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Laquon Treadwell has Sights Set on Bouncing Back in 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Laquon Treadwell's rookie season didn't go as planned for the 2016 first-round pick.

The Vikings wide receiver caught one pass for 15 yards and was on the field for 80 offensive snaps all season.

But Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday that he still has plenty of faith that the No. 23 overall pick from April's draft can bounce back next season.

"I do think Treadwell is going to be a good player. I know that he had a rough season," Zimmer said. "I see too many good qualities from him to believe that he's not going to be a good player.

"He's tough. He works his rear end off. He's good in and out of cuts, catches the ball good," Zimmer added. "I know he's disappointed in the way things went."

Treadwell said as much Monday when the Vikings cleaned out their lockers after Sunday's 38-10 win over the Bears, a game Treadwell was inactive for with an ankle injury.

But the 22-year-old also said his frustrating season was a learning experience.

"I'm mentally strong. There's a lot of positives," Treadwell said. "I made it through my first year and I'll be able to come back next year and prove myself again.

"I've built a lot of great relationships on this team, and I've seen some great leaders: Chad Greenway and Harry (Harrison Smith), and Anthony Barr," Treadwell added. "All of those guys go about their business the right way, so it's a lot to take in everything. I'm excited for next year."

Treadwell put in plenty of work during training camp, grabbing more than 275 passes from a JUGS machine one August afternoon.

But Treadwell did not see the field in Minnesota's season-opening win at Tennessee, played two offensive snaps in Week 2 against Green Bay, was inactive against Carolina and saw the field for two more snaps on offense against the Giants.

Zimmer said Treadwell's rough opening act might have been hampered by nagging ailments.

"I think that when he came in here he was a little bit… His feet were bothering him, so that started him off slow a little bit," Zimmer said. "It wasn't so much about learning the offense. I think it was just he didn't really feel totally healthy coming in. I think that set him back."

Treadwell's snap count increased, getting a combined 51 offensive plays in two games against the Lions. His lone catch came in Week 9's home loss to Detroit.

But just when Treadwell was starting to see the field on a more regular basis, he was injured on a special teams play in Jacksonville and missed the final three games of the season.

Treadwell said Monday that he felt he was starting to turn a corner before the injury.

"Yeah, I believe that. I was feeling more comfortable, and they were ready to put me out there (on offense)," Treadwell said. "I went down on special teams, so that's a tough break for me. I've got to get healthy and come back ready."

Zimmer said Treadwell's season somewhat resembled that of the Vikings 2015 first-round pick. Cornerback Trae Waynes led Minnesota in special teams tackles and sparingly on defense as a rookie, only to come back and nab three interceptions this season, the second-most on the team.

"You know, we can go back and look at Trae Waynes didn't play much his rookie year," Zimmer said. "I can't remember who else but these things happen to some of these rookies.

View images from 'move out day' as players said their goodbyes and cleared out their lockers at Winter Park.

"I think you are always going to give young guys the benefit of the doubt as you continue to move forward," Zimmer added.

Treadwell said his main focus during the season was to not get down on himself. But now as he heads toward his first NFL offseason, Treadwell said he's turned his attention to having a strong impact on the franchise in 2017.

"(I'm going to) work on all my game … every part of it," Treadwell said. "There's always ways to improve and room to get better, so I'll come back ready next year, hungry to make my plays.

"I kind of know what to expect now," he later added.

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