By Paul Langan
With five games left in the NFL regular season, the Minnesota Vikings are looking good atop the NFC North with a record of 9-2. With the devastating injury of Aaron Rodgers, the first-place title for the Vikings becomes that much closer. Many players have contributed to this success, but most notably is Adam Thielen.
Many people were not expecting him to be the player he is today. The Detroit Lakes native was left out of the NFL combine and was not an important prospect to scouts. In 2013 Thielen was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings. Over the four seasons with the team, Thielen has garnered much deserved attention.
On Thanksgiving Day, Thielen was targeted 11 times with a total of 89 yards in a win over the Detroit Lions. With five games still remaining Thielen has had over 1,000 receiving yards and three touchdowns making him a key player for the Vikings.
His work ethic has been shown through many impressive stats like being the first Vikings wide receiver with 1,000 yards since Sidney Rice in 2009. Many Vikings coaches knew that Thielen was the real deal even before this season. Thielen achieved something that only Randy Moss, arguably one of the greatest Vikings of all time, has accomplished. Thielen and Moss are the only two receivers for Minnesota that have caught over 60 passes for 900 yards in their first 10 games in a season.
Adam Thielen’s growing success has caught the eyes of many football fans around the country and has made him a contender for offensive player of the year and created buzz for the team and state of Minnesota. Thielen’s role with the team has dramatically increased over the years and his stats are proof.
He gave Vikings fans a little preview of what he could do when he had 69 receptions for 967 yards in the 2016 season. Having only 12 receptions for 144 yards in 2015 compared to his performance in 2016 is remarkable and Vikings fans and coaches know that this is only the beginning for him.
Coach Mike Zimmer has stated many times that Thielen’s work ethic is incredible. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Thielen’s role with the team increase over the years.
With this growing success, I firmly believe that his stock will grow along with it and he will be a player that multiple teams will be clawing to sign.