Laquon Treadwell was back on the practice field Tuesday, doing limited work after returning from a hamstring injury that had kept him out since July 31. And as Treadwell resumed his bid for the Vikings’ third receiver spot, the 2016 first-round pick offered some insight on a rookie season that fell far short of expectations.
Treadwell, who caught just one pass and was targeted only three times as a rookie, said last year was a result of relying too much on his talent, rather than refining his technique enough to beat defensive backs who were now as skilled and as competitive as he was.
“College, high school, Pop Warner league, I was always more talented or just had more will to win, I guess. I got away with a lot of things,” Treadwell said. “I got here, and God just was telling me, ‘They want to win just as bad as you.’ I just took the time to really focus on my technique. The talent is showing with the technique now.”
The realization, Treadwell said, didn’t come through one moment or one conversation. Rather, as he struggled to get past defenders, he learned something was missing.
“I was good enough,” he said. “It’s just, when it was time to win at certain points in my route, I didn’t have the formula. Watching [Stefon] Diggs and watching [Adam] Thielen, they were very technical. That’s why they were able to beat guys consistently. I didn’t know how to win. That was my biggest thing: I knew I could win. I just didn’t know how. I spent a lot of time learning how to play — be a true receiver, instead of just relying on God-given talent and ability.”
Gedeon still in mix
Rookie linebacker Ben Gedeon continues to get looks with the first-team defense. Gedeon lined up next to Eric Kendricks at weak-side linebacker during a handful of 11-on-11 drills Tuesday.
The fourth-round pick out of Michigan has had an active summer between playing both middle and outside linebacker. Gedeon was second among all defenders against the Bills last week with five combined tackles in 32 snaps on defense.
Four starters either didn’t practice or weren’t seen Tuesday. Cornerback Trae Waynes, guard Alex Boone and safety Andrew Sendejo were sidelined by injuries. Defensive end Everson Griffen was not spotted during the two-hour session.
Boone had a wrap on his left knee and jogged into the locker room after warmups. Waynes (shoulder) and Sendejo (undisclosed) watched practice. Linebacker Kentrell Brothers (hamstring) suited up but worked with an athletic trainer on the side.
Left tackle Riley Reiff (back), running back Latavius Murray (ankle) and Treadwell (hamstring) took part in 11-on-11 drills. All three still appeared limited.