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Vikings rookie Treadwell says he's finally healthy after 2014 injury

MANKATO, Minn.--Rookie receiver Laquon Treadwell practiced with the Vikings' second team during spring drills. He's not expecting to be with that group for long.

MANKATO, Minn.-Rookie receiver Laquon Treadwell practiced with the Vikings' second team during spring drills. He's not expecting to be with that group for long.

Treadwell, taken out of the University of Mississippi with the No. 23 pick in April's NFL draft, isn't lacking in confidence. Take a listen to what he hopes to accomplish as a rookie after players report Thursday to training camp in Mankato.

"My expectation for myself is to start,'' Treadwell said. "I don't hold myself to low standards at all by any means. So when I get to start, helping the team win, try to win Rookie of the Year. Pro Bowl. Super Bowl.''

Treadwell might be talking big, but spring drills weren't a breeze for him. He dropped a number of passes at the beginning, and it took some time to adjust to the speed of the game.

After practices, Treadwell sought to make up for the drops by getting in plenty of work with a Juggs machine. He said that when he gets a house to live in later this year, he's going to put such a machine in his backyard.

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"He's doing good, man,'' said Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. "He started a little slow, but this is a fast game. Being out there is way different than college. ... But I appreciated him coming and working each and every day, working and staying out and catching extra balls after practice.''

Treadwell doesn't deny he got off to a slow start. But he said he felt much more comfortable at the end of spring, which is why he has so much optimism heading into camp.

"The playbook was different, the speed was different, the routes were different, so it was me just locking in and giving it my all every day,'' Treadwell said. "But it should be hard. If it's not hard, you put yourself in a (hall of fame) gold jacket the first week. I embraced the challenge of getting better every day, and trying to see how much better I can be.''

Treadwell said he's most grateful for finally being 100 percent healthy. Treadwell suffered a gruesome season-ending injury in a Nov. 1, 2014 game against Auburn in which he broke his left tibia and dislocated his left ankle.

Treadwell said he never was fully healthy last season even though he caught 82 passes for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Rebels. Anything he might have said during the season to the contrary was just to stop questions from coming.

"I was definitely tentative,'' Treadwell said. "I wasn't 100 percent at all last season. I would just say (he was 100 percent) to get everyone off of me. I was like, 'I can't focus on what I need to focus on because everybody was asking me every day what I felt, what percentage I was.' I just said, 'I feel good, I'm 100 percent.' But then after I went home at night, I was like, 'I don't feel right.'

"I wasn't 100 percent in anything I did from the beginning of spring ball (in 2015) to pro day (at Mississippi on March 28). I was playing on one leg my whole junior season. Last year wasn't fun going out and being hurt and trying to play.''

At his pro day, Treadwell ran the 40-yard dash in a pedestrian 4.63 seconds, a primary reason he fell from being the top-rated wide receiver in the draft to the fourth selected. Treadwell didn't want to speculate on what time he would run now that he feels back to full strength.

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Treadwell looks back at his injury as a blessing in disguise because he says it made him work harder. While still in the hospital following surgery, he stopped taking pain medication because he wanted to use how he felt then for motivation.

"It felt like I had a fire in my foot,'' Treadwell said. "I would cry myself to sleep, get up and cry myself back to sleep. But I said, 'I'm not taking the pills any more because when I get back healthy I'm going to remember this pain that I felt.' I felt I would then never take the game for granted.''

Treadwell's mother, Tami Treadwell, agrees the injury was a blessing in disguise. She offers another reason for that.

"You got everybody around you telling you you're the greatest, that's how your head gets a little big, and I think maybe it did a little before,'' she said. "I think you get in that situation and everybody is telling you you're great, you're going to feel untouchable in a sense. But I always try to keep him humble.''

There are limits to that, though. Treadwell isn't being shy talking about what he expects to accomplish as a rookie.

Related Topics: FOOTBALLMINNESOTA VIKINGS
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