NBA Analyst Takes Shot at Vikings after Timberwolves Loss

NBA Analyst Takes Shot at Vikings after Timberwolves Loss
Apr 21, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards (1) dribbles against the Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) in the second quarter during game one of the three round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves had a 26-point lead in the first half of a Game 3 playoff game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night that was cut to seven points by halftime. Then, the Wolves re-rose the mark to a 25-point lead in the 3rd Quarter — and later lost. And that stirred the tweeting temptation for an NBA analyst.

Indeed, the Wolves collapsed in proper “Minnesota sports” form and now must hope for complete memory erasure before Game 4. Otherwise, the upstart and offensively-minded Wolves will bumble out of the postseason prematurely.

For NBA analyst and founder of The Ringer, Bill Simmons, the Wolves debacle was emulative of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings have a reputation of coughing away important playoff games — usually via errant field goals — so Simmons decided that Minnesota sports needed one big lasso.

Twitter roasted Bill Simmons after he took a shot at one of his former  writers | For The Win

In 1998, the Vikings choked away a lead to the Atlanta Falcons and a trip to Super Bowl XXXIII. Minnesota took a foot off the offensive gas and missed a chip-shot field goal. Eleven years later, the Vikings could’ve topped the New Orleans Saints in the 2009 NFC Championship but allowed turnovers and a Saints bounty program to thwart the Lombardi trophy plans.

Six years after that, Blair Walsh missed an easy field goal at TCF Bank Stadium that would’ve sent Mike Zimmer’s Vikings to the Divisional Round of the Playoffs in just his second season.

Was Blair Walsh's missed field goal the worst choke in playoff history? |  For The Win
Blair Walsh

In this vein — devastating playoff gaffes — Simmons is correct in insinuating the Wolves were Vikingesque at home versus the Grizzlies.

Recently, however, the Vikings have not been snakebitten by end-of-game atrocities.

In the last five years, the Vikings are 49-1 (.980) when leading at the start of the 4th Quarter. This win percentage is the best in the NFL during the timeframe. The only game lost when leading after three quarters occurred in 2021 when Minnesota fell in Baltimore to the Ravens.

While it’s fashionable and cliché to assume the Vikings are merchants of collapse, they haven’t done so lately. Somehow, the curse was reversed after the Blair Walsh miss, but nobody really cares as all anyone can remember are the events from 2015 and before.

For context, a team like the Indianapolis Colts has lost 13 games when leading at the start of the 4th Quarter since 2016. Minnesota has lost one such contest.

Overall, the spirit of the Simmons barb is correct — the Wolves bungled a lead in the postseason, and the Vikings did that, too, in 1998, 2009, and 2015.

Yet, as a blanket statement, Minnesota hasn’t totally melted down since January 10th, 2016, against the Seahawks.

But some tweets are too irresistible for the beholder.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).