1. Is it time to tear down the entire Twins organization and start the rebuild from the ground up?
Kras: Just being a Twins fan, I have seen the Terry Ryans of the world enough. I would like to see the Twins shop outside of the organization. Someone with no previous ties to the Twins or the Pohlad’s. The Twins have been stuck in a rut for years and need a fresh face and a fresh look in the club house. I’m not sure who that guy is but he will have his hands full trying to restore the twins to a winning program.
Nate Leer: I agree that is time for a completely new vision in the front office. Molitor will probably have to go as well, which is unfortunate as I think he could be a very good manager. Maybe the owners give the whole regime one more year but the historically bad record combined with several off-season decisions that most fans KNEW would backfire (Sano to RF, not adding relief depth, trading a competent OF for an unknown commodity at C, etc.) means that the regime in place messed up – this isn’t just bad luck!
2.Will the Timberwolves move the #5 overall pick in the NBA draft or will they hold it?
Kras: I’m not entirely sure what the T-wolves will do with the #5 overall pick but I’m sure they will be listening to any and all offers. I have heard some rumblings about a possible Jimmy Butler trade. I think at the end of the day the Bull will want too much for Butler. However, I think adding a solid product like Butler to the Wolves roster would be a great addition and one that would and should excite Wolves Fans. Snap back to reality, I think the Wolves will be on the board with the 5th pick and they will have to decide from whomever is left on the board. Some possible options that they could end up drafting: Jamal Murray PG,SG Kentucky- Kris Dunn PG Providence- Buddy Hield SG Oklahoma- Jaylen Brown SG,SF Cal.
Nate Leer: The T-pups have plenty of young assets including the #5 overall pick. While it would be cool to see them package the pick and/or a player or two for other veteran help, I would prefer to see the team go forward with this group of 10 young players to see what they have. Only Thibs really knows what he wants to do with the team and pick but we should be able to tell how impatient he will be to win based on what happens Thursday.
3.Will the Vikings be able to repeat as NFC North Champs in 2016?
Kras: The Vikings definitely have the team to go after not only a NFC North title, but also a Super Bowl Title. I personally believe that the Packers will once again reign supreme at the end of the year as NFC North champs. I think the Vikings defense will at least maintain their level from last season and if the offensive line improves at all it helps Teddy and Adrian have more success on the offensive side of the ball. The Vikings do have a much tougher schedule on paper than the Packers. According to ESPN.com NFL strength of schedule the Packers have the 32nd toughest schedule as opposed to the Vikings who have the 18th toughest schedule in the league. Depending on what happens with the Lions they could also challenge for the division title, however, they have been far too inconsistent over the years to have any real faith in. I think it will come down to the final weeks of the season again in the NFC North but at the end of the year I think it will be the Packers that will be atop the North.
Nate Leer: I think the Pack is the correct pick especially given their schedule but the Vikes may be the better team by late in the year. The big questions are whether the O-line and WRs are better and whether Teddy can take advantage of it if they are improved. The defense should be top-10 in the league and may be as good as or better than any of the others.
1. With the Cavs beating the Warriors for the NBA Final Championship does this now set up a rivalry between the two teams going forward?
Kras: I feel that it sets up a rivalry to some degree. I think that fans should want to see these two teams battle it out again next year. It has made for good basketball series over the past two seasons. I think the one thing that this series did do was put to rest any doubt that Lebron James is the best basketball player in the league and there is not much debating it. He has been a staple in the Finals for the last 5 seasons. Looking ahead to next season both of these teams can bring back the core of their respective rosters and should ultimately be on course to meet up again next June.
2. Does the win by Dustin Johnson at the U.S. Open propel him into the conversation as the best in the world?
Kras: Seeing how this is just his first major championship it is hard to say that he is the best in the world but over the last 6 months Dustin has been playing golf that is at the highest level. Watching Johnson overcome the controversy on the 5th green along with the pressure of the late collapse last year was pretty incredible. For him to play out the rest of the round not knowing if he was going to be assessed a one stroke penalty for the incident took excellent concentration. Johnson did the best thing possible, which was win by more than one stroke. Johnson was impressive on Sunday, being able to control his putts and reduce his speed on the greens that were triple cut and rolled to get them up to speed. He was equally as impressive with the driver in his hands. As it stands now, Johnson may not be the #1 golfer in the rankings but he is golfing better than anyone else on tour. It will be fun to watch Johnson going forward the rest of the year. Now that he has his first major victory out of the way, it will be interesting to see if he can grab another major victory in the coming months.
3. Who are the top-5 early front runners to possibly make a run at the Super Bowl?
Kras: My 5 picks are in no particular order but they are 5 teams that I can see holding the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the 2016 NFL season.
- New England Patriots- Although Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games, or not, depending who wins what court case the Patriots will have Tom Brady at some point and they still have Bill Belichick who seems to find a way every year. As long as the Patriots have these two guys it is hard to not include them on this list.
- Arizona Cardinals- Bruce Arians coached teams always seem to be ready on both sides of the ball. The Cards will be in the hunt at the end of the year. It helps that their division is in a bit of a transition. With Palmer health the offense will be able to work. on the defensive side of things they have a front seven as good as anyone and they will get help with the return of Tyrann Mattieu.
- Denver Broncos- With the departure of Payton Manning and no really answer in place at QB it is hard to believe the Broncos will repeat but we can’t rule it out. All the other offensive pieces are still in place and the defense will still e tough to operate against. With Wade Phillips ability to coach the defense they will be in most games and it should be enough to keep them in the conversation all year.
- Carolina Panthers- After their loss in the Super Bowl last season one would think they will be hungry to get back and prove to people that they are a better team than what they showed to end season. They did lose Josh Norman which hurts them on defense but he is only one guy on a pretty good defensive team. On the bright side, the get Kelvin Benjamin back from a knee injury on the offensive side of the ball and that should only further open up options for Cam.
- Minnesota Vikings- I did pick the Packers to win the division, but I am picking the Vikings to outlast them in the postseason this year. If the Vikings can improve their offensive line they will be a force on both sides of the ball. I think it all starts with getting John Sullivan back on the field and starting at center. That coupled with free agent signings (Boone, Smith) the Vikings should have good competition all around on the offensive line and have 5 strong and stable starters going into the season. The defense is seemingly nothing to worry about under Zimmer as the Vikes have only got stronger in this area of the game since his arrival in MN.
Nate Leer: As a fan of the purple, I like the Vikes being on this list. However, I think they and the Broncos are long-shots at best given their QB situations. The Seahawks, Bengals and Packers seem like better bets to me.