Is the Minnesota Vikings receiver is nearing the end of his time in the NFL?
There are few stories from the history of the NFL that are better than the journey Adam Thielen took to eventually emerge as one of the top receivers for the Minnesota Vikings.
Ever since he was able to grab a spot on the Vikings practice squad in 2013, Thielen has developed into a receiver that will be likely mentioned in the same conversations as some of the former Minnesota players he grew up idolizing as a young kid.
In 2017 and 2018, Thielen had two great seasons that saw him finish with at least 90 catches, 1,275 yards, and four touchdowns. It appeared as though he was on track to have another year with impressive numbers in 2019, but then the dreaded injury bug made an appearance.
Is the end of the road near for the Minnesota Vikings receiver?
Of the Vikings’ 16 regular-season games last year, Thielen was only on the field for 10 of them thanks to a hamstring injury. It also caused him to miss the majority of Minnesota’s offensive snaps during two of their other contests, so he really missed about half of the year due to his injury.
As he prepares for the upcoming season with the Vikings, the team’s wide receiver room is going to look much different than it has in the recent past. Stefon Diggs is gone and Minnesota added three new pass-catchers in Justin Jefferson, Tajae Sharpe, and K.J. Osborn who could all be competing for significant playing time in 2020.
The upcoming season will be Thielen’s opportunity to prove that his success wasn’t a direct product of Diggs being on the field at the same time.
Is it possible we’ve already seen the best from Thielen though? Is he ever going to get back to performing anywhere close to how he did in 2017 and 2018?
Thielen will turn 30-years-old in August and he’s at an age when NFL receivers typically begin to see a decline in their play out on the field. Since 2015, only 10 receivers who were 30 or older have finished a season with at least 1,000 receiving yards.
At this point, however, no one should doubt if Thielen can get back to his old self in 2020. He’s proven plenty of people wrong in the past and he will gladly do it again during the upcoming season.
The best thing going for Thielen currently is that he’s clearly emerged as a favorite target of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins during the last two years. This shouldn’t be any different in 2020 and if the veteran receiver can remain healthy for the majority of the season, don’t be surprised if he re-enters himself back into being considered one of the best at his position in the entire league.