A handful of Vikings had quite the bonding experience Tuesday night — and witnessed an epic comeback by the Timberwolves, too.
Numerous players were in attendance at Target Center for the play-in game between the Timberwolves and Clippers, which ended with a 109-104 win for the home team.
Vikings linebacker Za'Darius Smith took to social media to showcase the outing, which mostly included defensive players for the Vikings.
Smith was in attendance, along with Eric Kendricks, Harrison Phillips, Cameron Dantzler, D.J. Wonnum, Armon Watts, Kris Boyd, Kenny Willekes, Patrick Jones II, Myles Dorn, Jaylen Twyman and others.
Although new to Minnesota, Smith has a local connection with Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns. The duo overlapped at the University of Kentucky, as Smith played his senior season in the fall of 2014 — the same time Towns was beginning is first and only college hoops season.
A handful of offensive players were there, too, including Justin Jefferson, Brian O'Neill and Garrett Bradbury.
O'Neill and Bradbury hung out with former Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Everyone at the game was treated to a thriller, as the Timberwolves rallied to put together a wild fourth quarter, outscoring the Clippers 31-20 in the final period.
Down 10 points with just under nine minutes to play, Anthony Edwards and D'Angelo Russell helped fuel Minnesota's comeback.
Edwards and Russell combined for 59 points in the victory, which helped the Timberwolves secure a playoff berth for just the second time in 17 years.
Minnesota will now be the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, which sets up a first-round matchup with Memphis, which finished 56-26 and is the No. 2 seed.
Game 1 in the best-of-seven series between the Timberwolves and Grizzlies is Saturday afternoon in Memphis.
View photos of Vikings players returning to the TCO Performance Center to begin the 202 offseason program.
Wide receivers lead way on McShay's 'All-Satellite Team'
Todd McShay has released his list of the best draft prospects in space.
No, not outer space.
Instead, the ESPN draft analyst looked at which players are at their best when they have the football out in space on the football field.
Whether it be on a deep shot to a receiver on a vertical route or a pop pass to someone on a jet [motion], NFL teams use speed and suddenness to their advantage, getting playmakers in open space so they can create. The 2022 All-Satellite team is littered with prospects who are tough to contain when they get some room to operate, and I ranked the best of the best.
McShay's list included seven offensive players with five total wide receivers, four of which were from the SEC. A quarterback and return specialist were also included.
View photos of potential wide receivers the Vikings can select in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams topped the list.
Williams' stop-start suddenness and acceleration are breathtaking. That combination of traits is unparalleled in this draft class — and it would be in most classes, for that matter. He just explodes off the line of scrimmage, and his top-end speed is elite. Williams did not run the 40-yard dash at the combine — he is recovering from a torn ACL suffered during the College Football Playoff national title game — but he would have likely been among the fastest burners in Indianapolis. He averaged 19.9 yards per reception last year.
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis was next up.
Willis — my QB1 — has the agility and speed of a high-end receiver but the lower-body build of an inside linebacker. His instincts are terrific, and he is at his best on the move — both as a passer and a runner. And while he took 51 sacks last season, his short-area quickness allows him to escape pressure, run away from defenders and create outside the pocket. Opponents have to account for his running ability on every single dropback.
How about this: Willis forced 105 missed tackles in 2021. That was the most by any player in the country, and more than a dozen better than second place (Breece Hall, 92). He averaged 0.5 missed tackles per touch, meaning he forced one every other rush. It helped Willis pile up 878 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns last season.
Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks was third, followed by Memphis wide receiver Calvin Austin III and Houston cornerback Marcus Jones, who had six special teams touchdowns in his college career.
McShay wrote of Jones:
If you haven't seen this dude in the return game, do yourself a favor and go watch his special-teams highlights. Jones is a 5-foot-8, 174-pound nickelback who reads the quarterback well and excels in zone coverage. He even got 19 offensive touches at Houston. But he makes this list for his ability as a return man. Jones hasn't participated in pre-draft workouts as he works back from a shoulder injury, but his speed/quickness combination on tape is elite. I think he's one of the fastest players in the country.
Kentucky wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson and Tennessee wide receiver Velus Jones, Jr., rounded out McShay's list, which can be found here.