The Minnesota Vikings have big fish to fry at the moment, like figuring out what they want to do with Adrian Peterson, fixing their patchwork offensive line and determining what future, if any, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has with the club.
But on the micro level, they do have to be concerned with the first-year performance -- or lack thereof -- from 2016 first-round pick Laquon Treadwell. The wide receiver was believed to be one of the best in his class, but saw the field in just nine games. He was targeted three times and caught one pass.
"Laquon came in, and he had some durability issues through OTAs, and had some things on and off during camp," general manager Rick Spielman told reporters on Thursday, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I know that he is maybe the hardest-working kid I've ever seen. He is so determined to be a good player, and he has the skill set to do it. But we were never able to get him on track. He is going to be a good player with us. I do believe that in my heart."
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur also chimed in recently, calling this offseason "critical" for the 21-year-old.
While their checklist is long, the Vikings need to make sure they don't lose Treadwell in the way they lost former first-round wideout Cordarrelle Patterson. At the Pro Bowl this year, Patterson told me of his struggles in Minnesota: "Two years I spent damn near on the sideline. That's never a good feeling for any player. No player wants to go through that. I need to know if I'm going to play or not. If not, I'll take my talents elsewhere."
Essentially, if the Vikings wanted Patterson to remain on the team (he's a free agent this spring), they would need to ensure that he would see playing time as a wide receiver despite years of evidence to the contrary.
There's nothing wrong with bringing rookies around slowly but when an offense is as punch-less as Minnesota's has been over the last year, they have little choice but to expedite the learning process for Treadwell.