Before Laquon Treadwell dropped jaws of fans and players alike with his stunning one-handed catch, the Vikings receiver hyped up his sideline without touching the ball during Sunday’s 23-10 win against the Packers.
“Everyone went crazy,” receiver Jarius Wright said of the play on which Treadwell lowered his shoulder and leveled Packers cornerback Lenzy Pipkins on an open-field block. “Glad [Pipkins] got up and he’s safe, but we like to see a guy put effort on the field like that.”
No matter that it was ruled a 15-yard penalty.
Stepping up for injured receivers Stefon Diggs (groin) and Michael Floyd (calf), Treadwell enjoyed a rare turn in the spotlight. The 2016 first-round pick had a career-high three catches for 51 yards.
It was a welcomed performance for Treadwell, who entered Sunday with 57 career receiving yards.
“That’s kind of been my role right now,” Treadwell said. “Just waiting and waiting and waiting, and working, and waiting. You know, so many good guys on the team, you just have to wait your turn and continue to stay focused and continue to believe in yourself.”
His blindside block on Pipkins set the Vikings back, but it was one of a few reminders Sunday of why the 215-pound receiver was an NFL first-round pick and five-star recruit. He was touted by the Vikings as the 2016 draft’s best blocking receiver.
“I tried to keep it clean. I hesitated, didn’t launch or anything,” Treadwell said. “I really didn’t think I hit him that hard, either. Just tried to make a play.”
The play everyone will be talking about came later in the third quarter.
Treadwell saved a Case Keenum pass from sailing out of bounds, leaping and fully extending his nearly 3-foot-long right arm to snag the ball with one mitt. The incredible 25-yard catch, which put the Vikings at midfield and helped lead to a Kai Forbath field goal, grabbed the Packers attention.
“I mean the corners were talking to me after that catch, saying how amazing of a catch that was,” receiver Adam Thielen said. “When you have the other team talking about how good of a catch it is, that’s pretty impressive. And what a time to do it.”
Nine plays later, including another catch by Treadwell for 8 yards, the Vikings took a 20-10 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
“I was ready for the moment,” Treadwell said.
Treadwell was also ready when Packers linebacker Clay Matthews scooped up Jerick McKinnon’s fumble and set off down the right sideline. Sixty-seven yards later, Treadwell caught him from behind and punched the ball out of bounds, preventing a defensive score.
“He was relaxed. I’d seen him relaxed, thought he was going to walk in,” Treadwell said. “I just tried to make a play on it.”
Both the Vikings and Treadwell could use more.