Okay, by now you've likely seen this spring's big blockbuster movie, The Avengers. At the very least, you should have some idea of who and what The Avengers are. (For the uninitiated, they're a group of super heroes. We'll get to the specific heroes here in a bit.)
After having seen the movie myself a while back, I sat back and wondered if we could put together a group equivalent to the Avengers from the Minnesota sports scene. Why? Because that's the way my mind works. After much thought, I believe I have come up with such a group. So, without any further ado, allow me to introduce our group of Minnesota Avengers.
(I put so much thought into the actual members of the group that I couldn't come up with a catchy name. That and there really is no good way of combining "Avengers" and "Minnesota" that I can think of.)
Captain America - Joe Mauer, catcher, Minnesota Twins
Come on. . .like this could have been anybody else. Mauer is the quintessential All-American guy, growing up in St. Paul, being a star athlete, and apparently consuming ridiculous amounts of milk, if the television commercials are to be believed. From all accounts, he's a team-first guy, and will likely be the face of the team for years to come. The only difference is that I'm not sure if Captain America would get booed out of Target Field the way Mauer has a couple of times already this season. Of course, if the Twins keep up the way they're going, pretty much anybody would be fair game.
Thor - Jared Allen, defensive end, Minnesota Vikings
This was obviously going to be a member of the Vikings, but Allen has all of the requisite qualifications. He has the superhuman strength, the long, flowing hair, and the general attitude of "get the heck out of my way or I will make things miserable for you." We don't have any proof that he came from Asgard to save the Minnesota Vikings from years of terrible defense. Then again, we don't have any proof that he didn't, either. And I'm not about to call his mission a failure. . .he is, after all, only one man, and he's better at what he does than any other player in the league.
The Hulk - Kevin Love, forward, Minnesota Timberwolves
Oh, sure. . .Kevin Love might look like a normal, every day, easy going guy. But that's just the way he is when you meet him off the basketball court. On the court, the guy is a machine. LOVE SMASH! LOVE REBOUND! LOVE WIN THREE-POINT CONTEST!
Okay, that last one might be a little wordy for the Hulk. . .but he did win the thing, after all. The Timberwolves didn't do much winning after the All-Star break, as usual, so we have to celebrate the victories they do give us.
Black Widow - Lindsay Whalen, point guard, Minnesota Lynx
For starters, I'm just happy that we have a women's sports team that's worth a darn to give this distinction to. The last thing I need is for someone to be reading this and sending me nasty e-mails asking why I turned them into a woman. But as the Lynx stormed to a WNBA Championship last season, Whalen was one of the clear leaders of the team, and maybe a bit unappreciated with all of the press that Maya Moore and Siemone Augustus were getting. (Not that they didn't deserve it, but still.) Whalen is always making big plays at the end of ball games. . .a bit of an assassin, as it were.
Hawkeye - Ricky Rubio, point guard, Minnesota Timberwolves
Just like Hawkeye in the movie, we had to wait a while for Rubio to finally come over to the right team, but when he did he added a completely different dimension. His precision passing and ability to find the open man breathed new life into what had been a listless Timberwolves' offense over the past couple of seasons. To see just how important that sort of thing is to a team, just check out what the Wolves' record looked like after Rubio went down with a torn ACL.
Iron Man - Chris Kluwe, punter, Minnesota Vikings
I know what you're thinking. . .how in the heck can a punter be an "Iron Man?" Well, in this case, it's just as much a nod to Iron Man's alter ego, wise-cracking billionaire Tony Stark, as it is to the actual hero. Anyone who follows Kluwe on Twitter has seen the kind of wit he has, and he could probably pull off the role if he needed to. Oh, and if it helps, Kluwe did punt with a torn ACL for a couple of games as a rookie. Doing anything with a torn ACL is awfully impressive, particularly a job that involves using your legs.