One of Minnesota's longest-living sportswriters long has quipped that, but for professional sports in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis would be little more than a cold Omaha. That sportswriter's entire universe is, of course, sports, so it is easy to understand how his perception of a city could be determined entirely by whether the market caters to each of the top four professional sports franchises in the United States and equally easy to understand his perception that the reason that businesses locate in Minneapolis is because of the sports teams.
A more valid comparison than the far less populated, less Fortune 500 situated Omaha, however, might be comparing the State of Minnesota to that of Michigan, at least in our sportswriter's sports only World. Only, in this comparison, one need not assume that either market is or will be without its current slate of professional sports teams, however loosely one wishes to use that phrase.
After a shellacking at the hands of the Chicago Bears on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings have nudged the entire State of Minnesota into the realm of discussions once reserved exclusively for the Detroit Lions. And the discussion is, to say the least, not a good one.
Through nine games this season, the Minnesota Vikings stand a mere game ahead of the last-place Lions in the NFC North. A strong case can be made, however, that that statistic will correct by the end of the season, flipping Minnesota and Detroit.
On the season, the Detroit Lions have scored 215 points, the Vikings 169. The Lions' point total is good for tenth in the NFL; the Vikings' point total is twenty-sixth in the league. And though the Lions have surrendered the eleventh most points this season at 202, Minnesota is only a touchdown off that figure.
At the end of the season, overall margin of victory/loss offers a good proxy on a team's relative standing within the NFL. At present, the Lions are at +13, the Vikings are a -26. Only 11 teams have a worse margin than Vikings. Is there any doubt that, with younger players at core positions and a coach who finally seems competent, the Lions soon will be overtaking the Vikings?
Tomorrow's forecast in Pontiac, Michigan is 54. In Minneapolis, it might reach 40.
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