Welcome to the Tuesday edition of The Cooler, where meeting times are always fluid and subject to change. Let’s get to it:
*Star Tribune NFL/Vikings writer Mark Craig noted the Vikings opened as 16.5-point favorites against the lowly Bills and rookie QB Josh Allen. Speads that large are unusual in the NFL, and per research from the Buffalo News it’s just the fifth time the Bills have faced a spread that large since 1980.
As for the Vikings, if the line doesn’t move it will end up being the second-largest spread in favor of the Vikings in team history.
The largest, according to Odds Shark’s NFL spread database, came in 2009 when the Vikings were 17-point favorites against the Lions. Strangely enough, that game finished 27-10, meaning the spread was exactly right. The second-largest came in 1998 against the Bears. The Vikings won that game 48-22.
The Vikings went to overtime of the NFC title game in both of those seasons. I forget what happened next in each case.
The largest spread against the Vikings, by the way? They were 19-point underdogs to the Bears on Oct. 11, 1987 — a game played with replacement players during the NFL’s labor woes. (The Bears won, 27-7). The biggest one with regular players? The second-to-last game of Les Steckel’s one season as head coach in 1984, when the Vikings were 16.5-point underdogs at San Francisco and lost 51-7.
*Wolves star Jimmy Butler tweeted Monday night that the meeting believed to be Monday with Wolves management is actually slated for Tuesday.
He added: “Exactly why people need to stop believing what you see on the internet. I wonder what else people write and people believe. Hmmm.”
Sorry, but the fact that a seemingly critical meeting between a reportedly unhappy star who can be a free agent in one year and the team that employs him is a day later than advertised doesn’t do anything to dull the potential impact. All Butler did, really, was confirm that the meeting is happening while making an exceedingly non-specific statement about bad information on the internet.
If he is concerned about misinformation, Butler remains welcome to go on the record and squash or confirm any of the rumors and reports circulating about him.
*ESPN.com ranked the 10 best NFL backup quarterbacks. Of note: Former Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater, now backing up Drew Brees with the Saints, checks in at No. 2. And Trevor Siemian, the Vikings’ backup to Kirk Cousins, is No. 10.