It’s hard to tell just how good the Vikings are but the simple fact is that this club has had four losses by a combined 25 points while their eight wins have come by 102 points.
At plus-77, the team is second in the NFC in point differential, trailing only the San Francisco 49ers at plus-166, and it is fifth in the NFL.
For comparison’s sake, the Packers (9-3) are just plus-34.
Still, the Vikings are going to have a very hard time catching the Packers in the NFC North. Green Bay is going to be a heavy favorite in every game the rest of the way except in its game at Minnesota on Dec. 23.
The only way the Packers lose the NFC North is if they lose two of their final four games, which seems unlikely.
Still the loss at Seattle could have been much worse for the Vikings if it wasn’t for Laquon Treadwell’s 58-yard touchdown reception from Kirk Cousins with 12:59 left in the fourth quarter.
That play changed the entire game and gave the Vikings a real shot to win.
Treadwell’s story is incredible. He has gone from a first-round draft pick in 2016 to being cut from the team to now being back with the club and playing a key role with Adam Thielen injured.
“That touchdown, it was exciting, a moment in the game where we really needed it,” Treadwell said of the longest reception of his career. “I kept my positive juice going on the sideline. I don’t think I even played up until that point, so you know coming in I was just trying to make something happen for the team that can get the momentum back on our side and hopefully help us win the game. We fell short of that.
“But that play was a huge point in my career and huge in the game, but you know I was more focused on winning than anything. I wasn’t able to celebrate it, because we lost. I’m really hard on myself about how we could have won and what we could have done better. If there was anything I could do better, I need to do it the next time that situation occurs. We just have to get ready for Detroit.”
Never lost faith
Treadwell said that going from being cut from the team in the preseason to making big plays in the regular season has been all about trying to improve even when things were tough.
“Just trying to do my job at a high level, continue to compete every play in practice, in the game and just be the better version of myself every day and continue to try to do better for myself, this organization, my family and not making it about me,” he said. “Just going hard for others around me and trying to be the best teammate I can be.”
After Treadwell was cut he didn’t land with any other club, but he said he didn’t lose faith that he could play again.
“I never wanted to put that in my mind. I never wanted to have that thought of my career being done, although it got off to a rough start,” he said. “I am a hard worker, and I have been through adversity before. I just stay dedicated and I’m going to continue to stay dedicated to the craft, to my game, to learn more, to continue to try to be a sponge in the building and learn as much as I can on and off the field and be a better person.”
In nine games this season Treadwell has seven receptions for 142 yards and the one TD.
“I was thrilled [to come back],” he said. “I was excited. Full of emotions. But it was a great feeling. I always wanted to stay here and stay with one team in my career, and having that chance to come back here and rewrite the story and try to build on the positives and not the negatives. I was just really, really excited to get back and help this team win.”
The Vikings suffered two big injuries at receiver — to Thielen and Chad Beebe — that got Treadwell another shot.
“You hear that story all the time in the league, a guy goes down and the next man’s up,” Treadwell said. “That’s what this business is about, just the next guy has to be ready for his opportunity because you never know when it’s called.
“I’m just trying to do my best to prepare. I want nothing but the best for Adam, and I want him to come back healthy and I’m going to continue to prepare and try to excel on the field and off.”
Does he have any idea about why he is performing better after having a tough time at the start of his career?
“It has a lot to do with preparation, confidence, building better chemistry inside the building and building better chemistry with my teammates, doing the right things on and off the field and just putting the time in doing the things I need to work on,” he said. “Just putting more time into it and really focusing and honing in on it when the game comes around to be a perfectionist on gameday.”
Yes, and the fact is that Cousins has said several times that he really enjoys working with Treadwell, and there’s a chance that could help him stick with this club in the future.
“Me and Kirk have a great relationship, and we’re constantly building it every day,” Treadwell said. “Me having more of a role in the offense, I’m just trying to continue to be in the right spot for him, continue to make plays for him and help this team win.”
Butler deal hurt
The Timberwolves at 10-10 are currently the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, and they look like they’ll have a chance at the playoffs. But if you look back to the 2017 draft day trade the club made with the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler, my opinion is that the team would be better today if they had never made that deal.
After all was said and done the Wolves lost Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn, and the only player they still have on the roster after dealing Butler to Philadelphia is Robert Covington.
LaVine is averaging 22.4 points 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game this season. Markkanen is averaging 13.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Dunn is averaging 6.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 21.0 minutes per game.
And while the Bulls aren’t a great team, there’s no doubt if you put those three players alongside Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns rather than just Covington, the team would have more depth and wouldn’t be struggling with some of these surprising losses, like their two recent to Memphis — which they have taken while they have been battling injuries.