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Glen Taylor owes us an explanation!

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, Minnesota’s own, is the most no-secret-here popular owner in town. He owns the Star Tribune newspaper also. Since he has owned the Timberwolves, however, it’s been hit and miss. What have you done lately?

Thirteen years in a row the team has missed the playoffs while his investment in the team has grown by leaps and bounds. Taylor has been chairman of the NBA Board of Governors. He has even been fined by David Stearn for his role in the fraud case of Joe Smith many years ago.

He hired Kevin McHale and Flip Saunders in 1995, many years ago, and the Timberwolves were actually relevant for a while. They even made the playoffs seven or eight years in a row. They drafted this high school kid from Chicago, Kevin Garnett, who turned out to be one of the NBA’s greatest stars. In fact, he is the only Timberwolves player who was selected the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

The guy played for 20 years. The Timberwolves even traded him to Boston, and he led the Celtics to an NBA championship and to the NBA finals twice. Five years ago Taylor hired Saunders again, this time as part owner and head coach. Saunders had a master plan to help Taylor save his struggling franchise. Saunders made a deal that included bringing Garnett, the franchise’s greatest player, back to Minnesota.

Garnett was with the Brooklyn Nets at the time. He agreed to return to Minnesota to play even though it was clearly at the end of incredible career and with the intent to eventually transition into the front office as part owner.

As we all know, Saunders died three years ago of Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. Saunders’ sudden passing really hurt the franchise; Minnesota had lost its leader. Taylor hired Sam Mitchell as interim head coach, but after one year fired him. Moving away from Garnett and all that Saunders had put in place, Taylor hired Tom Thibodeau as president and head coach.

Taylor has never spoken about Garnett or why he was no longer around. Garnett never officially retired either as a Timberwolves player and never received the respect he deserved for what he did here as a player both times. Garnett said recently he wants to own the Timberwolves and did not want to be a partner with Taylor. That would indicate some issues or agreements that were not fulfilled.

I think Taylor owes us an explanation. He should consider opening up about how Saunders’ death changed the direction of the franchise. What was Garnett promised when he returned with Saunders? Garnett’s jersey has not been retired. He has never been recognized by this organization or Taylor for all he has done for all those years.

Why is that? I know it’s business, but both sides are not talking.

The Timberwolves are the only franchise with no players who have ever been recognized for contributing to the growth of the franchise — no ring of honor, no retired jerseys. Taylor needs to invite Garnett back and work through the issues and set the record straight on what happened after Saunders died. What ended Garnett’s return as a Timberwolves player so abruptly, and what had he agreed to with the team?

I know Garnett has made $300 million or more over his remarkable career, but we need to hear from Taylor what went down and why Garnett feels jilted. Taylor, you at least owe us all that.

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

Vikings clinch NFC North!

Jerrick McKinnon

Big day for Jerrick McKinnon! Steve Floyd

Jerrick McKinnon

Jerrick McKinnon | photo by Steve

First things first: Win your Division, win as many games as you can, stay focused on what you can control and let everything else take care of itself.

Sunday the Vikings played at U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time since November 19 and routed the Cincinnati Bengals 34-7. Quarterback Case Keenum was flawless, 20-23 for 236 yards and two touchdowns, while the Vikings defense declawed the Bengals, holding them to just 178 yards offense.

For the second time in three years the Vikings have clinched the NFC North title and improved to 11-3. With two games remaining, they are very much in the hunt for a first-round bye. Running back Latavius Murray ran 20 times for 76 yards and a touchdown. Jerrick McKinnon had seven receptions for 114 yards, and linebacker Eric Kendricks returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown.

Marvin Lewis, the longtime (14 years) head coach at Cincinnati, matched up Sunday against Mike Zimmer in an old-fashioned teacher vs. pupil matchup. Zimmer was defensive coordinator with Lewis from 2008 to 2013 in Cincinnati before getting the job as head coach here with the Vikings.

Zimmer told his football team in July they were capable of winning the Super Bowl. No team has ever before hosted the Super Bowl and played in it as well, but it could happen. Right now the Vikings are in position, along with a few other teams like New England, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, to realistically make that happen.

This team has done a great job all year of staying on point and being healthy mentally, supporting one another, and more importantly staying in the moment. With two games left, one at Green Bay and at home against Chicago, the Vikings know how good they are.

This team has great balance offensively and defensively and now they just need to stay the course. The Philadelphia Eagles are 12-2 and can clinch the home field advantage with a win this week. The Vikings are still in great position to get a first-round bye because of wins over both Los Angeles and New Orleans.

Case Keenum

Case Keenum 20-26 for 236 and 2TDs | Photo by Steve Floyd


Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

Panthers humble Vikings!

Cam Newton

Cam Newton leads Panthers over Vikings 31-24

Nobody said it would be easy. Remember, only the 1972 Miami Dolphins finished 17-0.

You would think the world came to an end in the state of Minnesota after Carolina beat the Vikings Sunday 31-24, ending their eight-game winning streak and five-game road win streak.

The Panthers scored a season-high 31 points and ran for 216 yards in winning at home in Charlotte. Yes, the stakes are high when you’re trying to become the first team in NFL history to host and play in a home Super Bowl LII on Sunday, February 4, 2018.

The Panthers sacked Vikings quarterback Case Keenum six times; the Vikings had not allowed more than two sacks all season. The Vikings committed two costly turnovers and dropped several passes. They also missed several tackles on defense, missed a field goal, and had a touchdown reversed by an official.

It happens — it’s the reality of winning and losing. Nobody wins them all. The Vikings are now 10-3 with three games remaining: Sunday at home against Cincinnati at 12 noon, at Green Bay December 24, and home against Chicago December 3.

The Vikings still have the second-best record in the NFL at 10-3, and if they can hold that position for three more weeks they will win the NFC North and host a divisional round playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings now have the same record as New England, the defending Super Bowl Champions.

It’s not easy trying to win your first-ever Super Bowl, so come down off that cliff. It’s not over. Grab your pom poms and get behind your team.

Remember, six teams qualify for the playoffs from each conference based on best record. The Eagles (11-2), Vikings (10-3), Saints (9-4) and Rams (9-4) all lead their respective divisions. Also with a chance at two wild-card spots are the Panthers (9-4), Seahawks (8-5), Falcons (8-5), Packers (7-6), Lions (7-6) and Cardinals (6-7).

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.