MINNEAPOLIS — Laquon Treadwell got some snaps with the first-team offense early in the Vikings’ 25-19 preseason victory over Seattle on Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium and he also saw action late in the game with a group that included many long shots to make the roster.
The chemistry between Kyle Sloter, who is trying to stick as the Vikings’ third quarterback, and Treadwell seemed to be pretty good. The 23rd-overall choice in the 2016 draft caught four of Sloter’s 11 completions in the second half for 47 yards. Treadwell had three catches for 42 yards on a fourth-quarter drive that ended with fullback Khari Blasingame scoring on a 1-yard run.
So how did coach Mike Zimmer feel about the Sloter-Treadwell combination? “We were trying to get Treadwell the ball a little bit more in the second half, try to showcase him a little bit, I guess,” Zimmer said. “He made some nice plays.”
The fact the Vikings are trying to “showcase” Treadwell comes as no surprise. A disappointment in his first three seasons with Minnesota — he has 56 receptions and one touchdown in 40 games — the Vikings have been shopping Treadwell this offseason and likely would be happy to get a late-round pick in return.
Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are atop the Vikings’ depth chart at wide receiver and it’s become clear that Chad Beebe is the third receiver. That means Treadwell’s days with the Vikings likely will be over soon and general manager Rick Spielman would like to get something in return rather than have to simply cut him.
That gave the Vikings plenty of incentive to showcase Treadwell on Sunday. Still, it remains unlikely they will be able to get much, if anything, in return for him.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN
Thielen caught a 34-yard pass from Kirk Cousins in the first quarter that put the ball on the Vikings’ 49-yard line, but Seattle coach Pete Carroll decided to challenge the completion because he felt Thielen had committed offensive pass interference as he went against Seattle cornerback Shaquill Griffin.
The NFL now gives coaches the ability to challenge offensive and defensive pass interference, including non-calls. This came as a result of the non-call on a clear pass interference penalty by Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis early on a third-down play late in the fourth quarter of the NFC title game last season.
In Sunday’s game, Thielen’s catch stood after referee Jerome Boger took a look.
Nothing can stop this guy. pic.twitter.com/0jbeAI4VXS
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 19, 2019
“It’s hard to know when they’re going to call it and when they are not going to call it,” Zimmer said, letting out a sigh. “I didn’t think the one on Adam tonight was offensive pass interference. There was another one of the sideline, I thought about challenging, and I didn’t do it because I didn’t think it was flagrant enough or clear and obvious enough.”
On that second-quarter play, Vikings backup quarterback Sean Mannion try to find Olabsi Johnson for a touchdown but replays showed a Seattle defensive back had grabbed Johnson’s jersey. There was no flag. On the next play, from the Seattle 18, Mannion and Beebe had a breakdown in communication and Seahawks safety DeShawn Shead picked off the pass and went 88 yards for a touchdown to give Seattle a 10-3 lead.
Zimmer acknowledged he is concerned about how the pass interference challenges are going to work. “I think that all the people that I talk to and communicate with, they have that concern, yes,” Zimmer said. “There were a couple that happened (Saturday), that one got reversed or whatever. I think it’s going to be a work in progress. Yes.”
Vikings cornerback Holton Hill has been suspended for the first eight games of the regular season for violations of the NFL’s rules on performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse. But he remains eligible to play in the preseason and that eligibility likely will mean the second-year player will be paying a rather large fine to the NFL in the coming week. He also could be facing a third suspension.
Hill drew a penalty and was ejected in the fourth quarter when he lowered his helmet and knocked Seattle quarterback Paxton Lynch out of the game after a 3-yard run.
That Paxton Lynch hit was baaaaaaaad pic.twitter.com/BduSwGBFcu
— Evan Webeck (@EvanWebeck) August 19, 2019
“Number one, we don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Zimmer said of the hit. “I told Pete that after the game. I’m sorry about his quarterback. Number two, (Hill) can’t drop his head. But, saying that, when the quarterback is running an option he ought to be fair game other than lowering your head and hitting him in the head. If they’re going to let these quarterbacks be runners, then we should be able to hit them. He didn’t hit him legally, but we need to hit these guys.”