Whenever these lists come up, it’s always Cleveland (usually No. 1), Detroit, Buffalo, etc. You can make a case that D.C. is having a rough time of it now in terms of “closing the deal.”
I’d actually make a different case: Minneapolis (I lived there for two years, FYI).
Think about these elements:
Vikings: At this moment, their most notable player of the past decade (or longer) is quite possibly never going to play for them again. Their overall playoff record is 19-27, including 0-4 in Super Bowls. They have won 10+ games three times since 2008, but one of those was a magical Brett Favre year — when they should have beaten the Saints and advanced to the Super Bowl. They’re 2-3 right now with a pretty easy schedule going forward, and yet are still likely to miss the playoffs. They just lost, 42-10, to their biggest rival on Thursday Night Football (granted, all those games are blowouts).
Twins: Made the playoffs six times since 2002 (good), but have lost 90+ the last four years (bad). Just fired their manager. They do have two World Series (’87 and ’91), both generally thrilling series. That’s a positive.
Wild: Minnesota is literally “The State of Hockey,” and yet they got a team ripped away from them — North Stars went to Dallas — then got a team back in 2000 (the Wild). They’re getting better-ish — won 43 games and made the Western semis last year — but they’ve only appeared in the playoffs 33 percent of their existence, seasons-wise. Not great for a super cold state.
Timberwolves: Just lost their best player of the last six years or so, Kevin Love, for the “greener pastures” of Cleveland. Could be building a good young core, but also haven’t made the playoffs since Kevin Garnett left — and the farthest they’ve seemingly ever run is the 2004 WCF.
Departing Players: Minneapolis is getting a rep as a place where players go, become stars, and then go somewhere else. Kevin Love is the obvious recent example, but there’s also David Ortiz, Kevin Garnett, Johan Santana, Randy Moss (although that didn’t work out in Oakland, per se), Torii Hunter, Marian Gaborik (the last two were after their contracts expired, etc.) Here’s a whole article on the issue.
Point is — Garnett leaves and wins a title. Ortiz leaves and becomes Mr. Clutch in MLB. Love leaves and (probably) wins a title in the next few years. Some of the others didn’t work out as well, but … you get the point.
Look, Cleveland will always have this:
And Buffalo will always have this:
And other cities have their thing.
But if you think about it at right this moment — Love gone, four straight 90-loss seasons for the Twins, AP’s issues, Ponder throwing ducks on TNF, the Wild not cracking that Blackhawks-Kings dominance yet — Minneapolis might be the most tortured sports city.