Patience needed before Laquon Treadwell is polished

Laquon Treadwell said patience is needed before we find out how good he can be at the NFL level and his coaches agree. Some of his greatest assets won’t be shown until training camp and the preseason.

Patience doesn’t come easily with first-round draft picks, but Minnesota Vikings receiver Laquon Treadwell will have to have some with his immersion into the NFL.

Treadwell hasn’t cracked the starting lineup as the third and final week of organized team activities progresses, but the rookie receiver also knows there is a long way to go. In other words: patience required.

“It’s a big playbook and it’s going fast. Guys have been here several years and know the offense. I’m just coming in,” Treadwell said. “Coach always tells me ‘mouth closed, ears open,’ so that’s kind of my motto toward this whole process right now.”

Treadwell started 31 of 35 games at Mississippi and had 202 receptions for 2,393 yards and 21 touchdowns. The 202 catches are an Ole Miss record and he added nine 100-yard receiving games in that time.

Receivers coach George Stewart said it is still too early to set expectations for Treadwell, but certainly fans will want to see some solid production from the Vikings’ top pick in the 2016 draft.  “He is such a young player. He’s a rookie. He’s 20 years old. It’s too early to tell,” Stewart said. “Once we get to training camp, once we get to preseason games because college is totally different than pro football obviously. With young players I don’t really say too much about them until I get a better feel for them because right now it’s kind of like the combine – they’re in shorts, they’re running around and it’s not really football yet. Once we get to training camp and it’s preseason games and see where he is with other professional athletes, we’ll go from there.”

Treadwell had some dropped passes early in organized team activities, but head coach Mike Zimmer has liked what he has seen lately from this 6-foot-2 receiver.

“He had three really good days. I don’t know if today was his best day, but he’s had three really good days,” Zimmer said. “He’s got really good acceleration, he’s fast off the line, runs good routes, catches the ball good and he’s got a good feel about how to run the routes.”

But Treadwell’s biggest asset is expected to be his size. He will turn 21 years old in a week, but he’s already 215 pounds and has a decent build for such a young receiver.

To date, however, it’s difficult to analyze how effectively he will be able to use his size. During this portion of offseason training, press coverage isn’t allowed and contact is forbidden. Eventually, he will be able to incorporate that into his game.

“I’m a more physical guy, so being out here in shorts it’s kind of hard to be physical and play aggressive. That is a piece that you’ll see if you’re really ready for it and you’ll see if you’re really up to the task, competing and seeing what the NFL is really like,” he said. “That’s for any rookie coming in.”

Treadwell’s size could make him an intriguing candidate for being targeted in the red zone, but Stewart said plenty of Vikings have the size to do that, despite Teddy Bridgewater only throwing 14 touchdown passes last year. Charles Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson and Adam Thielen are all listed at 6-foot-2, the same height as Treadwell.

“Those are big-body receivers and give us a chance to be successful in the red zone and gives Teddy a chance to throw the ball up a little bit,” Stewart said. “You have a big body in Laquon at 6-2 and Adam Thielen. We’ve got some big receivers. People don’t realize how big our receivers are, but they are big receivers.”


Adjusting to the size, speed and consistency of NFL cornerbacks is also an adjustment. Vikings coaches don’t believe Treadwell faced enough consistently good cornerbacks in college to come in a polished product.

“They’re even faster at this level, more fundamentally sound, so I’ve just got to step my game up and keep working and keep bringing it every day in practice,” Treadwell said of the cornerbacks.

“This league is a lot faster so I’ve just got to adjust my technique and how I attack them and learn to do certain things. They’re skilled in what they do and they know exactly how to beat certain things. They’ve seen it at the highest level. We’re just getting here and I’m adjusting.”

Stewart said Treadwell’s red zone abilities “paid dividends” for Ole Miss, and at some point that should be the case for the Vikings, too. For now, however, patience – or at least waiting for the pads to go – might be needed.

“We try to push them as fast as we can. Every guy, not just first-round guys,” Zimmer said. “He’s got a lot of football instincts – it’s just how fast can you line up here, run this route against this coverage. But he’s been catching the ball good. Today he had a couple flinches, which that can’t happen, so he’s got to correct that.



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