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This time of year, fans of all football teams look at their rosters like Jack and Rose looked at the Titanic while it was still at port: blissfully and ignorantly. Such an amazing work of mankind, such talented rosters, what could possibly go wrong? As the Vikings set sail in search of the Lombardi, the metaphorical iceberg is a devastating injury.

American football is brutal on the body… Darwin would be mesmerized watching players adapt or succumb to natural selection. Only the toughest survive the gridiron, while many athletes are unexpectedly taken down in freak accidents (i.e. Teddy Bridgewater). As another season approaches, I look at the Vikings roster and wonder what would be the most devastating position or player to lose besides quarterback Kirk Cousins.

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I asked my followers this very question on Twitter (@PurpleReignNews) and received a mixed bag of responses. Some felt veteran safety Harrison Smith would be the biggest loss as he quietly leads Mike Zimmer’s defense, while others deemed skill players like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, or Dalvin Cook the most valuable. Obviously, I’d hate to lose any player – no one “deserves” an injury and they can sometimes be career threatening, but injuries in the NFL are very common and it’s a realistic question.

In my opinion, the biggest loss would be Adam Thielen. Minnesota’s offense is still finding its identity, and the work ethic and talent that Thielen brings to the locker room is irreplaceable. He led the Vikings in receiving yards last year with 1373, and losing a leader with such an inspiring success story would surely leave fans and teammates at a loss. After the legendary Minneapolis Miracle, it wouldn’t be hard to root for Stefon Diggs instead, but I don’t think he’s as vocal a leader as Thielen. Without Thielen, Diggs would also undoubtedly face more double-teams, and it would force untested players into full-time roles.

An injury-free season is an unrealistic dream, but I’m praying to the purple gods that Thielen can stay healthy this year.

For more Minnesota Vikings content, follow me on Twitter (HERE), Instagram (HERE), or subscribe to my personal blog – (HERE). Thanks, and Skol! – Reid Johnson

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