EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —When Laquon Treadwell arrived in the NFL a little more than 18 months ago, he joined a locker room filled with fully grown men.
The former first-round pick immediately hit the weight room, looking to bulk up and get stronger so he could hang in the pros.
Now in his second season, the Vikings wide receiver has changed his approach.
"When I first game in, (I saw) all these giants and super freaks on the team," Treadwell said. "I was like, 'Man, I've got to work.' It's the complete opposite though.
"Everybody here does a great job of taking care of their bodies, and that's what I learned," Treadwell said. "The difference from college to now, the recovery is more than the work. That's the biggest thing."
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said this offseason that Treadwell "works too hard," meaning he'd run extra routes and put himself through extended workouts long after teammates had gone home.
While the dedication was admirable, Zimmer said that he spoke with the wide receiver about backing off the intensity.
Zimmer noted Thursday that Treadwell has done just that over the past month or so.
"I think he's understanding now about the length of the season and what you have to do to take care of your body," Zimmer said.
Treadwell said he took advice from numerous people to heart. Instead of putting himself through physical workouts, he now works on sharpening his mental approach through film sessions.
"I feel like my coaches know best. They always tell you what's right and the truth," Treadwell said. "When they told me that, I took it for what it was and I stopped, and I feel better.
"I'm playing better and moving better and in a better mood coming to work. I took it for what it was, and it's helped me a lot," Treadwell said. "I put more time, instead of working out, into the film, and it's been helping me."
While Treadwell's approach is now the opposite of what he thought it took to succeed in the NFL, he's glad he was able to flip the switch on his approach.
"I had to learn that. I'd rather learn now than later on in my career and [it be] too late," Treadwell said. "A lot of younger guys, we don't really tend to take care of our bodies because we feel like we can just go and go and go. I'm glad I learned it early. Last year was a learning experience for me."
Treadwell had just one catch for 15 yards all of last season. He has 12 receptions for 142 yards in his second pro season, but said there is room for improvement over the second half of the season.
"I know I can do a lot more, and I pride myself on doing a lot more … blocking more and just doing things to help the team win," Treadwell said. "I know I can do better, a lot better, and I'm looking forward to the second half."
An update on (and a comparison for) Griffen
Everson Griffen did not practice Thursday, the second straight day the Vikings defensive end missed the session.
But Zimmer response was, "Yes," when asked if he expects the Vikings sacks leader to play Sunday against Washington.
Griffen ranks third in the NFL with 10 sacks and has at least one sack in all eight games this season, but Zimmer said the sacks streak is of little importance to the former fourth-round pick.
"No, he just loves to play the game," Zimmer said. "(Wednesday) he was mad he couldn't practice. He was grouchy all day."
Zimmer said the Vikings offense will see a similar player to Griffen on Sunday in Washington defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, who has 6.0 sacks this season.
"Honestly, he's a lot like Everson," Zimmer said. "He gives you a full day's work, he's got a lot of moves, is never going to take a play off.
"He's been good for a long time," Zimmer said. "His effort level is outstanding."
Zimmer was spot-on with his assessment. Since the start of the 2014 season, Griffen ranks third in the NFL with 40.5 sacks, while Kerrigan is fourth with 40.
'Like the anti-me'
Zimmer drew a round of laughs on Thursday during his informal session with beat writers during a sequence of questioning about Teddy Bridgewater.
The quarterback smiled plenty earlier in the day when he spoke with media members about his return from a severe knee injury to the 53-man roster. Zimmer said Bridgewater will dress for Sunday's game, and Case Keenum will continue starting.
Zimmer was asked about Bridgewater's personality being part of the positive response from teammates and said, "Everybody just likes to be around him.
"He's positive … he's like the anti-me," Zimmer said. "Smiling all the time. He's always joking around with the guys. He just has a great personality."
View images from the Vikings practice on Thursday, November 9th.
For the Vikings: Mike Remmers (concussion), Everson Griffen (foot) and Jeremiah Sirles (knee) did not participate.
Stephen Weatherly (knee), Anthony Harris (hamstring) and Stefon Diggs (tooth) were limited. Danny Isidora (ankle), Michael Floyd (hamstring), Treadwell (toe), Nick Easton (calf) and Bridgewater (knee) were full participants.
For the Redskins: Matt Ioannidis (hand), Arthur Jones (shoulder), Trent Williams (knee), Niles Paul (concussion) and Zach Brown (knee) did not participate.
Jamison Crowder (hamstring), Shawn Lauvao (stinger), Spencer Long (knee), Morgan Moses (ankle), Montae Nicholson (shoulder), Ty Nsekhe (core muscle), Brian Quick (concussion), Jordan Reed (hamstring) and Brandon Scherff (knee) were limited. Vernon Davis (hand), Bashaud Breeland (shoulder) and Fabian Moreau (ankle) were full participants.