Every September, the NFL season kicks off as MLB pennant chases commence in earnest. This go-round, the Minnesota Twins will try to salt away the AL Central crown while the Minnesota Vikings begin their defense of an NFC North title.
In the 25-odd years I’ve been closely following both clubs, I can only recall three seasons in which the Twins and Vikings produced truly exciting play simultaneously...
- September: The Vikes jump out to a 4-0 start while the Twins outmaneuver the Chicago White Sox for a playoff berth.
- End result: The Purple go 6-0—then miss the playoffs in the most improbable of ways (pretty much the franchise modus operandi). The Twins lose to the New York Yankees in the ALDS and a curse begins.
- September: The gridiron gang post a 2-1 mark with Daunte Culpepper & Randy Moss looking unstoppable. The diamond bunch cruises to an AL Central 3-peat.
- End result: After a 6-1 start, Mike Tice’s charges again collapse and back into the playoffs. But then the infamous Moon Over Lambeau occurs before MN succumbs to Philly in the next round. The Twins win the first game of a Yankees ALDS rematch—then lose three straight. Absolutely no doubts are harbored that a playoff breakthrough will happen soon.
- September: The Vikings sign Brett Favre and the entire state goes bananas. There’s live helicopter coverage of his drive to Winter Park from the airport! He leads the team to a solid 3-0 start. Meanwhile, the Twins look dead-in-the-water as September begins—then put together an improbable run that begets the Best Twins Game Ever Played: Millennial Edition.
- End Result: As in the classic fairy tale, Favre’s Cinderella magic runs out at the worst possible moment. The Twins prevail in Game 163 but again are whisked away by the Bronx Bombers without so much as a victory to show for it.
This week, Thursday night sees the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs host the perennially hopeless (but maybe good this year?) Detroit Lions. Then, the Vikings will welcome the Tampa Bay
Baker Mayfields Buccaneers to U.S. Bank Stadium three days later (I’ll be there!). Here’s hoping that September 2023 can be that rare gem of a month for Minnesota baseball and football fans alike to enjoy their respective squads!