The Minnesota Vikings firmly believe that Teddy Bridgewater can develop into a bona fide franchise quarterback, which is why they got him some help in the first-round of the NFL Draft last night. With the 23rd overall pick, Minnesota grabbed Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.
At 6-foot-2 and 221 pounds, Treadwell is one of the most physical receivers in the draft, with Vikings coach Mike Zimmer calling him the best blocking wide receiver that he's ever seen. That's probably music to Adrian Peterson's ears as the veteran running back took to Twitter on Thursday to welcome Treadwell to the team.
Great pick Viking nation! Laquon Treadwell set your mind on winning a Championship son!
— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) April 29, 2016
The Vikings' need for a talented pass-catcher was readily apparent after the team ranked just 31st in passing offense last year. Peterson, 31, was relied on far too often, receiving 300-plus carries for the fourth time in his career. While he led the NFL in rushing with 1,485 yards, Minnesota wants to lighten his workload going forward and balance out the offense.
After an 11-5 season last year, the Vikings hoped to become more well-rounded in 2016, with their offense contributing more to victories. The pick of Treadwell is a great step in that direction, as he has been compared to Michael Irvin during the pre-draft process. Zimmer wouldn't go that far, but he did say that many of the routes that Treadwell has mastered are similar to those that Norv Turner's offense ran for Irvin in Dallas.
"A lot of the routes we run are a lot of the routes Laquon runs the best," Zimmer said. "I can probably see the resemblance, but it's a long way away from where [Irvin] was...This guy's a big physical guy that little guys are going to have a hard time defending."
The hope is that opposing defenses will now have to respect Minnesota's passing game while fearing Peterson in the backfield.
Treadwell hauled in 82 passes last year for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 35 career games in college, Treadwell averaged 5.7 receptions, 68 yards and .6 touchdowns per game.