Treadwell hopes scratching ‘one-game thing’
MINNEAPOLIS -- Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell remains hopeful that being inactive last Sunday, Dec. 23, at Detroit isn’t a sign of things to come.
His healthy scratch ended a streak of 30 straight games played. Treadwell was inactive six times as a rookie in 2016, but five of those were because of injuries.
Treadwell said Wednesday, Dec. 26, that interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski and wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell told him he’d be inactive on Saturday night. Aldrick Robinson, Chad Beebe and Brandon Zylstra played behind starters Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs in a 27-9 victory at Detroit.
“It was a business decision,” Treadwell said. “They felt that was best for the team, and we got the win, and that’s all that matters. (The coaches) definitely stressed it was a weekly thing, a one-game thing, and told me to continue to prepare like I was going to play, and I just go from there.”
Treadwell has been a disappointment since being selected with the No. 23 pick in the 2016 draft. In his third NFL season, he has 34 catches for 295 yards. When asked Sunday why Treadwell was inactive, head coach Mike Zimmer said it was “strictly matchups,” and that “Beebe had a good game against them the first time.”
In a 24-9 win over the Lions on Nov. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium, Beebe made his NFL debut and caught three passes for 21 yards. Treadwell said he “actually had a big game against Detroit, too.” He caught two passes for 37 yards.
In Stefanski’s first game after replacing the fired John DeFilippo, Treadwell played a season-low 22 snaps in a Dec. 16 victory over Miami.
“I’ve been doing everything I possibly can to be active, to be acclimated, to be featured in the offense,” Treadwell said. “There’s nothing much more I can do besides continue to prepare and do what I do every week and just hopefully I’ll be active.”
Treadwell is unlikely to have his fifth-year option picked up for 2020. About $1 million of his 2019 base salary of $1.8 million is guaranteed. If the Vikings release him before the start of next season, they’ll take a $2.51 million salary cap hit.
The status of Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks and cornerback Xavier Rhodes for Sunday’s key game against Chicago at U.S. Bank Stadium is uncertain. Neither practiced Wednesday.
Asked before the workout about the potential availability of the two against the Bears, Zimmer said, “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Kendricks sat out last Sunday’s game because of a strained hamstring; Rhodes was lost midway through the fourth quarter with a groin strain.
Also not practicing were nose tackle Linval Joseph (knee), punt returner Marcus Sherels (foot), guard Mike Remmers (back) and fullback C.J. Ham (elbow).
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins shrugged off recent slow starts that have dropped Thielen, who once led the NFL in receiving, to fourth. Thielen, who has 110 catches, averaged 8.5 in the first 11 games but has averaged just 4.3 in the past four.
Teams have been double covering Thielen, but others have stepped up, including tight end Kyle Rudolph, who had nine catches for a career-high 122 yards at Detroit.
“There’s only one football,” Cousins said. “There’s only 50 to 80 plays (a game), and we’re going to do the best we can …. As long as we’re winning and productive as an offense, I don’t really feel a need to go find ways to get Adam the ball just to check the box and say, ‘OK, Adam got touches so now we’re all happy.’ “
Running back Latavius Murray was honored with the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award given annually by the Twin Cities chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America for cooperation with the media. Murray called the award “a big honor” and said he was “raised to be respectful” by his parents.