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Friday (Wild, Wolves, Twins and Vikings youth movement) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated August 8th at 9:59am 270463831

keyskidsOutside of FSN broadcaster Anthony La Panta’s hair, there is nothing in this sports world more seductive than potential.

We see it every year with hope — realistic or not — that a 0-0 team might just take that clean slate and run with it all the way to a championship. It keeps us clinging to games far longer than we should.

The Twins are down 6-1 in the eighth, but there are two men on with one out. A homer here …

The Vikings are down 24-7 in the third quarter, but they just got the ball back and they’re driving. One score here …

And so on.

Where we potential most generously ladled out into our bowls of optimism, though, is with young pro players — the ones who show flashes of brilliance early on or carry reputations for excellence, enticing you to believe they will just keep getting better and better.

We are in the midst, then, of a potentially exciting time in Minnesota sports — and most definitely an exciting time when it comes to potential. The Wild, Wolves, Timberwolves and Twins are in various stages of building, but we cannot recall a time when the four collectively had this many exciting young players or were all best suited to go the route of Clarence Swamptown and “give the keys to the kids” — essentially trusting the youngsters to lead and seeing how far it takes each team. (And yes, that’s a picture of our daughter, Anabel, in this post. She is driving us to work today just to prove how much we believe in keys/kids).

The Wild has a mix of veterans and youth, but the development of that young core was an undeniable reason for the team’s success last season and will determine if and when the team takes more steps forward. And there is more youth on the horizon.

The Wolves are on the verge of trading for Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, the last two No. 1 overall picks in the NBA draft. They also drafted the super-athletic Zach LaVine, while second-year guys Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad are intriguing. Their best course of action will be giving those guys as much run as possible.

We’ve seen promise from Kyle Gibson and Danny Santana for long stretches this season. Kennys Vargas is intriguing. Oswaldo Arcia is intriguing. And much of the best for the Twins is still, theoretically, still yet to come from the minors.

The Vikings had seven first-round picks in the past three seasons, many of whom look to be blossoming. They very well could hand the QB job to a rookie this season. They will succeed or fail largely on the backs of youth.

It’s a state-wide youth movement. It guarantees nothing in the future, but it sure does seduce us in the present.

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