1. Now that Trevor Plouffe is back in the line up for the Twins, how should they proceed with him?
Kras: I think the Twins still need to find a buyer for Plouffe. Ideally his bat gets hot and there is a playoff team that is in need of a third basemen or just an extra bat in the dugout. This would be another opportunity for the Twins to add a piece to the future, hopefully another potential arm for the rotation. On the year, Plouffe is hitting just .245 with 7 HRs and 27 RBIs. Not very encouraging numbers overall but we all know what kind of tear Plouffe is capable of getting on, that coupled with his solid defense should make him a target before the end of the season. Plouffe has been one of the more consistent Twins in the past few seasons but the time has come for the Twins to move to the future and move on from Plouffe.
Nate Leer: The Twins need to let Plouffe take his talents to South Beach or any other destination that could use a versatile player with some right-handed pop. The recent talk about ARod being an option in Miami makes me think Plouffe would be much more helpful to the team on the field. Plouffe could play some 1B until Justin Bour is 100%, could help a bit in the OF to replace Giancarlo Stanton and potentially shift back to 3B so Martin Prado could take over for Dee Gordon at 2B in a possible play-off appearance. Since Plouffe is eligible for arbitration one more year for 2017, the Marlins would have a built-in replacement for 2017 FA Prado after this season. The Twins HAVE to move Plouffe ASAP to create ABs for their younger players so getting any pitching help in return would be good for the organization.
2. Were you encouraged by anything in particular in the Vikings first pre-season game?
Kras: It is early, and the sample size was small, so no. With starters only playing a series or two it is tough to tell if there is anything big going on. There are some things that a person can pick out and view as good signs such as Teddy going for 6 of 7 for 96 yards. Promising. And Laquon Treadwell catching four passes (team high) for 41 yards. Nice, but it really doesn’t mean that is going to be the way things will continue to trend. It will be a work in progress going forward and they will have to continue to work because nothing has been proven yet. Two series into a season yet to play out is nothing to get to excited about. Take it for what it is, a nice little showing, but lets not make it into something bigger than what it was. Teddy and company will look to further build on what they accomplished next @ Seattle this coming Thursday.
Nate Leer: Kras is correct that there is way too little to go on at this point to get truly excited. My one takeaway from the offense was strictly a physical feature – Teddy’s arm. On the 49 yard TD to Charles Johnson, Teddy was moving forward in the pocket and did not get to set his feet very well. He still managed to fling the rock to Johnson without trouble. It looked to me that Teddy may have improved his downfield arm strength this offseason. That would be a huge plus for the Vikes and AP for sure.
3. Do you want to see Adrian Peterson play this pre-season and do you think it makes a difference whether he does or does not play going into the season?
Kras: From a fantasy sports fan’s standpoint, yes I want to see him run the ball a bit in the preseason. I want to see if there are any signs of his age catching up to him and with his history of fumble problems its always nice to see if he gives it up much, if at all, against 2nd and 3rd team guys. All that said I have no reason to believe that he will be anything less than A.P. come opening day regardless of how many preseason reps he sees. A.P. is a professional and works hard at being the best. Until Father Time can catch up with him he can go without running in the preseason. Whether or not he plays in the preseason he will be ready for 2016 and and is solidly in the top-10 of the Fans Sports Lists 2016 Fantasy Football Top 200 Players.
1. Is Michael Phelps the best Olympian of all time?
Kras: Seeing how the Olympics have been going on seemingly since the dawn of time, there is a lot that I haven’t seen. However, I have to believe this is something special. He is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time with 28 medals ( 23 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze). I think that alone says a lot about how good he is. When a person takes into consideration that he has done this over a 12 year period it is equally impressive. I think it has to be hard to be the best at your craft when you can only display it every four years. Regardless of what you think about Phelps he is incredible and what he has accomplished is nothing short of amazing. It will be interesting to see if there will be a chance for Phelps to have a showing in 2020.
Nate Leer: This is a debate without a true, objective answer. So I say, “Just count the medals!”
2. Should the men’s U.S. Olympic basketball team be worried about the few close games they had?
Kras: I don’t think they have much to worry about as they are the team to beat, but they can’t get lazy or complacent because there are a couple teams that could give them fits. The U.S. team does not play together as often as some of the other national teams and I think that plays a factor in how the U.S. team preforms. That, I believe, is the reason that we have been seeing these close games against opponents they should be handling with relative ease. I fully expect them to win the gold, but they can’t assume it is theirs, they will have to earn it.
Nate Leer: Hopefully these close games were a wake-up call. Plus, the team should keep improving as they play together. The U.S. is still the only team to bet on in this little tourney.
3. With the NFL getting underway, who are teams that finished below .500 that you think will finish above .500 this season?
Kras: The Oakland Raiders are a team that I feel could go from 7-9 to potentially 10-6, more likely 9-7. They have the 15th toughest strength of schedule. I believe their offense will take a step forward again this year and I believe that the Raiders defense will be a top-15 defense. I think they have the talent to be a playoff team and with the QB situation in Denver this might be the year for the Raiders to make a push.
Nate Leer: One team poised to make a big jump is the Cowboys. They were bad last year because of injuries so if they can stay healthy, the NFC East is definitely ripe for the taking.