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Vikings say Treadwell’s game speed trumps his Combine speed

NFL Draft

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28: Laquon Treadwell of Ole Miss holds up a jersey with his daughter Madison and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #23 overall by the Minnesota Vikings during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

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At the Scouting Combine, receiver Laquon Treadwell turned in a disappointing 40-yard dash, leading to some speculation that he could drop out of the first round. But that didn’t happen, as the Vikings selected him with the 23rd overall pick.

So why did the Vikings ignore Treadwell’s 40 time? G.M. Rick Spielman said on today’s PFT Live that watching Treadwell on tape reveals that he plays faster in a game than he runs in shorts.

“We watched all of his ’14 tape, and you look at his game speed,” Spielman said. “He had a very devastating injury at the end of the ’14 season against Auburn, and then you start to see him get his stride again the second half of the [2015] season. There’s been a lot of receivers that may not have run fast on the clock, but they play with good game speed, and we felt that Laquon definitely shows enough game speed to make an impact in this league.”

Spielman said the Vikings don’t think their passing game was quite where they wanted it to be last year, but they believe Treadwell can make difficult catches, win contested balls in the red zone and help quarterback Teddy Bridgewater grow.

“Don’t discount Laquon because some of those bigger guys . . . because of their catching radius, their ability to go up and their timing on the ball, they can be effective receivers downfield,” Spielman said.

That matters a lot more than a 40 time.