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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings’ Laquon Treadwell relieved to put 40-yard dash in the past

By Andrew Krammer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Under the brim of a Vikings’ purple cap, Laquon Treadwell shook his head and smiled. Standing inside the team’s fieldhouse, a NFL lapel pin glistened from his charcoal grey suit, but he anxiously wants to shed it all for a jersey and pair of cleats.

He’s at least taken the first step toward putting the last four months in the past.

A number, 4.63 to be specific, hung over his head ever since he underwhelmed in the 40-yard dash a month before the NFL Draft. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, who took Treadwell with the 23rd-overall pick on Thursday night, figured that time scared some potential suitors away. He was the fourth and final receiver taken in the opening round.

The 20-year-old Treadwell exhaled Friday as he arrived in Minnesota. And he shook the concerns about his speed in a similar fashion as would-be tacklers during his 11-touchdown junior season at Ole Miss.

“It don’t play a role in what happens on this field,” Treadwell said Friday, standing around the 10-yard line of a Vikings practice field. “A lot of guys can’t go left, can’t go right, can’t go back, can’t go deep, can’t make the play. I mean, it’s just part of what helps guys get drafted higher. I mean, look at some of the greatest. It wasn’t the fastest guys. I don’t get caught up in it. That’s my go-to — look at the greatest.”

The greatest include ex-Viking and Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, who has started to take Treadwell under his wing. The two began a relationship while Treadwell was at Ole Miss, and he intends to pursue a mentorship under Carter. Before playing a NFL snap, Treadwell has already picked up the kind of endorsements that matter on the field. League greats like Michael Irvin, Carter and Jerry Rice have given their thumbs up to the Vikings’ top pick.

Carter wasn’t the fastest receiver, but he possessed some of the game’s best hands during his 16 NFL seasons. Unlike Carter, Treadwell didn’t go under the radar during the draft process and was thrust into the critical machine, which is custom for any first-round talent in today’s game.

“You hear people talking about you, saying how slow you are,” Treadwell said. “You don’t want to hear that, you know? You just want to live your life.”

Over the past four months, teams poked and prodded athletes, finding the limits of their physical ability while putting them through psychological and medical assessments. Great results can elevate prospects, and the opposite can stir concern. Much like quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, whose shaky pro day performance two years ago contributed to his slide to 32nd overall in 2014, Treadwell watched his stock slip without playing a snap.

He fell to the Vikings and an offense that welcomes his 6-foot-2-inch frame and 221 pounds.

“I think the biggest thing is his size,” Spielman said Friday. “There’s been a lot of very productive receivers in this league that don’t run a 4.3…It comes down to football speed, too. If you want to go out and get all 4.3 and 4.2 guys, we’ll go scout the Olympic track team. They have to know how to play the game.”

Treadwell has more than a trio of NFL greats on his side. His 22-pick wait on Thursday night in his hometown of Chicago came alongside his mother, Tami, and three-year-old daughter Madison, who immediatley became a fan favorite as she joined her dad on stage inside the Auditorium Theatre.

The night was still special, but he’s relieved the process is over.

“Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. I can’t say that [enough],” Treadwell said. “I just want to be out there playing football, you know?”

The post Vikings’ Laquon Treadwell relieved to put 40-yard dash in the past appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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