Monday, September 25, 2017

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Rumor Has it The Vikings Preferred Will Fuller Or Josh Doctson

Rumor Has it The Vikings Preferred Will Fuller Or Josh Doctson

The coverage of the National Football League has changed a lot, even in the eight years that I’ve been publishing my own thoughts on the Vikings, and some of those changes make things more engaging and some annoy the heck out of me.

One of the aspects that annoys me is the annual onslaught of hot takes, amateur body language experts, and unlicensed private investigators that suddenly materialize following an NFL Draft selection such as last night’s pick of wide receiver Laquon Treadwell with the 23rd overall pick.

Minnesota’s selection of Treadwell has left no shortage of writers, professional and otherwise, arriving to a foggy conclusion that he was not their top choice at the receiver position. The narrative feels very familiar because it echos conversations that took place after the Vikings were successful in drafting Teddy Bridgewater instead of Johnny Manziel two years ago.

Some have drawn this conclusion based on language used during Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer’s post-selection press conference last night. Some may have heard rumblings about how receivers coach George Stewart felt about another prospect. Others may simply consider Teddy Bridgewater’s and Treadwell’s skill sets to be a mismatch. Some may even just be speculating, feeling duped by pre-Draft smoke, or trying to make a prediction seem slightly more accurate. Perhaps it is even a combination of the above.

I don’t know if the Vikings had Treadwell as their top receiver. I don’t know if they didn’t. What I think I know, however, is that it doesn’t really matter.

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Scott Crichton
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

So now that the Minnesota Vikings have filled a need at wide receiver with Laquon Treadwell, what other prospects will catch their eye on day two of the NFL Draft? Heading into the draft’s second day, the Vikings currently hold the 23rd picks in both the second and third rounds.

Then again, anything can happen when Rick Spielman is your team’s general manager.

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thoughts from round one
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

1. Treadwell it is.

In the past few weeks, the majority of first round projections slowly came around to slotting Laquon Treadwell to the Vikings at pick 23, and that’s indeed what happened. From what I can tell, the fanbase was more or less split between Treadwell and TCU’s Josh Doctson, but the Vikes didn’t have to make that call—Doctson went one pick earlier to the Redskins.

The first round fell in a favorable way for Minnesota, with Treadwell, Myles Jack, Robert Nkemdiche, et al., all available at 23. Corey Coleman was the first receiver picked (15th to the Browns), and surprisingly, Will Fuller was the next (21 to the Texans). That left the Vikings guaranteed to have the chance to select either Doctson or Treadwell, which was a pretty ideal scenario.

2. The next Dez Bryant?

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Laquon Treadwell was one of the most dominant receivers in the country this past season after returning from a devastating broken fibula and dislocated ankle in 2014. The Ole Miss wide receiver will give Teddy Bridgewater a big, physical target on the outside. He is one of the most difficult receivers to jam because he has a powerful frame, violent arms and exceptionally quick feet. Treadwell may not be the fastest pass-catcher in this class, but he is a very smooth athlete with great body control and hang time allowing him to be effective on 50-50 balls.

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Treadwell's Size, Intangibles
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Predictable picks, surprising falls, and a slew of trades kicked off the opening hour of the 2016 NFL Draft. As expected, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were the first two players off the board. The Dallas Cowboys found their next franchise running back in Ezekiel Elliott. And the Chicago Bears traded up for the first time in 20 years.

But it was the Minnesota Vikings, late in the first round, who stuck to a familiar script and drafted Laquon Treadwell with the 23rd-overall selection. Treadwell fills an obvious need for a team desperate for more explosiveness and production at the wide receiver position. After taking the stage and shaking hands with Commissioner Goddell, Treadwell spoke to NFL Network’s Deion Sanders.

“I’m not upset, I’m honored,” he said after sliding to the bottom half of the first round. “The Vikings, I’m just proud to be part of the Vikings right now. It’s a journey, it’s part of the journey. You have to stay strong and keep fighting.”

And when asked to asess the roster and the Vikings’ current coaching staff, Treadwell voiced extreme optimism. “Sounds like a Super Bowl to me.”

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