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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings’ decisions at receiver center on Treadwell’s growth

By Matthew Coller

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Minnesota Vikings are moving on from veteran wide receiver Kendall Wright, who signed in the offseason after spending last year with the Chicago Bears. That means the Vikings have just three wide receivers with previous NFL catches. Two of them are stars — Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs — the other, Laquon Treadwell, showed enough progress this offseason for the team to feel confident releasing Wright.

The #Vikings are expected to release WR Kendall Wright, source said. They signed him in March as an option in the slot, but Laquon Treadwell’s strong preseason allowed Adam Thielen to move inside more. Odd man out.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 1, 2018

Treadwell had just 20 catches for 200 yards last season — which was a step up from his rookie year, but quarterbacks Case Keenum and Sam Bradford registered just a 52.6 quarterback rating when throwing in his direction.

But he has looked like a different player in training camp working with quarterback Kirk Cousins. During a sideline interview on the Vikings’ broadcast during their preseason win over the Tennessee Titans, Treadwell alluded to finding better chemistry with Cousins.

“He’s a vocal leader, he’s very smart. His understanding of the game is really [second] to none,” Treadwell said. “He breaks down the game in a different way in the film room, and he’s vocal in the meetings also. That helps us a lot as receivers to see how the quarterback wants it to be. That’s something we haven’t had in past years here, but he came in and made sure he let us know that’s who he is, and that’s who he’s been since he’s been here.”

Cousins was very complimentary of Treadwell when he was asked about his growth in early August.

“You just see the numbers or the lack of production in the first couple of seasons, but I get out here and see a guy that comes to work every day, knows the play, knows the system, has a good sense of the game, has made aggressive tough catches, and has run a variety of routes and really shown up on all of them and schematically he is getting the football a lot,” Cousins said.

Treadwell was drafted in the first round in 2016 on the basis of his strength and ability to win 50-50 balls thrown his way. The former Ole Miss star hasn’t shown that early in his career, but he also needed significant development when it came to the details of route running.

At the NFL Combine, head coach Mike Zimmer indicated that Treadwell needed to focus on things that mattered most to success. At just 23 years old, it appears the Vikings believe he has done that and taken that next step.

However, that doesn’t mean Treadwell is set to have a major breakout season. Last year he played the majority of snaps over Jarius Wright and Michael Floyd, but was rarely targeted. He was a better fit as an outside receiver, allowing Thielen and Diggs to mix into the slot.

The Vikings will also mix personnel packages regularly, putting in No. 2 tight end David Morgan and well-liked fullback CJ Ham regularly.

Other receivers like Stacy Coley, a high-ceiling seventh-rounder from 2017, and former CFL star Brandon Zylstra are also reportedly making the team. They could also find regular roles, taking some snaps away from Treadwell.

Overall it appears Wright simply wasn’t a fit for the Vikings because he was one-dimensional as a slot receiver and did not play special teams.

The post Vikings’ decisions at receiver center on Treadwell’s growth appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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