The Minnesota Vikings 2016 first-round pick was inactive for the team’s 27-9 win over Detroit on Sunday. What could happen next for the troubled wideout?
The Ole Miss product had long been one of the top wide receiver prospects of the 2016 class, but he ended up falling in the draft due to a lack of athleticism that was triggered by a 4.52 40-yard dash.
While workouts can be taken with a grain of salt (Dalvin Cook ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at the 2017 draft combine) Treadwell’s slow time at his Pro Day should have been a red flag in terms of his separation. But instead of taking the class’ true top prospect in Michael Thomas, the Vikings have been forced to live with Treadwell’s mistakes in his three-year career.
On Sunday, the young wide receiver hit a new low as he was a healthy scratch for the Vikings’ 27-9 victory over the Detroit Lions.
The move may have been even more surprising when you consider that Treadwell was deactivated in favor of a former practice squad receiver (Chad Beebe) and one that didn’t have a NFL team until Week 4 (Aldrick Robinson).
When a first-round pick is deactivated, it usually isn’t a case of having him sit out a week to get his confidence back. More likely, it’s a signal that the team has decided to waive the white flag on a prospect and decide to take their losses.
With Treadwell being sent to the sidelines on Sunday, that raises the question of what happens beyond the 2018 season?
The first option for Minnesota would be to simply cut Treadwell. That might not be an easy decision, however.
If the Vikings decide to cut him, they would be on the hook for roughly $2.5 million next season. Although that’s a decrease from his $5.3 million if he were to be released this year, it’s still dead money for a team that needs to sink its resources into upgrading its offensive line, extending Adam Thielen, and potentially re-signing Anthony Barr and Sheldon Richardson.
The more likely option is for Minnesota to decline Treadwell’s fifth-year option this offseason, which was pointed out by the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson on Sunday.
Despite all of his shortcomings, Treadwell is likely to remain on the Vikings’ roster unless they’re simply sick of his antics.
His production on the field (55 catches, 510 yards, and one touchdown in 39 career games) hasn’t been good and his extra curricular activities (such as throwing his helmet in Week 8) have also hurt the team.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for the Vikings, who could have had a perennial Pro Bowler in Thomas instead. But it’s looking like they will use a roster spot on Treadwell again in 2019 and just moth ball him out of Minnesota.