I know. I almost can’t believe I wrote that headline. But this is the final day of May, when anything is possible in the NFL. So here goes my best pitch for why Laquon Treadwell could be an important part of the Vikings’ offense in 2018:
*The third-year receiver actually made some incremental progress last season, catching 20 passes and getting into all 16 games. It was nearly impossible not to improve on an injury-filled rookie year in which he only caught one pass, but Treadwell did improve.
*At 6-2, 215, Treadwell has good size. When he was drafted in 2016, the talk was that he could be a red zone target. In two seasons, he has zero touchdown catches and hasn’t really been used in that manner. But that could change under new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who values tall receivers and back of the end zone throws when operating in the red zone.
*The Vikings clearly haven’t given up on Treadwell, as he was working with the first team offense during OTAs this week. Again, this is just May — a time to get looks and parse options. But if that continues into minicamp and training camp, it could be an indication that the Vikings think they have a role for Treadwell.
*If Treadwell is going to shine for the Vikings, it’s basically now or never. He’s on the third year of his rookie deal, and he should be motivated. If it doesn’t happen this year, the “bust” label will start to grow.
*Kirk Cousins has a history of spreading the ball around. Eight different Washington players caught at least 20 passes last season, and in 2016 Washington had three wide receivers who caught at least 56 passes.
We talked about a lot of these things on this week’s Access Vikings podcast. You can listen and download here.