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Draft choices make mark with Vikings

August 12, 2016 GMT

Vikings receiver and first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell made some headlines this week in training camp when the team scrimmaged against the Bengals. Treadwell got to play opposite Adam Pacman Jones, one of the better cornerbacks over the past decade in the NFL.

Treadwell told the reporters that I went up to Pacman and said, Dont take it easy on me.andthinsp; Jones said he wouldnt, and Treadwell didnt catch a pass in that particular matchup.

For the Vikings to have a more successful passing game this season they ranked 31st in the NFL last year at 183 yards per game theyre going to need Treadwell to be confident and contribute.

Coach Mike Zimmer said this week that so far Treadwell is showing those signs.

I think hes coming to camp in much better shape, Zimmer said. Hes an extremely hard worker. He continues to get better, and he wants to be really good. Good so far.

The good news for Vikings fans is that if the past few draft classes are any indication, Treadwell should be able to contribute. There have been other gems who have been productive during their rookie seasons.

Last year it was fifth-round pick Stefon Diggs who made a big impression, finishing second among rookie wide receivers with 720 yards and fourth in receptions with 52, despite only starting nine games. Third-round pick Danielle Hunter tallied 33 tackles and six sacks at defensive end, the latter the second-highest mark among rookies. Second-round pick Eric Kendricks led the team with 92 tackles at linebacker, tied for third in the league among rookies.

Those three players along with 2015 first-round pick Trae Waynes, whom the Vikings expect to take a big step in his second year at cornerback are all expected to make big contributions this season.

Depth chart telling

When the Vikings released their first unofficial depth chart this week, the success of recent drafts was abundantly clear. For a team with high playoff hopes, its amazing to see how young several of their presumed starters are.

Of the 28 positions listed (11 offense, 11 defense, six special teams), 15 of the players had been selected since 2011. Nine including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, fullback Zach Line (rookie free-agent signing in 2013), Diggs, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, Kendricks, linebacker Anthony Barr, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, Jeff Locke (at punter and holder) and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson have been selected since 2013.

That list doesnt even include Waynes and Treadwell, who hold second-team positions but will without a doubt see a lot of playing time this season.

Yes, theres a reason the Vikings front office and several NFL analysts believe the team has a great chance to defend its NFC North title and is a potential Super Bowl contenders, not only for this year but for years ahead. The combination of Zimmer, his staffs coaching and the acumen of General Manager Rick Spielman and his staff has a lot of people excited about this team for good reason.

U track site set

According to a good source, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents will approve an on-campus site for the new mens and womens track facility at its next scheduled meeting Sept. 9.

It will be placed where the Student Recreational Sports Dome currently stands, and the dome will be relocated adjacent to the grain elevators across from TCF Bank Stadium on 5th St. SE.

The track will satisfy NCAA and Title IX requirements the previous track didnt meet, in the opinion of female track athletes and coaches, and will include mens and womens locker rooms.

The dome, which is about 360 feet by 255 feet and used for a variety of sports activities, and the nearby grain elevators wont have to be torn down because there is plenty of room available on the site to house those two structures.

King on Bridgewater

Sports Illustrated reporter Peter King watched the Vikings scrimmage with the Bengals in Cincinnati and had good things to say to Vikings.com about Bridgewater.

Probably one of the best plays Ive seen on my camp tour, Teddy Bridgewater throws a ball 32 yards in the air and it very sweetly just flies over the outstretched hands of Pacman Jones right into Diggs hands, and I said, Thats a beautiful throw,andthinsp; King said. The fact that Adam Jones yelled an expletive on that particular play said to me, Its on. Very impressed today with Teddy Bridgewater.

Zimmer spoke about the benefits of scrimmaging the Bengals, for whom he was defensive coordinator from 2008-13 before being named Vikings head coach.

I know who their really good players are, [and] when were competing against those really good players, Id like to make sure were just as effective against them, he said.

Jottings

With the news that Apple Valley guard Gary Trent Jr. has transferred to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas and cut his list of possible colleges to Arizona, Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and UCLA, the Gophers basketball staff will miss out on the only two Minnesota players in the Class of 2017 ESPN Top 100 basketball recruits. Trent was ranked No. 9; Lakeville North forward Nate Reuvers (No. 86) committed to Wisconsin in May. Apple Valley point guard Tre Jones, the brother of Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones, has talked about giving real consideration to the Gophers. Jones is ranked No. 54 in ESPNs rankings for 2018.

Hollis Cavner is now running seven golf events around the country, including the recently completed 3M Championship in Blaine. The local promoter has two PGA Tour events, five Champions Tour events and the World Golf Championships in Mexico City.

On Thursday night, plaques of St. Paul natives Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield were installed at the St. Paul Saints CHS Field.

Vikings long snapper Kevin McDermott signed a $4 million, four-year contract extension earlier this week, and that seems like a good move. McDermott was responsible for all snapping duties last season and helped Blair Walsh lead the league with 34 field goals. He also has good ties with punter/holder Jeff Locke, who was his teammate at UCLA. McDermott was also a teammate of new Vikings guard Alex Boone for one year with the 49ers, when McDermott started three playoff games.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com