Three thoughts from the weekend in sports:
• Watching the Vikings methodically close out a very good team Sunday to improve their record to 8-2, then having Fox cut away for the final minutes of regulation and most of overtime of the Saints/Washington game, was a reminder of just how well-coached these Vikings are — and how there have been plenty of much sloppier Vikings teams in past years.
There is a confidence that comes from watching a team that goes about its business the way the Vikings did in their 24-7 victory over the Rams. And there is a sense of dread that comes from watching the way Washington plays — the latest example coming from letting the Saints come back from a late 31-16 deficit to win 34-31 in overtime.
The Redskins had a 99.6 percent chance to win at one point in the fourth quarter. Washington allowing two late touchdowns and then botching its own chance at a game-winning field goal by taking a bizarre intentional-grounding penalty is the kind of thing that would have happened to plenty of Vikings teams of past vintage.
Mike Zimmer's current team isn't perfect and will lose close games. But games that are in hand tend to stay in hand without much drama. And when they don't … well, thankfully they picked last week against this Washington team to try to give one back, only to have the Redskins come up short.
• The Timberwolves and Gophers men's basketball team have had their share of individual struggles over the years, so it's not a surprise that their lack of success has often overlapped.
There have been only two years in history that the Gophers reached the NCAA men's basketball tournament in the same year the Timberwolves made the playoffs: 1997, which was officially wiped out by the Gophers' fraud scandal, and 1999.
That streak has as good a chance of ending this year as in any in recent memory. The Gophers are a trendy pick to not just reach the NCAA field but also make a postseason run, while the Wolves are on pace to win more than 50 games.
• Tyrod Taylor, who had generally played pretty well for the Bills in 2015 and 2016 and then guided them to a 5-4 record through the first nine games of this season with more solid play, was benched going into Sunday's game against the Chargers.
Statistics in small sample sizes can blow things out of proportion, but this one that came flying out early in the Bills' game against the Chargers was pretty damning: Taylor had just three interceptions (with 10 TD passes) in his nine starts for the Bills this year. Nathan Peterman, his replacement Sunday, already had thrown four interceptions by the time 10 minutes remained in the second quarter.
It's one more reminder that making a dramatic quarterback change can backfire. The Vikings have a better choice between Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater, and they also made the right choice against the Rams in sticking with Keenum's hot hand.