Can Adam Thielen cope with extra responsibility for the Vikings in 2020?

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Adam Thielen
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Adam Thielen /
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(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) Adam Thielen
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) Adam Thielen /

What can the Vikings expect from Thielen in 2020?

If Adam Thielen is back to full health in 2020, then the Minnesota Vikings will be expecting the sort of production that earned him two consecutive Pro Bowl selections.

The rest over the offseason will have done the player a tremendous amount of good. There was some pressure on Thielen coming back a little too early from a hamstring strain in 2019 as the Vikings looked to make a return to the playoffs. This was followed by a freak ankle injury that could have been far worse.

Much has been made of the rapidly closing window in Minnesota. Big-money stars have been released to ease salary cap difficulties and replaced with players who cost a fraction of the price. A large number of reinforcements are also expected to come in during the NFL Draft, with the Vikings boasting 12 picks after trading Stefon Diggs.

This relative uncertainty, especially on the defensive side of the ball, puts more onus on experienced figures like Thielen to produce the goods. This is not going to be easy with another standout option on the opposite side of the field. But it is something that player needs to do in order to maximize his team’s chances.

Thielen is a tremendous route runner and possesses the sort of hands that make you ponder why he went under the radar before the Vikings took a chance on him. If he can find his rhythm with quarterback Kirk Cousins to the level the franchise saw in 2018, a return to the playoffs is not entirely out of the question for a roster that is going to look very different when competitive action gets back underway.