Welcome back to Minnesota sports, where (outside the Lynx) even the simplest thing going right is probably just the set-up for some embarassing turn of events.
(We'll give you bleary-eyed Twins fans a moment to scream into your coffee cup.)
Case in point: On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings dominated the New York Giants, 28-10, an easy road win to bring Minnesota's record to 3-2. The win marked a mini-comeback for quarterback Kirk Cousins, widely derided for his timid, ineffective play so far this season.
After apologizing to wide receiver Adam Thielen mid-week, Cousins found his favorite target six times for 130 yards and two scores, and after the game Thielen's counterpart Stefon Diggs (three catches, 44 yards) made it clear he wants to stay in Minnesota -- despite a $200,000 fine for his angsty AWOL act last week.
"As far as I'm concerned, I think [Diggs is] one of the best players in the world," Cousins said, per ESPN. "I am absolutely thrilled that he is on our team."
There you have it. Happy quarterback, happy receivers, happy fans. Who could possibly ruin this?
A spokesperson for the team confirmed that [Donald] Trump phoned Cousins to “briefly congratulate him and the Vikings on the win in New York.”
Why, yes, this makes perfect sense. Why wouldn't a president in the midst of impeachment proceedings, national security decisions, and a fervent effort to stop the release of his tax returns take a few minutes out of his day to call... the quarterback of a football team who plays 1,000 miles away... and who'd just won... a pretty boring Week 5 game against a rookie quarterback. It's basically a presidential tradition.
If Trump and Cousins spoke "briefly," imagine how long the president spoke to Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (21 carries for 132 yards, six catches for 86 yards). Trump's congratulatory call with Houston Texans' quarterback Deshaun Watson, who had a truly monster game, must've lasted into the early morning hours of Monday.
Straddling a careful line, a Vikings source says Trump's inexplicable campaign visit to Minneapolis this week was "briefly discussed," but not "the focus of the call." To be fair to the source, it is impossible to determine "the focus" of any conversation initiated by Donald Trump since 1994.
Cousins and Trump have spoken at least once before, and at length: The two went golfing in 2017, while Cousins was still playing in Washington and Trump was just getting the handle on high crimes and misdemeanors. A photo of the two sporting wide grins (and Trump a MAGA hat) on a Trump-owned golf course has since been removed from Instagram, though Cousins told reporters he'd "enjoyed" their outing, which he characterized as "unpolitical as possible."
Can any celebrity's friendly embrace of a politician really be "unpolitical"? Especially if that politician gets off on nothing more than name-dropping famous friends? Is now the right time for a quarterback on shaky ground to be chatting with a president whose appearance will be protested, costly, fought about in court, and -- as with most things Donald Trump -- probably all three?
Who really did coin the phrase "useful idiot"? What do you suppose Trump was eating with his mouth open during the phone call? Fries?
Probably it was fries.