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Tracking Laquon Treadwell: Vikings Rookie Grabs 100s of Catches Each Day at Camp

MANKATO, Minn. —Laquon Treadwell is at it again.

It's 4:47 p.m. on Friday afternoon, and the Vikings have just wrapped up their seventh day of training camp at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Some players head to sign autographs for waiting fans while others stop for media scrums.

Others linger after practice to work on individual skills, but none will stay as late as Minnesota's rookie wide receiver.

"I don't even pay attention to it," said Treadwell, who finally walked off the field at 5:36 p.m. "I look up, and everybody is gone."

Treadwell has received plenty of praise for his work ethic during his first NFL training camp, something he said dates back to his high school days and in college at Ole Miss. spent all of Friday tracking Treadwell's receptions total between the morning walk-through session, a full-padded afternoon practice and almost an hour spent with a JUGS machine.

The first-round pick hauled in 307 balls, 277 of which came after practice by himself with the machine on a perfect August afternoon.

Treadwell also spent 15 minutes working on his footwork before he even hit the machine, which was operated by Vikings assistant equipment manager Adam Groene.

He then maneuvered through 11 different cone drills, tapping his feet on the grass in various motions before Groene inserted one piece of pigskin after another in the machine.

Treadwell's receptions tended to blur together at times as he repeatedly snagged one after another.

A Vikings PR staffer estimated Treadwell's total on the machine was around 90 while quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw out 140 as a guess.

Even the man himself was low with his projection of 125 catches from the JUGS machine.

"It happens so fast," Treadwell said. "I'm just trying to get better, and that's the biggest thing."

Vikings wide receivers coach George Stewart watched Treadwell's daily post-practice routine before heading inside. Stewart didn't have a guess on his total but said the hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

"All of our guys … you don't get a chance to catch as many (passes) in practice as you'd like to," Stewart said. "Laquon is a worker, and that's one thing that's impressed us about him. Even when he was at Ole Miss, our scouts would come back and tell us about his work ethic.

"We want guys that are workers," he added. "Coach Zimmer, along with (Vikings General Manager) Rick Spielman, they've identified those guys that give us a chance to be successful."

Stewart knows a thing or two about wide receivers with a deep work ethic. The longtime coach was Jerry Rice's position coach in San Francisco for five seasons from 1996-2000.

Stewart said he doesn't know anybody who worked harder than Rice, a member of the 2010 Hall of Fame class who compiled 14 seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards and nine seasons with double-digit touchdown receptions.

If anything, Stewart said, he wants Treadwell to keep up his worth ethic while keeping the grind of the NFL in mind.

"I've talked to Laquon about (Rice)," Stewart said. "I almost have to pull him back just a little bit because he may be overworking himself.

"We've still got 16 games and four preseason games, that's a long season for a rookie," he added. "I'm trying to hold those reins in a little bit, but he wants to run."

Treadwell also wants to learn, as evident by the constant chatter with coaches during practice.

If the Illinois native isn't involved in a team drill, he's almost always standing near Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner, Stewart, assistant wide receivers coach Drew Petzing or even Zimmer.

"He's like a sponge," Stewart said. "He's a very prideful young man, and he wants to be right.

"He's not one of those first-round players that knows (everything)," he added. "He's a first-round rookie who's very humble and wants to fit in, but at the same time he wants to expand his skill set."

Added Treadwell: "The more I know, the faster I can play and the more comfortable I can play."

Treadwell, of course, isn't perfect. While he caught the 277 passes from the JUGS machine, 11 hit the ground, most of which Treadwell had tried to corral one-handed.

Treadwell was surprised by his catch ratio of 96.2 percent but said he wants to be perfect.

"I shouldn't have dropped any," Treadwell said with a shake of his head as he stood outside the locker room. "I didn't know it was that many (catches), so that's a good ratio, but my goal is to always never drop any.

"I just took my eyes of them and dropped it," he added. "Just trying to create good habits."

Treadwell, the fourth wide receiver selected in April's draft, put together a stellar career at Ole Miss.

He grabbed 202 receptions for 2,393 yards and 21 touchdowns in 35 games at Ole Miss, but his college career was marred by a gruesome leg injury during his sophomore season in 2014.

He is the seventh wide receiver ever drafted by the Vikings in a first round.

Although Treadwell recently said he's finally feeling 100 percent, he also said he's his toughest critic and considers himself behind the expectations he set for himself coming into camp.

Stewart dismissed that notion, saying the Vikings youngest player has held his own against a stout defense that helped lead Minnesota to an 11-5 record and the NFC North title last season.

"He knows where he is, and I can only guesstimate," Stewart said. "But I would say he's about right.

"It's a very difficult offense, it's complicated," he added, recalling that second-year wide out Stefon Diggs was inactive the first three games of last season. "But hopefully Laquon will have an opportunity to be on that (game-day active) roster when we go to Tennessee (for the season opener). I think he will, but the curve is there."

As he wrapped up another elongated day of work, Treadwell said the main element he wants to focus on during the remainder of training camp and the preseason is getting open more consistently.

But don't mistake his self-criticism for lack of enjoyment. Treadwell also noted he's having the time of his life in his first season in Purple.

"I'm definitely having fun," Treadwell said. "I'm having fun or else I wouldn't be doing this.

"Some days, you just know it's going to be a long one," he added. "But those are the days you get better."

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