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Bleacher Report – Vikings

What we’ve learned about the rookies: WR Laquon Treadwell

By Andrew Krammer

The Vikings have one more week before Organized Team Activities kickstart the home stretch of the NFL offseason.

Easing into the organization, eight drafted rookies and more undrafted rookies spent the past couple weeks assimilating into the meeting rooms, on-field drills and strength programs. Competition will ramp up starting with the month-long ‘phase three’ of the offseason, which allows full team drills, but no live contact. The Vikings begin the first OTA on Tuesday, May 24.

Before that, let’s set the stage for some of the rookies with what we knew, what we’ve learned so far and what we’re watching for this summer.

WR Laquon Treadwell

What we knew

Height: 6’2?

Weight: 221 pounds

Age: 20

Position: Receiver

Hometown: Chicago

College: University of Mississippi

Drafted: 23rd overall, making him the Vikings’ most valuable draft pick at receiver since Percy Harvin was selected with the 22nd-overall pick in 2009

What we’ve learned

First impression

Like the trio of first-round picks before him (Anthony Barr, Teddy Bridgewater and Trae Waynes), the Vikings’ top pick in this draft came across as another soft-spoken personality. Treadwell made his mark under the spotlight of the Southeastern Conference, yet he wasn’t even the star of the show on his grandest platform to date. His three-year-old daughter, Madison, melted hearts when she joined her father onstage during the Vikings’ selection at the NFL Draft in Chicago.

“It was just natural to me,” Treadwell said during his introductory press conference. “It was that important to me to bring her. Going away for school it was my goal to reach this level, because I knew I had to take care of my daughter. That’s what I wanted to do and I just felt it was the best thing to do for me.”

After his initial media session in Minnesota, Treadwell spoke candidly to beat writers about some topics, including the 40-yard dash time (4.63) at his pro day that may have caused some teams to pause. Treadwell was the fourth and final receiver taken in this year’s first round.

“Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. I can’t say that [enough],” Treadwell said of putting the draft process behind him. “I just want to be out there playing football, you know?”

More than a big target?

Treadwell, who turns 21 next month, is one of the NFL’s youngest players. Though his size, style of play and position should allow him to make an immediate impact. Unlike Trae Waynes’ rookie season, a developmental year on defense behind Terence Newman, there’s a big opening in front of Treadwell and he should have that pressure to contribute early.

He drew rave reviews for his style of play from general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer, saying: “Honestly this kid is really a lot like I am trying to build this football team. He is a tough, physical player that is a heck of a competitor.” Zimmer added the Ole Miss offense prepares him well for the Vikings’ passing concepts.

He’s also viewed, by Zimmer, as “the best blocking receiver I’ve ever seen.” Treadwell said he credits the aggressive on-field nature to both life and football experiences, including playing everywhere from defensive end to safety in high school.

“I know Adrian Peterson’s going to be very excited how this guy plays the game and blocks at the edge,” Spielman said. “He’s a receiver that just plays with a chip on his shoulder in all phases of the game.”

Drawing the attention of NFL greats

Before he made it to the pros, Treadwell was under the spotlight. He was Rivals’ 2013 top-rated receiver in the country coming out of Crete-Monee High School in Chicago. Treadwell eventually joined the same agency as Vikings legend Cris Carter and the two began a relationship. He said he worked out with Carter four times prior to the NFL Draft and wants to continue learning under him when he can.

“He has so much knowledge on the game that I didn’t know was even possible,” Treadwell said. “The things he was teaching me, from stretching your hands to separation. I’m just looking forward to working with him in the future and continuing to build our relationship.”

He just happens to be drawing top reviews from NFL greats who also weren’t the fastest receivers in their eras. Cowboys legend Michael Irvin said he expects Norv Turner, his former offensive coordinator in Dallas, to make Treadwell “the Michael Irvin of the Minnesota Vikings.” Jerry Rice chimed in when Treadwell was drafted, telling NFL Media: “I like what I see on the football field. Pretty big body that can run good routes, that can position himself and also make plays.”

What we’re watching for

Chemistry

Treadwell’s ability in college to attack the football and make contested grabs will likely be the best asset for third-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. They’re looking for the connection Mike Wallace and Bridgewater too often missed. I’ll be watching to see the duo’s rapport through training camp. Treadwell said he already knows last year’s leading receiver, Stefon Diggs, having met during their college days.

Play faster?

The Vikings’ defense, and that of draft analyst Dane Brugler, for Treadwell’s speed is twofold. Primarily, they say he played faster than a 4.63 on film when he led the SEC with 11 touchdown grabs last fall. Their next point is he’ll only be 21 years old this season and has his athletic prime well in front of him. Another benefit for the Vikings fielding a stingy defense is seeing how a rookie receiver handles some top-tier competition right away.

The post What we’ve learned about the rookies: WR Laquon Treadwell appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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