Adam Thielen is reportedly out for the Vikings’ game this Sunday against the Panthers.
The Minnesota Vikings have a 4-6 record and slim hopes of getting into the expanded 2020 NFL postseason. That task will become harder without a top player on offense.
Vikings preparing to play without Adam Thielen
NFL COVID protocol allows players to return five days after a positive test if they are asymptomatic and return two negative tests. Those with symptoms are out 10 days. Thielen missing Sunday’s game may indicate he does have symptoms.
This is a huge blow to the Vikings offense as he is Kirk Cousins‘ top target. His 11 receiving touchdowns also lead the league.
Rookie receiver Justin Jefferson now becomes the focal point in the passing game. He actually leads the team with 848 yards and has 45 receptions on 59 targets. Thielen has 646 yards on 49 receptions.
Jefferson was taken No. 22 overall in the 2020 draft and has lived up to expectations. That was needed after Stefon Diggs was traded to Buffalo in the offseason.
The problem for the Vikings offense is that Thielen and Jefferson are really the only two receivers who are factors in the passing game. Tight end Kyle Rudolph and running back Dalvin Cook are the other top targets. Taking Thielen out of the equation leaves Bisi Johnson and his 101 receiving yards this season as the next receiver available. Chad Beebe is another option as well.
The Vikings need a win over Carolina to keep fighting for the playoffs. It may be a Cook-heavy gameplan if the Panthers are able to keep Jefferson in check in the passing game.