MANKATO, Minn. — At first, Laquon Treadwell wasn't about to share the piece of motivation Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer recently gave him.
Once Treadwell opened up, however, the rookie wide receiver revealed that Zimmer's tough love approach is prepping him for what both hope will be a successful career.
"He says he's going to make me hate him, if that says anything," a smiling Treadwell said Friday after Minnesota's first training camp practice. "He said I'm going to hate him at the end of the day but love him at the end of my career.
"Hey, that's a good thing, so I just have to keep working up to his standards," he added.
The Vikings first-round pick mixed in with both the first and second-team offenses at Friday's practice, which was held in helmets and shorts.
The 21-year-old said he likes where his focus is at as he begins his first NFL training camp partially because of Zimmer's advice.
"He's told me a lot of good things to keep me motivated and keep me positive, and that's what your coach is supposed to do," Treadwell said. "I appreciate him for that, and my teammates have done the same. We just all come together and compete."
The 23rd overall pick in April's draft said his game is still a work in progress. Treadwell ran smooth routes in the afternoon practice and had some fun battles against cornerback Xavier Rhodes and others.
Treadwell said he's looking forward to measuring his personal progress as camp goes on.
"Just watching film and seeing what I'm writing down, just trying to clean up that," Treadwell said. "You can feel it, of course. As a receiver you can feel it because it's more timing and foot placement.
"I've gotten better since OTAs and I'll continue to do that," he added.
Treadwell stayed long after practice on Friday, catching passes from a machine and signing hundreds of autographs until he was the last one to leave the field.
Treadwell said he's put in the extra effort and accommodated fans since he was in high school, adding that he's appreciated all the support he's received thus far in Mankato.
"That's always been my routine since college and high school," Treadwell said. "Just always a hard worker, always staying out there and putting in extra work, it always seemed to pay off and lead to something better."
Fellow wide receiver Jarius Wright said he's been most impressed with Treadwell's demeanor and poise since being drafted.
"It might sound crazy, it's not even what he does on the field," Wright said. "It's more of the way he carries himself and the way he listens.
"You don't always find rookies like that that come in ready to listen and ready to take advice the way he is, so kudos to him," he added.
Despite being a first-round pick, Treadwell said he isn't focused on the spotlight that's seemingly surrounding him at camp. Instead, he's out to prove to his teammates that he's worthy of a spot on the team.
"Just have fun and make plays and don't be afraid to mess up," Treadwell said. "I've been playing hard and playing fast and bringing the mentality that I'm going to take into the season."
Play of the day
Safety Antone Exum Jr. pulled in an acrobatic interception along the right sideline on Friday.
Exum battled with Wright in close coverage before he deflected a pass from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater off his arm and into his hands.
The pick drew a loud applause from the Vikings faithful for Exum, who made two starts last season.
"What are we doing, having a coffee break?" — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer to Minnesota's defensive line during a pass rush drill. Engaged in practice right from the start, Zimmer never misses an opportunity to rib a position group, even one that's considered among the strongest on the team.