It hasn't been an easy journey for Nick Vannett to become a focal point in the Seattle Seahawks offense.
The third-year tight end out of Ohio State battled through a painful back injury and couldn't find the field stuck behind veterans Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson on the depth chart during his first two NFL seasons.
But on an overhauled Seahawks offense coordinated by Brian Schottenheimer, Vannett has finally found his groove, emerging as a dependable receiving option for quarterback Russell Wilson. He enjoyed his finest game of the season last weekend, catching six passes for 52 yards and snagged his first touchdown in a 25-17 loss to the Chargers.
Coming off the outstanding performance, Wilson complimented the young tight end for his diverse skill set and substantial impact on Seattle's offense this season.
"Nick's got great hands, he's getting open, he's doing a great job in the blocking game as well." Wilson said when asked about his chemistry with Vannett. "He had a really good game last week."
Admitting prior to the season that he played through a herniated disk in his back over the past two years, Vannett entered camp the healthiest he's been since joining the Seahawks. The results have shown, as he's already established career-highs with 19 receptions and 178 receiving yards through seven games.
Along with finally being healthy, Wilson has credited Vannett's monumental growth to his work ethic on and off the field.
"We need him to show up in a big way every game and he's really been asking a lot of questions, really been working at really, really hard." Wilson commented. "So it's cool to just see his progression and the sky's the limit for him."
Back in Week 5, Vannett had a solid showing against the Rams, catching three passes for 43 yards, including a 32-yard reception. He also threw several quality blocks to help the Seahawks rack up 190 rushing yards in a heart-breaking 33-31 defeat.
Playing against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL featuring Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, he'll once again be critical as a blocker and security blanket in the passing game if Seattle intends to win Sunday's rematch.