With the excitement building as part of Packers week for the Minnesota Vikings, a lot of the players were bouncing around the locker room looking to get the swagger they need to send a message to Green Bay that the Vikings aren’t going to be a one-year wonder.
But not everyone is smiling and happy about their situations on the Vikings rosters. Wide receivers Jarius Wright and Laquon Treadwell were visibly upset about their lack of a role in the first Vikings game of the season. Wright was named one of the inactives on the roster announced 90 minutes before game time. Treadwell was active on the roster, but never saw the field during the Vikings’ 25-16 win over Tennessee.
As would be expected, both were miffed about their lack of a role in the offense.
“It would be a lie if I was to say I wasn’t upset” Wright said. “I feel like I’m a pretty good player and I like playing. Who wouldn’t be upset?”
Wright assumed that when he was healthy that he would resume his role in the offense, which typically had him in the lineup 30-50 percent of the time. He was as surprised as anyone when he was informed he would be a healthy inactive – the first time that has happened since his rookie season – which only added to his confusion surrounding the decision.
“I don’t know what put me behind the 8-ball,” Wright said. “I’m just going to come out and continue to be Jarius Wright each and every day. That’s a question you would have to ask some of the higher powers. I just do what I’m told.”
Perhaps the easiest explanation why Wright was inactive was that the Vikings opted to keep three tight ends – Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison and rookie David Morgan – active, along with fullback Zach Line to provide additional blocking for what was expected to be an all-out oversell effort by the Titans to flood the line with defenders designed to stop Peterson and the running game.
“You’d like to think it was a numbers game,” Wright said. “I haven’t asked anybody or talked to anybody about it. I’m just going to continue to play my role. I’m a playmaker and I’ve made plays. I’m just going to continue to be myself and continue to do what I do best.”
Just as upset was Treadwell, the first-round draft pick who is expected to develop into the team’s No. 1 receiver. He was active on Sunday, but was one of four players on the active roster who never saw the field – along with QB Sam Bradford, guard Zac Kerin and tackle T.J. Clemmings.
He has been a star since he started playing football in middle school and, like Wright, was at a loss as to why he wasn’t used.
“I can’t control that,” Treadwell said. “You’ve got to continue to focus on getting better. I wasn’t frustrated. I just wanted to play and help the team win.”
When reminded that 2015 leading receiver Stefon Diggs was inactive for the first three games of the season before bursting on the scene in Week 4 and carving himself a spot in the starting line, Treadwell wasn’t having any of it.
He didn’t make the connection and didn’t take any comfort in hearing it.
“We’re two different people,” Treadwell said. “Everybody’s situation is different. You’ve got to keep getting better and go along with the team.”
What does Treadwell need to do to get on the field and be the difference-maker he has been for the majority of his football life?
“Just be me and continue to compete and get better,” Treadwell said. “That’s all I can do.”
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While there is a lot on the line Sunday, the Vikings have begun the process of getting themselves ready for their showdown with Green Bay and everyone on the roster is looking to make an impact in one of the biggest games of the year.
But, for Treadwell and Wright, there are more questions than answers right now and their role in the huge home opener remains unsettled – which isn’t what either wants or expects to continue.null