Laquon Treadwell wasn’t the first wide receiver selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. He wasn’t the second receiver drafted, and he wasn’t even the third pass catcher off the board. No, that was Josh Doctson, who went one spot ahead of the Minnesota Vikings to the Washington Redskins.
The Vikings may not have gotten their guy, but Laquon Treadwell is definitely happy to be in Minnesota. While speaking with the media in a late-night conference call yesterday, he expressed gratitude for falling “to the right spot.”[quote_box_center]”I’m just a kid coming up and chasing dreams. You always want to go as high as possible, so I was surprised, I just think I fell to the right spot. It’s just an amazing experience, honestly. I was shocked, I just thanked I went to the right program and organization. It’s just a lot for me right now.”[/quote_box_center]
By now, Vikings fans know what Treadwell can bring to Minnesota’s offense. He’s a big-bodied receiver with the run-blocking ability and catch radius that Rick Spielman desperately coveted following the Vikings’ Wild Card loss to the Seahawks last year. But questions remain about Treadwell’s speed, which was in fact hampered by his recovery from the gruesome 2014 leg injuries.
“I was more mentally challenged than physically,” Treadwell recalled, pointing to his slow start at the beginning of 2015. “I was stronger, I was quicker, but I couldn’t allow myself to play the way I wanted because I didn’t get hit in the spring of the last season so my first contact was in the game.”
Treadwell said that football is “mostly mental” and remembers the entire season as an “overall battle.” That battle ended in Week 5, when Treadwell said he “took the leap” and trusted himself to get hit and “take those licks” that come with being a bigger receiver. And fortunately for the Vikings, the former Ole Miss Rebel confirmed that he isn’t receiving any further treatment for his fractured fibula and dislocated ankle.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer lauded Treadwell’s commitment to getting healthy as part of the reason the team drafted him with the 23rd-overall selection. At only 20 years old, Treadwell believes the sky is the limit for him as he enters his rookie season in the NFL. “I can only get more comfortable with myself and the things I can do,” he said. “I just continue to think, I’m just 20, what can I look like in the next three years or four years if I keep working hard?”.
For Minnesota, the hope is that Treadwell can become the next great receiver in the NFL; a true outside threat for Teddy Bridgewater and a difference-maker at any spot on the field. Like Bridgewater before him, Treadwell experienced a surprising draft-day fall, but he may have landed in the perfect situation with the Vikings.
[quote_center]”I’m just honored to be a part of the Minnesota organization”[/quote_center]
Treadwell is scheduled to speak to the media at Winter Park at 3:00 pm CST this afternoon. We will have exclusive quotes and coverage LIVE from the press conference. Follow along on Twitter at @austincbelisle and @vikingterritory!