Having a weekly column has reacquainted me with the joys of writing. Using the English language to properly convey a written message can be exciting, enlightening, and beautiful all at the same time. However, nowadays it can also be very confusing. I’ve always been told not to use words if you aren’t quite sure what they mean, but in this slang-driven society, that can be a difficult challenge.

Way back in 1987, Michael Jackson taught us that “bad” can actually mean “good” and I’ve got that one down. Yet, even in a pandemic era something can be “sick” and be the greatest thing ever. Even something categorized as “stupid” can mean “excellent” or “terrific” now. I’m just trying to keep up.

With Halloween approaching, a word I keep hearing is “scary.” Does this qualify too? I’ve never been one who enjoys things that are scary and consider it to be a negative feeling, but in the sports world I’ve heard teams who are loaded with talent be described as “scary good.” I think it works both ways – especially here in Minnesota.

For the Vikings, it’ll be scary if this defense doesn’t continue to improve. When we don’t get pressure on the opposing quarterback, it can be unwatchable. Even their best game by the 'eye test' was a statistical nightmare saved by turnovers. It’ll be scary if the offense doesn’t find more consistency (cough, cough, 3rd quarters, cough, cough) and that idea can be directed towards Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, the offensive line, and any pass-catcher not named Justin Jefferson.

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Yet it will also be “scary” if this team finds its “A-game” in what (in my opinion) has been a B-/C+ football performance so far this season. Cousins must know he can be better and has a coach willing to work with him to find another level. Cook showed off his big-play capability against Miami, but it came after several small plays, and more balance needs to be there.

Jefferson should get more attention each week, so opportunities should be there for Thielen, Osborn, and others. Defensively, Ed Donatell declared publicly that it takes about a month to learn his 3-4 scheme. Glimpses of grasping it are there, but time is up. Start passing tests, instead of testing the fans every time the opposition decides to pass.

The Wild will be scary if the wrong decision was made in keeping Matt Dumba and parting ways with Kevin Fiala. In terms of position, it couldn’t be any different, but in terms of finances, that was the choice that had to be made. Dumba continues to be an enigma, and the negatives become glaring on a team that has struggled with defensive leadership. Yet, Minnesota notched a big win Tuesday night in Montreal, and time will tell if it gets things headed in the right direction. “The Flower” bloomed at the right time with a game-changing save on a penalty shot, and Joel Eriksson Ek scored two of the team’s three goals. That’s my favorite recipe for a victory.

Say what you want about Matt Boldy, Marco Rossi, and even Mats Zuccarello, but for me, Eriksson Ek needs to be 'Robin' while Kirill Kaprizov is the obvious 'Batman'. Sprinkle in, as Jacob Middleton put it Tuesday, the defense getting its “mojo” back (he used a much more humorous anatomical analogy) and finding consistent goaltending, and the Wild still have a roster that can be “scary good.”

The same can be said for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rudy Gobert, Anthony Edwards, and KAT should be one of the best trios in the NBA -- if they can do it by working together. So far, in a lackluster start, each has had individual flashes of greatness, but also cringe-worthy moments (more slang for the kids).

Rick Rickert said on last week’s Northland Sports Page that it may take 15-20 games for the team to figure out how to play to each other’s strengths and best utilize Gobert’s presence. I’m willing to grant them that, but obviously hope it comes sooner than later. With their early schedule, some experts talked about the Timberwolves potentially starting 7-0. Now, I just hope to be over .500 during this supposed learning period.

What is truly scary is, what if this all doesn’t work? Disregard how much Minnesota gave up in order to acquire Gobert and just focus on the court. What if Minnesota’s success is truly based on pace, and Gobert is just too slow to truly fit? What if instead of allowing aggressiveness in terms of perimeter defense, Gobert’s ability to protect the rim has created laziness by others? Right now, opponents have to view games against the Timberwolves as a game of “HORSE” – you’re out there alone, just make the open shot.

Lastly, there’s the Twins. On this day 31 years ago, Kirby Puckett sent this state into a frenzy, and we all know what happened the next day. Since then, the Twins have watched the World Series with the rest of Minnesota. What’s truly scary is I’m not sure they’ll see the light on the importance of pitching – both acquiring and utilizing it. I’m not sure they have one recent reclamation project they can truly hang their hat on, but you can nearly be certain they’ll try another one next season.

There’s a glaring need for another veteran outfielder as well. The Jake Cave era mercifully has ended, and while Gilberto Celestino was respectable at times, he can’t be the answer when Byron Buxton plays 90 games again.

That easily leads us to the glaring scary good part of the Twins. If they can stay healthy at all, there is talent to be showcased. Seemingly everyone got injured last season and a large percentage of the summer was still spent atop the division. Buxton, Polanco, Miranda, Larnach, and Kiriloff can help solidify a more-than-serviceable lineup. Even with the need for more pitching, Ryan, Gray, Mahle, Maeda, and others have all had great years before. It just all needs to come together at the right time. If it doesn’t, don’t you think some jobs will be lost among the brass for the Twins by this time next year?

Bet. Wait, what? You want odds on this? Enough slang already. Guess I’m too scared to use it properly.

I’ll chat with you Saturday when Anthony LaPanta, Dave Hoops, Paul Allen, and Justin May all join the show.

Brian's show, 'The Northland Sports Page', can be heard Saturdays from 10 am to noon on the FAN 106.5 FM/560 AM. You can catch previous episodes on the Northland FAN On-Demand area of our website or on our mobile app.

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