Laquon Treadwell to revive Turner's 'Bang 8' route?


The Minnesota Vikings used this year's draft to furnish third-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with a big, physical target in Laquon Treadwell.

The first-round selection is one of 11 wideouts on Minnesota's roster heading into training camp, but Treadwell has already made an impression on his coaches.

"He's developed himself into a good player so far," receivers aide George Stewart told the team's official website. "He's a good learner, and we'll bring him along slowly."

Said Stewart: "He's going to be a good player for us as he goes forward. The biggest thing about him that coach (Mike Zimmer) has always talked about is his toughness and his ability to make difficult catches, and he's done those things since he's been here."

Stewart's praise was matched earlier in the offseason by Bridgewater, who claimed Treadwell would "be big" for Minnesota's Norv Turner-led offense.

Turner, of course, was Michael Irvin's offensive coordinator during their run with the Super Bowl-winning Cowboys back in the 1990s. At 6-foot-2 and 221 pounds, Treadwell shares similar traits to Irvin, leading Matt Vensel of The Star Tribune to note that Turner might again lean heavily on the skinny post routes that helped vault Irvin into the Hall of Fame.

Turner's current-day version of the Air Coryell offense now has the ideal pass-catcher in Treadwell to target on those skinny posts -- which Turner and Irvin came to call the "Bang 8."

"Everyone thinks (of the offense as) the ball being thrown 40 or 50 yards," Turner said. "The biggest plays, and the plays that guys who played in this system identify with, are the 18- to 22-yard in routes, skinny posts, seam routes."

The onus will fall on Bridgewater to make those throws after the Vikings, per Pro Football Focus, attempted just 22 post routes over the past two seasons. According to the metrics site, only one out of 20 throws league-wide targeted a receiver running a post in 2015. Coach Bruce Arians and his high-flying Cardinals were one of the few teams who employed it on a regular basis.

"Arizona has success with it with their big receivers," Turner said. "They do a great job with formations to get the route run. It's still a good play."

Irvin, now an analyst for NFL Network, believes Treadwell can make those plays happen for the Vikings and went out of his way to call the rookie "more physically gifted than I was" and a "real competitor," saying: "Norv will take that and turn it into something great."