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Floyd’s suspension puts spotlight on Laquon Treadwell

Aug 28, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (11) runs during the fourth quarter in a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings won 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Laquon Treadwell will have his chance to prove Mike Zimmer right.

On several occasions this offseason, the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach has sung the praises of the club’s 2016 first-round draft pick, who made just one catch on three targets in his debut season.

“He looks good,” Zimmer said during OTAs. “His stopping and starting, some of the routes he’s been running as far as when he has to come back…when he has to accelerate over the middle, inside breaks in routes, and you guys saw him catch the deep ball the other day. I think his game has expanded, I think he’s so much more comfortable now than he was a year ago.”

With news on Friday that veteran Michael Floyd will miss the first four games due to a suspension for a DUI incident in December, Treadwell will get an opportunity to step into the spotlight in training camp and earn a significant role.

Zimmer mentioned multiple times last season that Treadwell hadn’t mastered route depths, which caused a lack of trust between the former Ole Miss star and quarterback Sam Bradford.

In June, Zimmer said that Treadwell has improved that area of his game.

“I think he’s developing a trust with the quarterback,” Zimmer said. “That’s most important, that trust with receivers, that they can get the right depth and be in the right place.”

Route depths might not have been the only factor that played into Treadwell seeing just 80 offensive snaps in Year 1. Late in the season, Zimmer eluded to an injury issue with with the 22-year-old receiver’s feet which may have slowed down his progress – though some have also voiced concerns about how well he’s adapted to the NFL.

Early on in OTAs, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said he’d seen noticeable improvement in Treadwell’s ability to grasp the mental elements of the game.

“When we came back, he was really on point with what he’s supposed to be doing mentally,” Shurmur said in late May.  “He’s been out here competing and doing a nice job running routes and catching the ball, understanding where he fits in the running game and who to block. To this point, we’ve been really pleased with his progress based on a year ago.”

Treadwell will face plenty of competition for Floyd’s spot in the offense. The Vikings’ fifth-round pick Rodney Adams, who was an impressive playmaker in college, has already made a strong impression. Veteran Jarius Wright is looking to get back in the good graces of the coaching staff after seeing his playing time diminished last year and seventh-round pick Stacy Coley, a speedy slot receiver from Miami, and former Minnesota Gopher Isaac Fruechte will also push for a place on the roster.

Treadwell has a leg up on his competitors because of his first-round talent, but Zimmer has proven in the past that draft status doesn’t matter toward playing time. The Vikings’ two top receivers are Stefon Diggs, a fifth-round pick, and Adam Thielen, who was undrafted.

Performing at a high level in Mankato will be Step 1 for Treadwell to prove the offseason hype was justified.

  • Gordon Guffey

    While it will be Treadwell’s chance to shine and I believe he will be much improved the load won’t fall on Treadwell alone ~ At TE word out of OTA’s is that Morgan is looking much improved and I have posted links to reports from coaches and players about him from vikings.com in the last couple of months ~ Word is he is catching everything coming his way ~
    Then is the talent added at RB in Murray and Cook to go along with McKinnon ~ Word from camp is that Cook has been outstanding catching the ball and we all know McKinnon has outstanding hands ~ They both were seen moving out of the backfield and into the slot in OTA’s ~ I haven’t seen much of Murray other than highlights but word is he is a good receiver out of the backfield as well ~
    Then there is the WR everyone keeps wanting to forget ~ J. Wright who has produced in every season but last season as they were taking longer looks at Patterson and Johnson ~ Guess who they keep ~ The guy who has had a long TD’s from 40 to 87 yards since his rookie year leading up to him being put on a shelf last year ~ He will be Mr. Reliable again this year just in case Treadwell doesn’t shine right out of the gates ~ However I believe he will ~ If there were any worries they would have went after one of the good WR’s in FA ~ They also seem to like both they young guys they drafted but the will be on the PS if they dont make it as return men ~ I would love to see Moritz shine also but I believe its the PS again this year unless he finds a home as a returner ~ Hopefully they will let him have a shot along with the rookies to replace Patterson ~
    Bottom line is the Vikings have enough talent on offense to move the ball with or without Floyd ~

    They also have a OC who is well versed in the short to mid passing game along with taking his shots down the field when the defense gives it up ~ Shurmur will use all of his skill players in the passing game ~ Its not like Floyd was look at as a player who was capable of pushing Diggs and Thielen and based on what was said in OTA’s not even Treadwell ~ One thing Zimmer is known for is not talking up a player ~ Just look at how Zimmer spoke of Treadwell last year or going back to his first season as HC when he called out players Joseph and Rhodes in OTA’s ~ Floyd is hopefully on the rebound ~ But thats no sure thing ~ Nor can the Vikings let a player like Wright go because there is no way of knowing when Floyd will fall off the wagon again ~
    Like I have been saying since day one ~ For me I’m not sure Floyd even makes the team and if he does it will be after he is cut before game one and resigned the Monday after so he has to then play for his base contract then if they cut him they owe nothing ~ But if he does I’m hoping he and the other 89 players on the roster right now play so well it makes it dang hard on the coaches when it comes down to the final cuts ~

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    • B. A. Barakas

      Floyd has a perfectly fine contract as it is, he will be on the team but won’t count against the roster until his suspension ends…and I agree that Morgan should be able to work himself into the passing game, the team regarded him as the best blocking TE in the draft last year, but he was a huge part of the passing game at UTSA and showed great hands and more acceleration than you would expect from someone his size…all in all I agree with you about the offense and I think Treadwell will fit in well, Shurmur loves to use all of his weapons so Treadwell won’t need to be anything more than a good route runner and show reliable hands early to earn some opportunities…

    • Carl Rasmussen

      YOUR – “One thing Zimmer is known for is not talking up a player . . . etc.” ME – I think that he has changed his approach. IMHO one of the results of Zimmer’s post-season “sit downs” with trusted veteran players, is that he will be more inclined to keep his criticisms/negative evaluations of his players “in house”—rather than laying them all out for all to see in the press.

      I think last year’s approach antagonized players, rather than motivating them.

      • Gordon Guffey

        You could very well be right ~ I have been wrong once in my life ~ It was with my first wife ~ However she will tell you it was all my fault ~ LOL ~
        Smiley Face 🙂

    • MarkWattsMN

      “word out of OTA’s”

      Yeah.

      Basing anything off OTAs. Yuck.

      What comes out of OTAs is BS, every rookie looks good, every injured player is ahead of schedule, every disappointing player from last season looks to be ready to breakout.

      Here’s Treadwell from OTAs last season:
      He drew rave reviews for his style of play from general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer, saying: “Honestly this kid is really a lot like I am trying to build this football team. He is a tough, physical player that is a heck of a competitor.” Zimmer added the Ole Miss offense prepares him well for the Vikings’ passing concepts.

      He’s also viewed, by Zimmer, as “the best blocking receiver I’ve ever seen.”

      • Gordon Guffey

        Say what you like but if you go look at what was being said by the coaches last year if wasn’t anything good ~ However this year its a different story ~ Plays he was having issues with his feet ((( I posted the link from vikings.com if you care to look at my past posts here ))) and playing in Norv’s version of Chilly’s Kick A$$ Offense ~ Then Norv left and the Vikings had to see what they had in Patterson so they would if they wanted to resign him or not ~ As it turns out it was not ~ There was no rush with Treadwell because he was on the first year of a cheap rookie contract ~

        I’m not saying Treadwell will set the world on fire ~ But if you watch the videos over on vikings.com from this years OTA’s you will see he catching most everything ~ He is coming out of his routes on time and the ball is waiting on him when he does ~ These are the things I’m talking about ~ Sure he still have to put the pads on and catch the ball when he will be covered ~ So will he be a Start this year is still left to be seen ~ However what Treadwell did in OTA’a this year is like day from night last year ~ So yeah at this time IMHO and the coaches and players he is looking very different than last year ~ Thats all I’m stay ~





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