Though he was on the field for 36 of the Vikings’ 65 offensive snaps on Monday night, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell still was only targeted with one pass, catching a second-down throw from Sam Bradford for seven yards and a first down in the fourth quarter.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said on Thursday that Treadwell continued to show the improvement the Vikings saw from him in the offseason, but Shurmur also stressed the importance of the 2016 first-round pick to the Vikings’ overall success.
“I thought Laquon played really well,” Shurmur said. “He played an extended amount of snaps, he blocked really well. Unfortunately, the ball only went his way once, and he made his catch. That’s what you need to do. But we’ve said this kind of throughout the offseason and then through training camp, except for that little time where he was injured: He’s made huge progress. In order for us to be a really good offense, he’s got to play well, and we felt like he had a good game.”
Michael Floyd will return from his suspension in three weeks, and it seems as though he’ll play a sizable role in the Vikings’ offense when he gets back. The next three weeks, then, could be pivotal for Treadwell as he tries to make the case he should retain a good share of playing time.
He started the game on Monday night in the Vikings’ three-receiver set, and got far more playing time than Jarius Wright (15) snaps or Stacy Coley (two). But if Floyd does what he showed during an impressive preseason, he could cut into Treadwell’s time as part of the Vikings’ three-receiver package.
The fact the team used some four-receiver sets on Monday night, after rarely lining up with four wideouts during Norv Turner’s time designing the playbook, could create occasions where both Treadwell and Floyd are on the field. The next three weeks, though, can help the second-year receiver’s bid to be on the field as frequently in October and November as he was on Monday night.