Stefon Diggs was declared out by the Minnesota Vikings, so expect Adam Thielen to have a big day against the Green Bay Packers.
Coach Mike Zimmer declared Stefon Diggs out Friday afternoon, along with starting quarterback Sam Bradford and left guard Nick Easton. The announcement was a bit of a surprise considering Diggs said he’d be ready for the Packers-Vikings showdown. Instead, the Minnesota Vikings decided to sit their star wide receiver with a groin injury.
While losing Diggs is disappointing, the Minnesota Vikings have other weapons on offense. Namely, Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen. In particular, the latter is a luxury for the Vikings offense at receiver given Diggs’ health problems.
As matter of fact, Thielen’s coming out party started with a Diggs missed game last season. With Diggs out due to injury, the Minnesota native stood out in a Week 5 battle versus the Houston Texans. As the de facto no. 1 receiver, he caught seven balls for 127 yards and a touchdown in a 31-13 blowout victory.
Later in the season, Thielen filled in again for Diggs, catching eight passes on 11 targets for 53 yards against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Basically, he proved more than capable of being the top guy when called upon, finishing the season just 33 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season.
In fact, Thielen could easily be the top receiver on many NFL teams today. When looking at the horrendous receiver depth of the Chicago Bears, New York Giants and Cleveland Browns, Vikings fans should feel fortunate to have such a polished receiver opposite Diggs. Not to mention, one that is currently seventh and tenth in yards (392) and catches (29), respectively.
Based on his early success, there’s an argument he’s one of the top receivers in the league. At the least, he should be considered as more of a 1B option rather than a no. 2 option on the Vikings.
Heading into a game against Green Bay, Thielen has a prime matchup. With Packers rookie and top corner Kevin King questionable due to a concussion, the matchup may look even better for the 27-yard old. I mean, everyone knows the Packers defensive backfield has had issues over the past couple of years, so Thielen should take full advantage of the weak unit.
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Hopefully, he can put up another career-day like he did in the Vikings’ second matchup with the Packers last season. On the day, he caught 12 balls for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Thielen took one of those 71 yards, putting a slick double move on Quenten Rollins ending with a Lambeau leap into a couple of Vikings fans in Green Bay. Such a beautiful sight.
Of course, a day like that is asking a lot from Thielen. Nevertheless, expect a huge day in front of the hometown fans. Sure, losing Diggs is another blow to a hurting offense, but Thielen has shown he can step up in his absence.
Thus far, the reliable wideout has caught at least five balls in each game, so there’s good reason to believe he gets a couple more catches against Green Bay. Seven or eight grabs for at least 70 yards seems like a safe bet, although I’m optimistic he has a bigger day.
So, don’t fret over Diggs’ absence because Thielen is a worthy go-to receiver and should have another big game against the Packers. This time, in front of a sold out U.S. Bank Stadium.