The Vikings 17-10 win over Buffalo on Thursday night gave a glimpse into what second-round pick Dalvin Cook can offer the team as he rushed for 13 yards on five carries and featured as a receiver out of the backfield with four catches for 30 yards.

The lone worry from their preseason opener was the shoulder injury to Trae Waynes, but hopefully he was kept out of the game strictly as a precaution.

Still far removed from the preseason game, it’s amazing to think the Bills and Vikings have only played 13 games in their long history in the NFL.

Yes, the two teams share a big part of NFL history in that they are the only two franchises to reach the Super Bowl four times without recording a victory.

The Bills and Vikings are tied at 11th for the most Super Bowl appearances by a franchise. And both the starting quarterbacks (except for the Vikings’ Joe Kapp) and head coaches of those two teams are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which shows how respected they were around the league.

The Vikings lost four Super Bowls, their first being a 23-7 loss to the Chiefs in 1970, then falling to the Dolphins 24-7 in 1974, the Steelers 16-6 in 1975 and 32-14 to the Raiders in 1977.

Without a doubt, the Vikings lost to four of the best teams that ever played. In fact, that Raiders squad was named the greatest team ever by NFL.com.

The Vikings were led by Bud Grant and Fran Tarkenton for three of those games while Buffalo had a great quarterback by the name of Jim Kelly, a five-time Pro Bowler, and were coached by the great Marv Levy.

There have been 485 head coaches in the history of the NFL and Grant and Levy trail only Bill Belichick (seven appearances), Don Shula (six), and Tom Landry (five) in Super Bowl appearances.

The Bills lost to the Giants 20-19 in the 1991 Super Bowl, and lost back-to-back Super Bowls to the Cowboys in 1993, 52-17, and 1994, 30-13.

They also fell to the Washington Redskins in 1992, in a game played at the Metrodome, the last Super Bowl held in Minnesota. That game drew 63,130 fans and the expectations are that U.S. Bank Stadium will hold around 70,000 for the Super Bowl in February.

Washington won that game 37-24 behind Mark Rypien, who threw for two touchdowns. Kelly had maybe his roughest Super Bowl appearance as he threw four interceptions, tied for the most in Super Bowl history.

Yes, sometimes the two franchises get a bad rap for not having won the big game, but Cleveland, Detroit, Houston and Jacksonville still haven’t even made one appearance.

Durant praises Wolves

NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant was interviewed this week by The Athletic and talked about the changing landscape of the Western Conference, and the superstar broke down what he thinks of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“You look at [Jeff] Teague all the way down to [Karl-Anthony] Towns, that’s an All-Star group,” Durant said. “You have five All-Star caliber players on the court for Minnesota at the same time, great talented players at once. You have Teague, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins. Who’s the 4 over there? Gorgui Dieng?”

The reporter then also clarified that the Wolves added Taj Gibson.

“Oh, yeah. Taj Gibson,” Durant continued. “Then Towns. So you got, what, four All-Star caliber players over there on one team. And why not? Why shouldn’t you have that? That’s what fans want to see. They don’t want to see all role players and a couple good guys. Nah, you want to see all the best players. That’s what Minnesota did. Thibs [coach Tom Thibodeau]. ... I knew he was going to pull something off.”

Yes, there’s no question that the Wolves’ reputation around the league is exploding.

On Thursday night, after they released their new jerseys, word came down that the Wolves season opener against San Antonio on Oct. 18 will be featured on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. And for the second year in a row, they will be one of the marquee match-ups on Christmas Day, the NBA’s biggest regular season night for television, going against the Los Angeles Lakers at 9:30 p.m. on TNT.

Now the only thing they have to do is actually win some games.

Buxton returns

Twins center fielder Byron Buxton says that after missing 15 games due to a groin strain, he is feeling good after 10 games back with the big league club. Buxton has hit .222 since rejoining the Twins, with one RBI, three runs scored and three stolen bases.

“Yeah, I’m good,” he said about his health. “I’m just getting back into the groove of things and getting things going.”

When it comes to his hitting though, Buxton said he’s still trying to keep things simple.

“It’s just a long process that you just have to stick with,” Buxton said. “You just have to go out there and keep having quality at-bats and not worry about the outcome. I can’t control where the ball goes, just have to go out there and put a good swing on the ball and have a good at-bat.”

Buxton was having his greatest success at the plate before he got injured, hitting .387 with a .457 on-base percentage in 10 games in July. He had a good night at the plate Thursday night in Milwaukee, going 3-for-4 with RBI and two runs scored.

Still, he continues to thrive defensively, and there’s a great chance that he’s going to join Zoilo Versalles and Jim Kaat as the youngest Twins to win a Gold Glove, as they both reached that milestone in their 23-year-old season.

Buxton is tied for third in the majors in defensive runs saved with 16, and that mark leads all American League center fielders.

Buxton said that he really enjoys playing next to Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler.

“It’s pretty amazing, you know? … We have been playing mostly together this year so we are very comfortable with each other,” he said. “We know how much range we can cover and we know what we can do. I think that’s what makes it a little bit easier playing the outfield, knowing that no matter what your other outfielders have got your back and they’re going to go all out and be aggressive.”

Buxton has had some ups and downs in his early career but it’s clear that his speed and his defense are always going to make him one of the most valuable players in the Twins organization.

 

Sid Hartman can be heard on WCCO AM-830 at 8:40 a.m. Monday and Friday, 2 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday. shartman@startribune.com