1. Will Adrian Peterson be a Viking after the 2016 season?
Kras: I have to believe the 2016 season will tell us a lot about whether or not AP will remain a Viking going forward. If AP can have a solid season and produce at a high level, I could see a situation in which he is a Viking in 2017. If he has a down year and or plays like he is over 30 and has any substantial injury, it is very possible the AP era comes to a close in Minnesota. In 2017 AP’s base salary will be $11.75 million dollars with a cap hit of $18 million. That is more money than I would want to pay a 32 year-old running back. There is no doubt AP has been the best RB since entering the league in 2007 but that doesn’t mean a whole lot in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world. With the amount of money he will be owed and various other needs on the Vikings, it might be the last time we see AP in purple. If AP is not in Minnesota next year, it is very possible that he ends up on a team with a younger back in a time share situation. If that happens I believe the team he would go to would have to be a championship contender. Patriots anyone?
Nate Leer: I think it will probably be time for the Vikes and AP to part ways after the 2016 season. I have been as big of an AP as anyone over the years and think he is an underrated team leader as well as an extremely productive runner. However, both he and the Vikes may have a better chance of getting a Super Bowl ring if he leaves. The Vikes could re-purpose the money and modernize their offense while AP could fulfill a role on another team that may be one piece away from winning it all. The Pats, Dolphins and Giants may be looking for an impact runner going into next year and AP could be a difference maker. I actually would have liked to see the Vikes trade AP for picks this last offseason but his age, contract and Dallas’s drafting of Elliott probably preclude that possibility going forward.
2. Will the Minnesota Lynx win the WNBA Championship again this year?
Kras: With the roster they have and the coach they have, there is no reason they can’t. One thing that is for sure is that Cheryl Reeve will have the team ready to go every night and she will always put them in the best position to win. Late last month the Lynx dropper 3 games in a row after matching their best start to a season with an 11-0 record. I think after winning the championship last year and getting off to a hot start, they may have gotten a little complacent, and that may have lead to the 3 game losing streak. As of now the Lynx have a 19-4 record and they are currently riding a 4 game win streak as they look to continue their winning ways Wednesday against the Atlanta Dream. I think that they have a great chance to repeat as champions. Their biggest challenge to get back and win it all again will be a team in their own division in the Los Angeles Sparks. Which ever one of these teams comes out of the west will be the team to beat.
3. In the next 5 years does Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve get a chance to coach an NBA team?
Kras: I see no reason that she shouldn’t get a chance. She has shown the ability time and time again to not only succeed in the WNBA but also get the best out of her players. She has coached the Lynx to 3 championships since 2011 (2011, 2013, 2015). Reeve’s take-no-crap mentality has put her in a good position to get a look going forward. She knows the game as well as anyone and I think that there will be a team that will consider Reeve and give her a shot. Her first chance might come as an assistant but I feel she is more than capable of being the leader on the bench of an NBA team. It’s all about winning and winning championships, and she has proved that she can do both.
Nate Leer: I think Reeve definitely deserves a shot. Maybe she prefers to stay where she is, much like legendary Lady Vols coach Pat Summit did, but the money and opportunity to do something truly groundbreaking may be enough to lure her to the NBA. Realistically, a look around the NBA suggests that she should already be coaching in the league. When we see some of the debacles that go on at the head coaching level in the NBA – Rivers giving his kid tens of million to suck or Karl publicly feuding with his immature superstar – a super well-prepared, smart, no-nonsense coach (think Pop) would be an improvement. Really, the only thing keeping her from consideration over college coaches or retread pro coaches is probably pure sexism.
1. Where does the final at the 145th Open rate in golf history?
Kras: This has to be one of the better finishes in golf history. Although the weather was not the typical windy, rainy and all around unfavorable Open whether, it still presented its challenges to the golfers but Mickelson and Stenson seemed to be unfazed. Mickelson played lights out golf to open the tournament and he finished in the same fashion. Stenson, however, played even better to close it out. Stenson only seemed to get better as the days progressed at the tournament and closed it out with a 63 on Sunday to best Mickelson and become the first Swede to win a major. Watching these two battle back and forth over the weekend made watching golf about as exciting as it could be. I was as engaged in golf as I have ever been. It’s not too often you get the final pairing on Sunday both playing at their best and playing bogey free golf. Coming into The Open, both Mickelson and Stenson had tied for 13th at -7 at the Scottish Open where neither one of them was overwhelming with their respective golf games. To me, this has to be a top-5 Open finish, potentially even higher than that. To have two golfers finish with scores of -17 and -19 while playing on one of the more challenging course styles is incredible. Great job by both competitors to push each other and finish strong, truly exciting golf!
2. Does the trade for Drew Pomeranz increase the chances of the Boston Red Sox being a World Series contender?
Kras: Pomeranz was traded to the Red Sox for highly touted RHP prospect Anderson Espinoza. His acquisition is sure to help the Red Sox rotation that was in need of another quality and stable arm, and Pomeranz has been able to provide that much of this year. There will be a bit of a difference between pitching in San Diego versus his new home in Boston. We all know that Petco Park has a reputation of being a pitcher-friendly park and the Fenway dimensions don’t set up the same or nearly as favorable. So far this year Pomeranz has posted a 8-7 record with a 2.47 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP while striking out 115 so far and pitching the most innings in a season thus far in his career at 102. Pomeranz is a quality lefty that many teams were interested in at the All-Star Break, however Boston was the winner of the sweepstakes. I think Boston has put themselves in position to make a run at the A.L. East title for sure and possibly even further. All you have to do is get into the playoffs and anything can happen in October. Another positive note for the Red Sox is that Pomeranz is under their control until the end of the 2018 season.
Nate Leer: This seems like a clear win for the BoSox. Pomeranz is not quite proven but has been a highly-regarded prospect for the last few years and seems to have put it all together this year. The fact that he is under team control for next year means the Sox have and opportunity to evaluate him for over a year before deciding if he is worth a big contract. Espinoza may be a top prospect but Pomeranz is already well on his way to proving that he could be a good top-of-the-rotation pitcher.
3. How will the Patriots fare without Tom Brady for the first four games of the 2016 season?
Kras: We will get to see what Jimmy Garoppolo is made of and what he can do. Even without Tom Brady, the Patriots have the ability to win. The savvy of Belichick seems to exceed expectations every year and I don’t think this year will be any different. With Brady out for the first four games of the season, Garoppolo will show us what he is made of. It will be interesting to watch him preform as well. I think if they can go 2-2 in Brady’s absence that will be all the Patriots need him to do to put them in a position to contend when Brady gets back. I will be interested to watch how he does and then what happens to him after this year. If Garoppolo plays well it might set up that he is a high-value trade candidate going into next season. It is also possible that he plays well and they keep him around until the end of the Brady era in New England. Of course, who knows when that will be. On the flip side if he does not perform well, the Patriots know that they might have to look elsewhere for Brady’s replacement going forward. Either way I would expect the Patriots to be in contention in their division and the AFC. There is too much talent and they are too well coached to just fall apart around Garoppolo. Plus, even if he does not preform well, it’s only four games. That gives Tom Brady twelve games to figure it out and get the ship back on track before the playoffs begin.
Nate Leer: The kid seems to have a decent tool set and watching Brady play for a couple years should help his development. If he succeeds, his value could skyrocket. I actually think this is a good situation for the Pats. The 4-game audition is perfect for the Pats to showcase Garoppolo. He is under contract for just over a million dollars for 2017. Given the market for QBs, the Pats could fleece a team such as the Bears or 49ers that may be looking to build around a new QB. A package of 3 quality picks over the next couple of years would not seem unreasonable.