Targeting Adam Thielen Worked

Adam Thielen
Nov 16, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) scores a touchdown in the first quarter against Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine (24) at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Week 6 game, I argued that targeting Adam Thielen far more was the key to Vikings success on offense. Well, it worked. Here is the argument:

More quick passes to Thielen would benefit the offense. Jefferson is going to keep getting a massive amount of attention from opposing defenses. Adam Thielen should therefore be able to find plenty of space for the Vikings. Targeting him early and often would not only help Jefferson, it would also help keep us ahead of the sticks. If you hop over to PFF, you’ll see that Thielen has only been in the slot for 82 snaps. He has been out wide 250 times. Putting Thielen in the slot more could allow for some high percentage completions, ones that make 2nd and 3rd downs considerably easier.

Take a peak at the Thielen highlights:

In the first video, you’ll see Thielen snagging a pass off the deep shot. He was lined up in the slot, a move that I advocated for before the Panthers game. In the second video, you’ll see Thielen doing what he does in the red zone: making a tough catch that allows us to convert on a critical 3rd & goal.

Moving forward, Klint Kubiak will need to continue targeting Adam Thielen early and often. A heavy dose of Thielen doesn’t preclude the possibility of using our other offensive weapons heavily. Jefferson still had eight catches. Cook ran the ball nearly 30 times. Kirk hit seven different receivers. All of this occurred in a game where Thielen had 11 catches, 126 yards, and a TD.

Making Thielen a priority doesn’t nullify our other offensive weapons; it allows them to similarly thrive.

When our elite trio – Jefferson, Thielen, and Cook – are all integrated into the game plan, the opposing defense has a tough task. Not too many defenses can slow down these three. For this reason, Lil’Kub needs to continue finding ways to ensure Thielen is getting plenty of attention. A tough set of post-bye games ensures it’s a near necessity that our offense operates at a high level.

Some plentiful Thielen targets will be a good place to start.