Minnesota sports fans aren’t exactly strangers to days where everything seems to go wrong, but even by their bruised standards, Monday has to go down as an exceptional day.

In the afternoon, the Wild - mired in a seven-game losing streak - officially fired head coach Dean Evason, mostly because he was the only person in the organization that was allowed to be fired. In the evening, the Vikings lost 12-10 to the hapless Chicago Bears, a game that felt like a three-hour representation of what it’s like to have a brain injury.

Let’s take these one at a time.

Chicago 12, Minnesota 10

If the Vikings were going to put up a couple of games like their last two, with losses to Denver and Chicago, they could at least have done so closer to Halloween. For one thing, we’d all have been able to go outside and smash some pumpkins, to let out some of our emotions; for another, it’s possible that Minnesota could still have gone full tank, and ended up in the type of position which might allow them to draft a potential savior at quarterback.

It was impossible not to be taken with the Josh Dobbs story, as he led the Vikings to consecutive wins in the first week and a half of his residency in Minnesota. He could run! He could throw, sometimes! He was about as far from Kirk Cousins on the QB dial as it was possible to get; he regularly escaped pressure, he could roll out of the pocket, and (this part was usually whispered) he seemed to have trouble throwing the ball where he meant to throw it.

Since the first half of the Vikings’ win against New Orleans, the smiles have been sliding off of Vikings’ fans faces, and by the end of this one, it seemed pretty clear: Dobbs is not the team’s quarterback of the future. He might not even be the quarterback of the present. He made disastrous throws, and if anyone can be lucky to only throw four interceptions in a game, it was Dobbs last night.

If he’s not running, if he’s staying in the pocket, it seems like this just gives him more time to make strange decisions. I’m not sure I’ve seen a quarterback who seems to be less sure of the intentional grounding rules; as he’s being tackled, he often tries to fling the ball in any random direction, regardless of whether he’s throwing it backwards or forwards or directly to a defender.

On the final play of the game, a hopeless lateral-fest, he managed to wing a cross-field attempt that went about five yards forward. As my friend Ross pointed out, this was a step in the right direction; usually when Dobbs is getting tackled, he throws the ball backwards.

Apart from the four interceptions, Dobbs also managed to throw behind TJ Hockenson on fourth down, a pass that was completed but ended in a turnover on downs as Hockenson had to turn around to catch the ball; the quarterback also sailed a sure touchdown throw out-of-bounds, as Jordan Addison’s defender had fallen down and there was no Bear within thirty yards.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell admitted that he’d thought about putting in backup Nick Mullens in the fourth quarter, right before Dobbs managed to make his two decent throws of the night to lead the Vikings to their only touchdown. It was a thought that may have come at least two quarters too late.

On the other side of the ball, the defense held Chicago to five field-goal attempts and forced two Justin Fields fumbles. This should be enough to win, but thanks to the offense’s complete ineptitude, wasn’t. Brian Flores will be getting another head-coaching job soon, possibly just so he doesn’t have to watch the Vikings’ offense up close any more.

We Purple fans have all been far, far too guilty of looking at Minnesota’s schedule and penciling in wins over bad teams. Minnesota should have beaten Denver, a bad team. Minnesota should have beaten Chicago, a team that is not only bad but is actively hoping for its coach and quarterback to embarrass themselves, just so they can again hit the reset button guilt-free. So while Minnesota’s schedule might look easy after next week’s bye, it’s important to remember: this is not a very good Vikings team. They might be able to beat anybody, but they have proved that they’re also capable of losing to anybody.

Dean Evason headed back to Flin Flon

I suppose you can’t feel too bad for now-former Wild head coach Dean Evason. His team has lost seven games in a row, and is 5-14 this year, and it’s not like he’s got a long track record of amazing success to lean on.

That said, I wonder what general manager Bill Guerin told him, when they finally had the “we’re letting you go” meeting. I assume it was something like this: “Thanks to me, there’s only two people left in this entire organization that we can fire, and the other one is me. So you’re going first.”

In all seriousness, I’m not sure there’s a single player in the organization right now that could be traded, and doesn’t have some kind of a no-move clause. Kirill Kaprizov might be the only exception, and of course, there’s no chance Minnesota would trade him. But apart from that, the list is pretty short.

Guerin bought out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to shake up the locker room, supposedly. Reportedly, he wanted to end the comfortable, country-club atmosphere, the one where players were happy to collect paychecks without needing to give the effort required to keep their jobs.

Then, before those buyouts were even half over, he went out and offered extended contracts to pretty much the entire roster. If the sentence “Freddy Gaudreau is signed through 2028” doesn’t strike fear into your heart, then I don’t know what to tell you.

The Wild have hired former New Jersey and Nashville coach John Hynes, and I must say, the NHL coaching carousel will never stop being funny to me. Hynes has coached more than 600 NHL games and he’s lost more than half of them. He missed the playoffs three out of four years in New Jersey, and lost in the first round the other one; he made the playoffs three times in four years with Nashville, and lost in the opening round every time. Then they missed the playoffs last year, and he got canned.

But hey, he was available and his number was in Guerin’s phone, and so he’s back behind an NHL bench. It’s amazing how being an NHL coach one time can put you on the list for pretty much every other NHL coaching vacancy; it’s like there are maybe 36 or 37 coaches you’re allowed to hire, ever, and so firing one coach just means you get to pick from the other four or five who might be available.

All NHL coaches are MLB fourth outfielders, basically. The Wild should have just hired Jake Cave.

Minnesota also fired assistant Bob Woods, who was in charge of the penalty kill, and frankly that seems unfair that he’s allowed to just leave. I feel like he should have to clean the bathrooms at the Xcel Center for a couple of weeks first.


WILD vs St. Louis, 7pm, BSN
WOLVES vs Oklahoma City, 7pm, BSN+, Wolves need to win by about 40 to make the In-Season Tournament knockout round


WILD at Nashville, 7pm, BSN+