“This is what we’ve all been waiting on, just get back and play football, and get to business,” Treadwell said after his first practice Friday morning.
That session was essentially a glorified walk-through, but as a first-round draft pick taken at a position of need for the Vikings, the expectations for Treadwell will be high. Even so, he’s looking to prove himself all over again, just as he did at Mississippi, where he set 12 school records, including single-season receiving yards (1,153), single-season receiving touchdowns (11) and most career catches (202).
In some respects he is starting over and realizes a starting spot won’t simply be given to him. The first step for him is showing something to the coaches.
“My competitive nature. Just playing football honestly and learning the playbook and showing that I’m willing to compete and learn and compete for a spot,” he said.
“… I’m fully confident in myself. So just learning and picking up on the speed of the game. It’s a little faster. Technique, getting better, and learning the offense and the playbook.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is cautious about making too many initial judgments on only a few hours of practice, especially one that started with a teaching atmosphere.
“What we are really trying to do is get them acclimated to how we do things, get them into the weights, how we practice, watch them a little bit, see athletic ability,” Zimmer said. “You draft guys, but you never really know exactly until you see them with your own eyes, how they learn, things like that.”
At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Treadwell already has a frame built to play receiver in the NFL. But some of his best football assets aren’t likely to show until practices become more competitive.
“It was really a low-key thing, but he is quick and sudden, catches the ball well,” Zimmer said of his impressions of Alexander after one practice.
For now, rookie minicamp is about rounding the young players’ bodies and minds into NFL shape.
“You can definitely feel a difference in your body from actual combine training and going out here and running routes and competing and getting out there,” Treadwell said, “so it’s a difference.”