When it comes to chances, Minnesota Vikings’ wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is getting close to his last one, if he isn’t there already. After a disastrous rookie season that saw him only catch one pass, the Vikings’ 2016 first-round pick pulled in 20 receptions in 2017, and had just six receptions in the team’s final six games. However, if this quote from this past week’s Mini Camp is any indication, perhaps this is the year that Treadwell is finally going to get into the offense in a big way.
In this video from the Vikings’ official website, Treadwell is asked about how he’s developing chemistry with new quarterback Kirk Cousins, and says the following:
“The way the ball comes out of his hand is just different. He’s actually targeting me, so that’s fun, too.”
The Vikings’ primary quarterbacks in Treadwell’s first two years with the Vikings were Teddy Bridgewater (2016) and Sam Bradford (2017). As we know, both of those guys wound up getting replaced as the primary starter after camps were over and done with. . .in Bridgewater’s case, it was before the start of the regular season, while Bradford lost the starting job due to injury in Week 2 and, save for one ill-advised start in Chicago, never got it back from Case Keenum.
To be honest, I’m not entire sure what sort of chemistry Treadwell had with Bridgewater before his injury, or what sort of chemistry he had developed with Bradford after actually getting an opportunity to go through camp with him. But, from the sounds of it, either he wasn’t getting targeted enough in those camps or he just wasn’t getting targeted enough in the past two seasons.
Now, as Adam Patrick over at The Viking Age points out, Cousins has a knack for making good use out of his #3 wide receiver. While the Vikings’ #3 receiver has averaged 52 targets a season over the past two seasons. In Washington, with Cousins pulling the trigger, the Redskins’ #3 receiver over the past two seasons has averaged 83 targets per year. I’m not sure how well that’s going to translate to the Vikings’ offense, and Treadwell specifically.
For starters, the Vikings have no shortage of targets for Cousins to choose from already. We know how great Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are, we know that Kyle Rudolph is an above-average tight end, and the return of Dalvin Cook to the backfield is going to take targets away from receivers as well. In addition, the Vikings brought in veteran Kendall Wright to be a potential #3 receiver as well. While Diggs, Thielen, and Wright all have the ability to play out of the slot, Treadwell appears to be almost exclusively an outside receiver, which means that he could wind up losing targets to all of those guys for that reason as well.
I don’t know if the increased number of targets that Treadwell is apparently getting in Mini Camp is going to translate into the regular season, or even to the pre-season, but at least he seems to be a bit happier with how things are going.