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Pat Shurmur expects “great improvements” from Laquon Treadwell

The Vikings offensive coordinator is changing the offense, which is good for Sam Bradford, but bad news for Teddy Bridgewater.

In 2015, fifth-round Vikings rookie receiver Stefon Diggs had a major impact in his first season. In 2016, first-round Vikings rookie receiver Laquon Treadwell did not.

With offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur going from “interim” to “permanent” (as permanent as the job ever is), Shurmur expects Treadwell to take a major step in 2017.

“[Treadwell] is going to be like any young player that’s going from year one to year two. This is going to be an offseason that is very critical,” Shurmur recently said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “He’s had a chance now to go through the process once. He’ll have a feel for what it’s going to feel like and we’re anticipating he’s going to come back and be raring to go and make great improvements.”

Treadwell, the fourth receiver taken in round one last April, had one catch for 15 yards in nine games with one start. A hamstring injury and an ankle injury marred the balance of his rookie year. Shurmur nevertheless sees the glass as half full.

“He came in and kind of had little nagging things that kind of kept him from full-time early,” Shurmur said. “But when he got in the games the things he did well when he got in the game, he didn’t get targeted often, but he blocked well and he competed. That’s really the starting point for any young player.”

Treadwell arrived with the size and strength to allow former offensive coordinator Norv Turner to bring back the “Bang 8.” Early in camp, Treadwell showed a willingness to mix things up. Ultimately, it was a major disappointment, in all respects.

And so at a time when plenty of rookie receivers make an immediate impact, Treadwell’s rookie year falls squarely into the “disappointment” category. Whether he clicks with Shurmur’s new-look offense will go a long way toward determining whether the Vikings get a return on their investment.