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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Laquon Treadwell showing signs of maturity

By Matthew Coller

If admitting you have a problem is the first step, then Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has already made progress this offseason.

Following Tuesday’s practice, the Vikings’ 2016 first-round draft pick acknowledged that his one-catch rookie year was – at least in part – caused by a lack of attention to the details of the position.

“College, high school, pop warner league, I was always more talented than everyone or just had more will to win, I guess, and I got away with a lot of things,” Treadwell said. “Here, guys are just as talented and want to win just as bad as you. I just have taken the time to really focus on my technique. My talent is showing with the technique now, so I’m on the uprise.”

When the former Ole Miss star saw the Vikings’ top receivers open often last season, he noticed differences between his game and theirs in key areas. He was trying to sing by ear while they had the sheet music.

“When it time to win at certain points in my route, I didn’t have the formula,” Treadwell said. “Watching [Stefon] Diggs and [Adam] Thielen, they were very technically sound and that’s why they were able to beat guys consistently and they know how to win.”

The Treadwell Redemption Trail deserves skepticism because there have only been a handful of first-round pick receivers in NFL history to bounce back from a disasterous rookie year.

But if you polled 100 NFL draft busts, 99 would say that it wasn’t their fault. One thing Treadwell has going for him is that he isn’t playing that chord.

“I spent a lot of time over the offseason learning how to be a true receiver instead of relying on God given talent and ability,” Treadwell said.

Unfortunately, the 22-year-old receiver hasn’t had many chances to display his new-found technique. He suffered a hamstring injury on July 31 and has only just started to return to offense vs. defense reps in practice.

“There were a lot of things that I liked and that I improved on [before getting hurt],” Treadwell said. “I think I showed the coaches what I can do to play my role in this offense. It was good. Unfortunately I went down right before the pads [came on], so I’m trying to show it in pads now and build trust and confidence with the quarterbacks, most importantly.”

From the head coach to the quarterback to the GM to the press box operator, the Vikings have been in lockstep supporting Treadwell and promoting his offseason growth. Those words rung somewhat hallow when the Viking signed veteran receiver Michael Floyd, but the coaching staff has given Treadwell first-team reps the entire time he’s been healthy.

Whether the ex-Rebel can take advantage of the opportunity won’t just depend on his route running technique, but his ability to grasp the Vikings’ offense. It’s hard to say exactly what Pat Shurmur’s offense will entail because he took over Norv Turner’s spot last season, but NFL offenses have two essential elements: Being in the right place at the right time and properly reading the defense.

“Year 2 is always different than [Year] 1, I try to keep that in mind,” Treadwell said. “[I’m] more comfortable…understanding and overall knowledge of coverages and schemes.”

On any given play, a receiver needs to assess locations of safeties, leverages and depths of cornerbacks, whether linebackers are playing man or zone. In order to maximize his size and talent for goin’ up and gettin’ it, Treadwell will have to nail all of those things as well as route-running technique.

Shurmur might help him with that process the same way he got Cordarrelle Patterson back on the field after a year of exile. They aren’t similar players, but they have a similar problem. The Vikings’ offense worked around Patterson’s route-running issues by throwing him screens and short passes. Could they limit Treadwell’s route tree or reads to nudge him in the right direction?

Assuming he’s healthy, we’ll start to find these things out when the regular season begins. Treadwell needs to get into preseason and stand out in practice, but whether he’s a different player or not won’t be determined until Week 1 and beyond.

At least for now, he’s hitting the right notes.

The post Laquon Treadwell showing signs of maturity appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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