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Bleacher Report – Vikings

‘Mouth closed, ears open,’ Laquon Treadwell working with Vikings’ second team early on

By Dane Mizutani

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — As many Vikings players made a beeline for the locker room as soon as practice wraps up, about 100 yards in the distance Laquon Treadwell still donned his helmet as he caught mechanically-hurled footballs.

The 23rd-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft still wants to work. Treadwell spent the next 15 minutes or so in front of the JUGS machine, which fires pass after pass in his direction before he retreated to the locker room.

That’s been the scene in three Organized Team Activity practices open to the media.

“It’s my choice,” Treadwell said Tuesday. “I always try to work to get better everyday. I’ll continue to do it. It’s been paying off.”

That pay off has been noticeable since the start of OTAs, though Treadwell is just starting his indoctrination to the NFL. He blended into the first practice open to the media a few weeks ago, but Treadwell looked a little more comfortable last week despite dropping a pass on screen a play specially designed for him in the redzone.

He seemed fairly comfortable Tuesday, too, catching a handful of passes while working with the second-team unit behind Charles Johnson. He also failed to haul in what would’ve been a spectacular one-handed catch near the sideline.

“I started out slow just because I was learning,” Treadwell said. “It’s a learning curve. As the weeks have gone on I’m getting better and better at playing faster. Getting more comfortable with the route tree and just competing at a higher level.”

And while coach Mike Zimmer credited Treadwell with “three really good days” to this point, the entire team has yet to put on pads and they won’t until training camp in late July. So the most important auditions have yet to come.

“You know, he’s got a lot of football instincts,” Zimmer said. “It’s just about how fast he can line up here, run this route against this coverage. He’s been catching the ball good. Today he had a couple flinches, that can’t happen. He has to correct that.”

Treadwell pointed to the speed of the game as the thing that’s been the biggest adjustment so far — as the story goes for most rookies.

“It’s just faster,” he said. “Everything is a lot faster. It’s kind of the same talent I think. Just more skill. They know exactly what they want to do their technique and how they want to play. That’s a thing coming in as a rookie I have to pick up on and know exactly what I want to do to attack the leverage.”

Treadwell was a star at Ole Miss before suffering a gruesome leg injury in the latter half of his sophomore campaign. He bounced back last season, hauling in 82 passes for 1153 yards to go along with an SEC-leading 11 touchdowns.

Concerns about his speed (a 4.63 at his pro day back in March) helped push him down to the Vikings. For what he lacked in speed, Treadwell made up for in frame. He’s a legitimate 6-foot-2, 220-pound target for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. And at 20 years old — he turns 21 years old next week — he could still grow into his frame.

So perhaps he’ll feel more comfortable when pads pop on in training camp, which is also when he’ll face NFL press coverage for the first time.

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

Until then Treadwell remains focused on improvement.

“Coach always tells me: mouth closed, ears open,” he said. “That’s my whole motto to this whole process right now.”

The post ‘Mouth closed, ears open,’ Laquon Treadwell working with Vikings’ second team early on appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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