at the same time. It was also good to see Dubnyk have another solid game. The puck support was also a lot better than the first four games."
In our latest Wild edition, which is in our classic "Ramble style" bullet-point format, team analyst Peter Ripka comments on the their first wins, their lackluster losses, the play of the old vs. younger players on the roster, and more.
Shitshow: 2018 Minnesota Timberwolves Preview (Minnesota Sports Ramble #6)
"Wiggins sucks. He’s an outdated style volume scorer that really isn’t good at that. His max deal will be an albatross in the coming years. He’s also a bit better than he was allowed to be last year, and once Butler’s gone I expect him to improve with spacing and more touches. He still sucks."
For this special Timberwolves opening night edition, Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland asks resident Timberwolves expert Beartrap McManus his thoughts on the Jimmy Butler fiasco, Towns and Wiggins, Thibs, Glen Taylor, and the upcoming 2018 season.
Hey, at Least it Wasn't the Bills Game: Vikings/Cardinals (Minnesota Sports Ramble #5)
“In terms of overall yardage, Diggs and Thielen have a slight lead over some of the other more vaunted wide receiver duos in the league. Of course it’s not all about stats, but making clutch plays when it really matters, even putting your body on the line in order to get that extra couple yards to get a first down. They do these things each week. Diggs and Thielen can certainly count themselves among the league’s top three wide receiver duos.”
Vikings analyst and podcast co-host Mike Coenen discusses the Vikings 27-17 victory over the Cardinals, the good and bad of Kirk Cousins, the continuing upswing of the Vikings defense, and more.
Wild Start Season with a Whimper (Minnesota Sports Ramble #4)
"Despite their extended offseason, it looks like the Wild are still paying summer or preseason hockey. They're just not crisp, and they aren't moving the puck quickly. It's disconcerting."
The Wild began 2018 the way they played, and ended, 2017: with a blah. But like Wild analyst Peter Ripka notes, they got over 100 points last year, and still have the same core. What has gone wrong so far? What do they need to do to improve? Will Dubnyk continue his stellar play? Peter comments on all this and more in this weeks Wild edition of the Minnesota Sports Ramble blog.
Big Vikings Win in Philadelphia (Minnesota Sports Ramble #3)
"The Kirk Cousins of the Eagles game is the real Kirk Cousins. If he can get at least mediocre line play he will continue to be successful. He has some superstar (yes, superstar) weapons out there in Thielen and Diggs, which will go a long way when your O line is only mediocre."
Mike Coenen, Minnesota Vikings analyst and Sports Ramble podcast co-host, discusses what went right in the Vikings 23-21 win against the Eagles. Includes notes on Kirk Cousins' performance, the lack of running game, the defense suddenly coming alive, and what the Lions defeating the Packers means (and what it doesn't).
Minnesota Wild Preview: Pretty Much the Status Quo (Minnesota Sports Ramble #2)
"What fans don’t seem to remember is that this team has had back-to-back 100+ point seasons. This year, if they stay healthy and the kids improve, they should accomplish that again."
Who was the Wilds best player in 2017? How did they do in the offseason? Who needs to improve the most (and who will)? Find out all this, in addition to grades for each major player, in Wild analyst Peter Ripka's Wild season preview.
Not all that Bad: A Look at the 2018 Minnesota Vikings so Far (Minnesota Sports Ramble #1)
"Through the first four games the Vikings have not been a 12-4 caliber team. At 1-2-1 there is still time to right the ship, however. It is still early in the season. The pieces are there. They have to figure out what the problem is, particularly on defense. "
Vikings analyst (and Sports Ramble podcast co-host) Mike Coenen and Rambling On founder Erik Ritland assess the Vikings 2018 season so far. They also look ahead to what they have to do to be successful for the rest of the year.