MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings spent the spring spelling out the stakes for 2016 first-rounder Laquon Treadwell heading into his second season, whether by calling this a "critical" offseason for the wide receiver (as offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur did in February) or signing a veteran (like Michael Floyd) who could cut into Treadwell's playing time in Year 2.
By the sound of things on Wednesday, it seemed as though Treadwell has taken the Vikings' hints.
He was in the team's top three-receiver sets during the Vikings' first open OTA on Wednesday, working with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. And after practice, Shurmur sounded impressed with what he's seen from Treadwell since the Vikings welcomed players back into their building last month.
"He’s had a great, in my opinion, five-and-a-half weeks," Shurmur said. "He came back and he was really on point with what he’s supposed to be doing mentally. He’s been out here competing and doing a nice job running routes and catching the ball. Understanding where he fits in the running game and who to block. To this point, we’ve been really pleased with his progress based on a year ago."
It should be noted that Floyd has spent just two days with the team, working to get up to speed in the Vikings' offense while Treadwell has continued to work in the scheme he played in last year. Floyd could get more opportunities with the first-team offense through the rest of the offseason, and into training camp and the preseason, if he shows he can add a downfield threat to the passing game. That's the commodity the Vikings might need most in their wide receiver group, and it's probably not one Treadwell will provide. But given the possibility Floyd could begin the year under NFL discipline, Treadwell will have chances to assert himself.
Given how the team was using him during its first open OTA on Wednesday, and what Shurmur had to say about him, Treadwell is making a strong early impression while trying to work his way back from the fringes of the Vikings' offense.