The first-round draft pick caught only one pass for 15 yards while being targeted only three times. It was a year that Treadwell looked back on disappointment.
“I don’t think I helped the offense at all, so that’s my offseason goal,” Treadwell said Monday during the team’s locker-room cleanout day.
At midseason, Treadwell said his ankle injury from his college days was finally feeling better and no longer an issue, but he suffered another ankle injury late in December and was inactive for the final three games of the season.
“I was feeling more comfortable, and they (were) ready to put me out there, but I just went down on special teams,” Treadwell said. “That’s a tough break for me, but you’ve got to get healthy and come back ready.”
When the Vikings were preparing to get him more opportunities on offense in December, Treadwell suffered his latest ankle injury when he was covering the opening kickoff on Dec. 11 in Jacksonville.
“I think that he came in here, he was a little bit – his feet were bothering him,” head coach Mike Zimmer said about the start of Treadwell’s rookie season. “So that started him off slow a little bit. It wasn’t so much about learning the offense, but it was just he didn’t really feel totally healthy coming in until, I don’t know what time of the year it was. But I think that set him back.”
Treadwell’s health certainly contributed to his slow start and inactive status in the final three games, but Treadwell called his rookie season a “grind” and admitted “I’ve got to get better” in all aspects of his game.
Despite the lack of playing time, appearing in only 80 offensive snaps, Zimmer pointed to his 2015 first-round draft pick, Trae Waynes, that didn’t end up starting much in his rookie season and said he still believes in Treadwell’s potential.
“I think Treadwell is going to be a good player. I know that he had a rough season,” Zimmer said. “I see too many good qualities from him to believe that he’s not going to be a good player. He’s tough. He works his rear end off.
“He’s good in and out of cuts. He catches the ball good. I know he’s disappointed in the way things went. We can go back and look at Trae Waynes, didn’t play much his rookie year. … These things happen to some of these rookies. So I think you always are going to give young guys the benefit of the doubt as you continue to move forward.”
Treadwell said he will train in Dallas during the offseason before the Vikings reconvene for team workouts.
Next year, he hopes to show what he can do with the expectation that he will earn more playing time.
“You’ve just got to get in the game, man. Everything else, the plays, will come,” Treadwell said. “And I feel like that’s the same thing for every player here. You get in the game, you start doing what you’re used to doing.”