The week in sports: Lynx season wraps as Twins, Gophers, Vikings gear up for games

Twins Reds Baseball
Minnesota Twins' Royce Lewis (23) walks to the dugout after being injured during his at-bat in the eighth inning of the team's baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati on Tuesday.
Jeff Dean | AP

Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson joined MPR News host John Wanamaker to recap the latest Minnesota sports news.

Langfellow is the creator of Minnesota Score Magazine and co-host of the Ten Thousand Takes sports talk show. Nelson is the other host of that show and he’s the Minnesota Vikings reporter for CBS Sports radio’s Eye on the NFL.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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Audio transcript

JOHN WANAMAKER: The Minnesota Lynx season is over after the team lost to Connecticut in last night's playoff game. Here to talk about that and all the latest sports news, Minnesota sports experts Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson. Wally is the creator of Minnesota Score Magazine and co-host of the 10,000 Takes sports talk show. And Eric, the other host of that show, and he's the Minnesota Vikings reporter for CBS Sports Radio's Eye on the NFL. First off, Eric, this is like old times for us, isn't it?

ERIC NELSON: Yeah. We were up the dial a little bit a few years ago, John. Good to hear your voice.

JOHN WANAMAKER: Yeah. Well, Wally, let's start off with the Minnesota Twins. And I'm going to go a little off script and ask what could be a really stupid question. You can almost hear the lock click for the Twins. Does it matter to anyone if they clinch with a victory or a Guardians loss?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Maybe to the folks who provide the champagne for the champagne showers that they take after a win, as opposed to-- and maybe they'll do it anyway. To be honest, I'm not thrilled with that concept. I don't like it. I think that once you clinch a division in baseball, where you have-- there's already, what, 12 teams that make the postseason? I don't know. I think if you win a World Series, great.

But anyway, so to answer your question, in short, I think that, really, nobody. I think the Twins are just going to be happy to be in the postseason again. And if Cleveland loses tonight to Baltimore, the Twins are in. Or if they lose any of their remaining nine games, the Twins are in. Or if the Twins win any of their remaining nine games, they're in. So neither here nor there, they'll be in the playoffs one way or the other. Of course, they beat Cincinnati yesterday scoring three times in the ninth inning for the win.

And then they will continue their regular season this weekend. The Angels come to town. And the Angels, of course, are without Shohei Ohtani and without Mike Trout. So it's really a foregone conclusion. Get set for playoff baseball. We'll get at least two home games at Target Field. That's all for sure. Now, the only questions still hanging out there-- the Twins have some injury issues. Royce Lewis and Carlos Correa-- both of them are currently out.

Correa is on the injured list, and he won't play at least until next weekend in time for the postseason, however. He has plantar fasciitis. That's been bothering him all season long. Royce Lewis is the other one. Royce got hurt on Tuesday injuring his hamstring. He's having an MRI on it today. And they haven't determined the extent of that injury so far. So we'll see how much he plays down the stretch as well. He's hitting .309. He's hit 15 home runs. He's got, what, five grand slams now? 52 RBIs. He has played a tremendous role in them being in first place so far. But they will win the division.

JOHN WANAMAKER: Wally, I was watching the game yesterday, and Hunter Greene was looking untouchable. But, somehow, the Twins found a way to win that game. Has the way they've been winning lately made you more optimistic about their chances in the postseason?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: You know, Hunter Greene was dominating. And Eric and I had this discussion on our daily show yesterday. Why the Reds took him out after 94 pitches is beyond me, I mean, especially at this time of the season when the Reds are fighting for a playoff spot. So that was a head-scratcher. But to the Twins' credit, they scored one in the seventh, one in the eighth, and three in the ninth to win that game. So they started putting things together without relying on the home run. And I think that that's going to be key for them in the postseason, John. They can't rely on the three-run homer to win baseball games. They've got to be able to play some small ball, hit behind runners, move runners along, and get some base hits.

JOHN WANAMAKER: Eric, let's pivot to the Vikings. Two teams that are going to be looking for a win in Minneapolis this weekend-- the Vikings and the Chargers. And the vikings made some moves to address deficiency in the run game and offensive line. What can we expect this weekend?

ERIC NELSON: Yeah, John, and get ready for the So-Cal invasion here in the Twin Cities-- LA Angels playing the Minnesota Twins and, as you said, the LA Chargers will take on the Vikings Sunday at US Bank Stadium. I'm calling this game the Desperation Bowl because the Chargers are 0 and 2, and the Vikings are 0 and 2. Both teams have lost squeaker games. But nonetheless, as Bill Parcells once said, you are what your record says you are. So this is not a must-win game, but it falls in what I call the better-win category.

Nobody wants to dig an 0 and 3 hole and try to climb out. That would be like being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Some interesting sidebars here. Eric Kendricks, who was the heart and soul of that Vikings defense for many years-- great community guy-- he returns to Minneapolis, but his playing status is unclear because of an injury. Minnesota is minus-6 in turnovers this season. That's not a recipe for winning.

But on the flip side, the Chargers, who are 0 and 2, don't have a turnover. They have an outstanding quarterback in Justin Herbert. Now, you mentioned those moves. The Vikings signed running back Cam Akers and Dalton Risner, an offensive guard, this week. Through the first two games of the season, Minnesota has gained an anemic 69 yards in two games on the ground. So they hope Akers can help in the running game. He played with the LA Rams-- won a Super Bowl in Los Angeles with Kevin O'Connell as his offensive coordinator-- the current Viking coach. They got him in a trade with the Rams yesterday.

Risner was with the Denver Broncos-- played in all the Denver games a year ago. He will try to fortify an offensive line that, simply put, is not very physical. It's not a road-grading o-line that can push people out of the way. And they're depleted because of injuries. This will be a very interesting game Sunday. The loser is in a heap of trouble.

JOHN WANAMAKER: All right. We have just a short time to get through the Gophers and the Lynx. Wally, the scandal-plagued, I guess we can call them, Northwestern Wildcats taking on the Gophers in Evanston. What are you looking at?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Well, the Gophers are a prohibitive favorite. They're an 11-point pick right now. 2 and 1-- of course, they lost last week to 17th-ranked North Carolina. Northwestern comes in at 1 and 2. But Minnesota does have a chance to go 2 and 0 in the Big 10 West with a win. The Gophers return home next week to play Louisiana. That's what we call a body bag game. In other words, they'll be heavily favored to win. Louisiana goes out of here with a check and in a body bag.

Then comes the reality check. Number 2 Michigan is the opponent October 7 followed by a trip to 24th-ranked Iowa. So the Gophers do have an uphill climb. They need to win on Saturday.

JOHN WANAMAKER: All right. And, Eric, real quickly, Minnesota Lynx eliminated 2 games to 1 by Connecticut. Do you see this team retooling or rebuilding around Napheesa Collier for the next season?

ERIC NELSON: Yeah. I think Napheesa Collier is a huge building block. She might be the next superstar for the Lynx. They've also got Diamond Miller, the young rookie out of Maryland. We'll see what the Lynx do in the offseason draft-wise. Cheryl Reeve, as we know, is very savvy. And they pushed the Sun to a third game but lost last night at Target Center 90 to 75. Collier had 31 points and 5 rebounds. But the Sun have a dynamic duo of their own-- Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner. Both of those gals put up impressive numbers in the game.

JOHN WANAMAKER: All right, Wally Langfellow, founder of Minnesota Score Sports Magazine, Eric Nelson, Vikings reporter for CBS Sports Radio Eye on the NFL. Together, they host the sports talk show 10,000 Takes. Thanks, guys.



JOHN WANAMAKER: And that's it for Minnesota Now. This week, our senior producer is Aleesa Kuznetsov. Our producers Alanna Elder, Ellen Finn, Gretchen Brown. Our technical director today was Jess Berg. And our theme music was by Minnesota-based musicians Aby Wolf and Joe Horton.

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