There are plenty of good position battles at training camp – John Sullivan versus Joe Berger at center and Andrew Sendejo against Michael Griffen and Antone Exum at safety – but there's also a battle brewing between veteran wide receiver Charles Johnson and rookie first-round pick Laquon Treadwell.
"I feel like I’m that guy," Johnson said Thursday, according to the Pioneer Press. "I feel like I should be a starter on this team."
Johnson has been getting first-team reps while Treadwell has spent the majority of his time with the second team, but there's plenty of time for this battle to evolve. Minnesota leaves Mankato for joint practices with the Bengals next week, followed by four preseason games that will ultimately play the biggest role in who gets to start.
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Pro Football Focus is predicting Treadwell to win the starting job.
"Despite the early struggles, the PFF analysis team expects Treadwell to improve throughout camp and emerge as the starter opposite Stefon Diggs. While we weren’t overly impressed with Treadwell coming out of college, we still saw him as a late-first/early-second-round prospect. Treadwell impresses with short routes—especially slants—and producing yards after the catch and after contact. He struggles to separate from defensive backs on intermediate and deep routes—evident in camp thus far."
Treadwell is definitely the future, but it will only make the Vikings better if a healthy Johnson can return to the form where he caught 25 passes for 415 yards over the final seven games of the 2014 season.