Minnesota Vikings hope Laquon Treadwell can reverse the curse of Vikings receivers

When the Minnesota Vikings drafted wide receiver Laquon Treadwell it was deemed as meeting an immediate need, but the numbers tell us a playmaking wide receiver has been a need for the Vikings since Brett Favre was throwing the ball for the team.

At a time when the NFL is setting records for passing yards and receivers are routinely posting 1,000-yard seasons, the Minnesota Vikings are crossing their fingers that they have a future star in rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. It has been a long time since the Vikings have had a receiver that topped 1,000 yards … a really long time.

In 2015, for example, 26 different players had 1,000 or more receiving yards. None of them were Vikings.

That hasn’t been unusual. At a time when 30 of the NFL’s 32 teams have had at least one 1,000-yard receiver over the last two seasons (San Diego hasn’t had one since 2013), the Vikings have had the second-longest drought of not having a receiver top 1,000 yards.

The worst streak in the league belongs to the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams. The last time the Rams had a 1,000-yard receiver was Torry Holt in 2007. The second-worst streak belongs to Minnesota and it will seem like a lifetime ago.

The last player in purple and gold to catch for more than 1,000 yards was Sidney Rice, who caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009 – the first of two seasons Brett Favre was driving a stake into the hearts of Packers fans.

Those were heady days for the Vikings passing game. They had four receivers with 55 or more receptions – Rice (83), Percy Harvin (60), Visanthe Shiancoe (56) and Bernard Berrian (55).

Since then, the Vikings have struggled to get one receiver with more than 50 receptions or even 800 yards.

In Favre’s last year as a Viking in 2010, Harvin led the team with 71 receptions for 868 yards and five touchdowns. Shiancoe was second with 47 catches and the No. 2 wide receiver was Bernard Berrian with 28.

In 2011, Harvin was the primary guy for the second straight year, catching 87 passes for 967 yards and six touchdowns. The second-leading receiver with Michael Jenkins with 36 catches and second place in receiving yards was  Devin Aromashodu with just 468.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1673723-peterson-reaching-rarifie...  Things didn’t get any better in 2012. In his final season with the Vikings, Harvin was on pace to have a big season, but injuries shortened his year. Yet he still led the team with 62 receptions for 677 yards. Tight end Kyle Rudolph was the second-best receiver, catching 53 passes for 493 yards and nine touchdowns during the Vikings last playoff run prior to 2015. Nobody else had more than 40 catches or two touchdowns.

In 2013, with Harvin gone, the Vikings went to free agency to solve their problems at wide receiver and added another former Packer – Greg Jennings with 68 catches for 804 yards and four touchdowns. Jerome Simpson finished second with 48 catches for 726 yards and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson finished third with 45 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns – the TD total tying Jennings for the team lead.

Jennings led the team against in 2014 with 59 receptions for 742 yards and six touchdowns – numbers that led all Vikings receivers in each category. Jarius Wright finished second among receivers in all three categories, catching just 42 passes for 586 yards and two touchdowns.

Last year, the Vikings once again thought they had the answer to the problem by trading for speed receiver Mike Wallace. Instead, from the statistical standpoint they hit bottom as far as leading receivers go.

Rookie Stefon Diggs ended up leading the team with 52 receptions for 720 yards. For the record, Wallace finished third – behind Diggs and Rudolph – with just 39 receptions for 473 yards.

To put that lack of production into perspective, the last time a leading receiver had less than Diggs’ 52 receptions was in the strike-shortened 1987 season when Anthony Carter led the Vikings with just 38 receptions, but even then, he had 922 yards and seven touchdowns in a year when Carter played in just 11 games.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1673628-access-viking-update-free...  Some of the blame can be placed on the quarterbacks the Vikings have had in place since Favre crashed to the Metrodome turf against Buffalo Bills Dec. 5, 2010 to end his consecutive-games-started streak. Since that moment, the Vikings have had six different starting quarterbacks – Tarvaris Jackson, Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman and Teddy Bridgewater.

Most of them haven’t established themselves as middle-of-the-road quarterbacks, much less elite QBs. From 2010-15, the Vikings passing touchdown totals have been 14, 20, 18, 18, 17 and 14. Those are the kind of touchdown numbers elite quarterbacks have by midseason, not year-long totals.

The hope and anticipation is the Treadwell will develop into the most productive receiver that Vikings have had since Randy Moss and can consistently put up numbers that were better than those posted by Rice and Harvin during their Vikings careers and clearly better than outside veterans like Jennings and Wallace.

It has been a long time coming since the Vikings had a receiver among the league leaders in either receptions or yardage – it’s been a long time since they’ve had someone in the top 40 or 50 of the league. While the Vikings are a run-first offense, if they want to get back to the point they were in during the exciting 2009 season, they’re going to need balance and, more importantly, they going to need someone who can make defenses nervous about big plays being hit on them. For now, that onus falls on Treadwell. He’s going to get every chance to reverse the curse and, if he can continue the level of play he brought to the SEC into the NFL, the days of the Vikings being an embarrassment of receiver numbers will finally come to an end.


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