vikings

Previous Story Rhodes: Vikings’ first-round CB Hughes is willing to learn Next Story Exploring one NFL exec’s claim that Kirk Cousins is ‘not a finisher’

Zulgad’s 3-and-out: Why Treadwell’s offseason optimism means little

This all seems and sounds very familiar.

Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, who has been a major disappointment since being taken by the Vikings with the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2016 draft, saw regular work with the first team during Organized Team Activities and talked about how he’s changed his offseason routine.

This comes after Treadwell had one reception in nine games as a rookie and then had 20 in 16 games and seven starts last season.

The former Mississippi star told the Star Tribune that he worked in Texas this offseason with personal trainer David Robinson, who helped Treadwell prepare for the 2016 draft. Treadwell also said he is doing more work with a nutritionist, as well as massage and acupuncture specialists.

“Coming in, typically I didn’t have a trainer,” Treadwell told the paper. “I just worked hard and did different drills. Going into Year 3, I have a better team (around) me. There’s lots of different things I’ve done better and learned over the years I’ve been in the league.”

This offseason attempt at focusing on the positive might cause optimism among some, but it reminds me of the type of storyline we get every offseason from at least one player who is closing in on bust territory. Remember all the footballs that first-round pick Troy Williamson would catch from a JUGS Machine after his work at the Nike Vision Clinic?

It all sounded so promising. The problem was that in Williamson’s case he simply did not have the hands to be an NFL wide receiver. Does Treadwell have the ability to make it in this league? If he is going to turn things around, we aren’t going to find out during OTAs, minicamp or training camp.

Treadwell is entering the third season of his rookie contract and at nearly 23-years-old, he will celebrate his birthday on June 14, he could be nearing his final chance to prove to the Vikings that he belongs on the roster.

If Treadwell does prove that he belongs, it won’t be because of anything he says or does during the offseason.

New year, different excuse

Is it just me or does former Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil always have an excuse for his struggles?

Last season, after signing a five-year, $55 million free-agent contract with the Carolina Panthers, Kalil decided not to take responsibility for the drop off in his play over his final four seasons with the Vikings and instead took a shot at former Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson and current position coach Tony Sparano as he praised Panthers offensive line coach John Matsko.

“(Matsko) is the first guy I’ve played for that kind of demands excellence from his offensive line room,” Kalil told the Charlotte Observer.

Kalil, the fourth-overall pick in the 2012 draft, made the Pro Bowl as a rookie but his play began to slide in his second season and between injuries and ineffectiveness he qualified as a bust by the time he departed for Carolina. If Kalil had looked in the mirror, he would have realized this wasn’t Davidson or Sparano’s fault.

Last season, Kalil gave up six sacks (10th most among NFL offensive tackles), eight quarterback hits (eighth most) and 30 quarterback hurries (11th most).

So whose fault was it this time that Kalil simply isn’t that good?

Kalil said the season-ending hip injury he suffered in 2016 continued to be his problem and that he did not feel like himself until last year’s training camp.

“Obviously, you saw during the season the first few games I was kind of just iffy and a little behind,” Kalil said. “ … I used to have to do what I could to survive. Now it’s to the point where physically nothing’s holding me back. So I have a chance to excel and work on the things I want to work on rather than doing maintenance 24/7 and just trying to survive out there.

“I would say the point where I’m starting off now to last season is not even close. You can’t compare the two. It’s the difference between actually working out and training or rehabbing. Just from a strength standpoint, I feel night and day the difference.”

Perhaps this is true.

Or perhaps, Kalil decided he could not longer use the Vikings’ coaching staff as his scapegoat and so he had to pick something else.

More than a tweak?

The Wild will attempt to downplay it but you have to wonder what type of message was sent this week by new general manager Paul Fenton when assistant coach John Anderson wasn’t given a new contract and Dean Evason was brought in to replace him.

Anderson is good friends with Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, while Evason was on Boudreau’s coaching staff at one time with the Washington Capitals but arrives in Minnesota as Fenton’s guy. Evason, 53, had spent the past six seasons coaching the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. That team serves as the top minor-league affiliate for the Nashville Predators, the club that Fenton worked for before taking the Minnesota job.

There was no question that Boudreau deserved to remain the Wild’s coach after Chuck Fletcher was fired following the team’s ouster in the first round of the playoffs this spring, but that doesn’t mean that things are necessarily going to be super comfortable between a new GM and a coach he didn’t hire.

Boudreau has two years left on the four-year, $12 million contract he signed to coach the Wild. It will help that Boudreau has coached with Evason before, but you do have to wonder what Evason’s presence behind the Wild’s bench will mean and whether he could be a candidate to take over for Boudreau at some point.





vikings

Previous Story Rhodes: Vikings’ first-round CB Hughes is willing to learn Next Story Exploring one NFL exec’s claim that Kirk Cousins is ‘not a finisher’