There has been a lot of speculation about what the Minnesota Vikings will do with their first-round pick this offseason. Plenty of names have been thrown out as possible selections, but the most common position tied to the Vikings is wide receiver.
The team had plenty of needs heading into this offseason but seemed to address a majority of them in free agency. The primary position they did not improve at – if anything they got worse after cutting Mike Wallace – was wide receiver.
The Vikings have already shown plenty of interest in some of the top receivers in the draft, as they have met with TCU’s Josh Doctson at the NFL Scouting Combine and visited Baylor’s Corey Coleman at his pro day.
They had another opportunity to see one of the top receivers in this year’s draft on Monday in Oxford, Miss. as Laquon Treadwell performed at the Ole Miss Pro Day. The Vikings took advantage of this opportunity with general manager Rick Spielman in attendance to see how Treadwell would do.
Treadwell is the top receiver on a lot of experts' draft boards. At 6-foot-2, 221 pounds he is the ideal size for a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. He is also strong, very physical and a willing blocker in the run game. The biggest question surrounding Treadwell was how fast he was.
While watching his game tape you can tell that Treadwell does not have elite speed, but many teams were wanting to see the time he would post running the 40-yard dash. He chose to not run it at the NFL Scouting Combine, which made his pro day all the more important for him.
With all eyes on him, Treadwell lined up, ready to run. In his two attempts he posted unofficial times of 4.65 and 4.59 seconds, according to RosterWatch on Twitter. That is the range he was expected to run in, which means that his performance running the 40-yard dash should neither hurt nor help his draft stock. He said he was proud of his time.
“Everybody has their wants and their needs, I guess. I don’t have to run a 4.2 to win on a deep ball,” he said. “I don’t have to run that. I just play ball.”
It’s also important to keep in mind that those times look a lot better this year with a lot of the receivers posting times in the 4.60 range or slower. If that time were posted in years past it would stand out much more, but it is an average time this year.
The wide receiver was also reported as running unofficial times of 6.78 and 6.91 in the three-cone drill. Those times are actually good, considering what players ran at the combine, where the fastest time was 6.49 seconds and the slowest time was 7.43 seconds. Of the 27 wide receivers to participate in the three-cone drill at the combine, only six posted a faster time than Treadwell’s unofficial time of 6.78.
After that, however, Treadwell was reportedly taken into the locker room by a member of the Ole Miss training staff. He came back onto the field before long, though, so it is safe to assume he was not injured. He may have just needed some of his equipment adjusted, or an ankle taped up.
If you look at his numbers alone, Treadwell had secured a spot in the first round. Now the questions become where in the first round will he go -- will he fall to No. 23 overall and will he be the first receiver to be taken in the draft? He knows where the strengths in his game are.
“Just attacking the ball, not afraid to take a hit,” he said. “Really not afraid to go across the middle and make those plays, make the tough plays, make the tough catches with a defender around me. I’m a bigger-body receiver and I try to play like that.”
The players in line to be the first receiver off the board are Treadwell, Doctson, Coleman and Notre Dame’s Will Fuller. Each player brings a different strength to the table and now it will come down to which player the teams in need of receiver feel will best fit and benefit their organization.