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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Weight lifted from Laquon Treadwell’s shoulders after first NFL catch

By Matthew Coller

Until Thursday, every time reporters approached wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, the theme was the same: When are you going to play? After making his first professional catch on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, Treadwell smiled for the first time in any media session this season and said he finally feels like part of the team.

“It was good to get it out of the way,” Treadwell said. “This whole week has been different. My preparation, my mindset. Just competing overall has risen up overall because I played in a game and I felt it.”

Treadwell entered last Sunday’s game with just 12 total offensive snaps and zero targets, which was surprising considering he was selected in the first round by the Vikings and No. 1 receiver Stefon Diggs missed a game against Houston to injury. Head coach Mike Zimmer said it was “about time” that Treadwell got into the offense.

“I feel like that’s a big confidence builder,” he said. “I’ll make a lot more plays now that I’ve been out there and everybody knows I can do it, the coaches can trust me.”

Zimmer denied that his comment was a jab at former offensive coordinator Norv Turner, but one of the principles of interim offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s West Coast offense is to spread the ball around. Ten different players caught passes against Detroit.

“He has done a good job out here on the practice field,” Shurmur said. “He has done an excellent job blocking. He got an opportunity to catch the ball the other night in tight coverage, which was actually a really good throw and a really good catch. So, just like any young player, you get him in there, see what they can do, and then you just kind of gradually give them more and more, hopefully, as long as the game plan calls for it.”

Treadwell said he takes pride in being able to block, seeing it as a competition of strength between he and the defender. He made a key block on a run play against the Lions and another on a Marcus Sherles punt return for touchdown on special teams earlier this year.

“We’ve got a lot of great players on this team and you have to get in where you fit in,” he said. “Wherever they put me, I’m going to give my 100 percent effort to earn more spots and earn more plays coming my way and earn my way with the coaches. Anybody can do things in college, but this is a whole other level and being out there you have to prove yourself.”

Treadwell was a star receiver at Ole Miss, where he caught 82 passes for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final season. It has been difficult for him to sit after being a top college player last year, but the 6-foot-2. 210-pound receiver said he has put in extra work aside from practice to stay prepared.

“I just do more outside of the facility like, mentally, to challenge myself to get as much work in as I can,” he said. “Whether it’s yoga or jumping rope in the training room or anything that’s going to keep me on the edge and keeping me ready to play. Not going out and not being able to play is a mental challenge but as long as you challenge yourself and find ways to get better, I feel like you’ll be fine.”

The Vikings offense has shown flashes of passing success but ranks 32nd with just 4.7 yards per play. They could always use another weapon, especially on third down and in the red zone.

“Every day you have to come in and work on you, that’s the biggest thing. Staying in the film and continue to work on small things that’s going to help you get better,” Treadwell said.”

READ MATTHEW COLLER’S PROFILE OF TREADWELL FROM WEEK 1 HERE

The odyssey of Vikings receiver Laquon Treadwell

The post Weight lifted from Laquon Treadwell’s shoulders after first NFL catch appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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