Top pick Laquon Treadwell was technically active in Sunday’s win over the Titans. He did not, however, actually play in his official NFL debut.
Charles Johnson, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen got most of the snaps at wide receiver. Cordarrelle Patterson made a few cameos, too.
Johnson, the man ahead of Treadwell at split end, had only one catch for five yards and was a non-factor, perhaps due to the quad injury that was listed on the injury report. But still no Treadwell in a game where the Vikings couldn’t convert trips into Titans territory into touchdowns.
Coach Mike Zimmer explained yesterday why Treadwell did not play.
“He still has work to do. We still have to keep getting him going,” Zimmer said. “As you’ve seen, Diggs was inactive for [the first] three weeks last year. We’re trying to do things right … and get [Treadwell] ready to go when the time is correct. I think all these young guys — not just him but all these guys — need to learn about professional football a little bit. It’s not like you just come in and you’re the best player on the field right now.”
Treadwell, the 23rd overall pick in the draft, had a solid training camp but an underwhelming preseason, with only six catches for 61 yards. That was not enough to overtake Johnson, who caught a long TD pass from Teddy Bridgewater in the preseason opener, on the depth chart by Week 1.
The Vikings weren’t going to just hand the job to Treadwell. They did not do that a year ago with first-round cornerback Trae Waynes.
Zimmer said that when it comes to the development of young players, even early-round picks, they can show flashes of understanding and appear to be ready to play, only to look like a rookie again the next day.
“You think you know [when they turn the corner], but then sometimes they go back around the other corner,” Zimmer said. “You just keep plugging away, keep trying to get them better. Keep staying on them, give them extra meeting time. Make sure they’re doing the things right, just go from there.”