KANSAS CITY — If you bet that Laquon Treadwell would lead the Minnesota Vikings in receiving against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, then buy a lottery ticket.
With Adam Thielen returning to the lineup, you would have expected Treadwell to continue to see limited action and some special teams work. Instead, after Thielen was sidelined with a re-aggravated hamstring injury, he caught three passes for 58 yards, each of which played a role in scoring drives.
“I was just waiting on whatever came my way and making the most of it,” Treadwell said. “All week we’ve been taking reps and being ready for anything. We were always prepared because you never know. Any guy can go down at any position so everyone prepares for that and this league is all about the next guy up.”
The Vikings released Treadwell following a training camp and preseason that rarely saw him receive first-team reps. He was passed over for rookie Bisi Johnson and second-year receiver Chad Beebe. They also signed fellow 2016 first-rounder Josh Doctson after he was released by Washington. But Beebe and Doctson both ended up on IR, so the Vikings brought back Treadwell since he was familiar with the offense. When Thielen suffered a hamstring injury against Detroit, he was pushed up to the No. 3 role but rarely saw snaps.
On Sunday he came through on the Vikings’ third drive with a 26-yard catch on third-and-7 and and 13-yard reception on third-and-11, which set up a 4-yard Johnson touchdown pass. The fourth-year receiver said he has looked for any way he can to improve since coming back to Minnesota.
“Just keep working on the details,” Treadwell said. “Doing whatever I can to find a detail to help me be successful on Sundays. That’s all I’ve been doing is studying the great players in the league and listening to what they’re talking about and how they prepare.”
Treadwell’s third grab was a 19-yard reception in which the Chiefs misplayed a coverage and left him wide open. He was initially called for offensive pass interference but the call was overturned upon review. The Vikings finished that drive with a field goal.
“He did a great job, he caught two big third downs, he caught a big ball in the two-minute drill that got us down there,” Kirk Cousins said. “It was great to get him involved and hopefully we can continue to rely on him going forward.”
The former first-round pick is well aware that his second tenure might not last. It’s possible Doctson and Beebe could both return at some point soon, leaving the Vikings a decision of whether to keep Treadwell on the roster and have six receivers or cut him again.
“It’s my only chance, that’s how I’m taking it,” Treadwell said. “You have to make the most of that chance and opportunity and I’m going to continue to prepare like that. I’ve got a saying: Prepare like you’re the worst player in the league but believe that you’re the best. I’m just going to prepare that way and whenever my number is called, make the play.”