Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen is now a niche player in Justin Jefferson’s world. Minnesota Vikings blog

EAGAN (Minn.) — The quarterback was having trouble. During a red-zone drill in training camp Kirk Cousins The pocket was a step up as the Minnesota Vikings‘ pass rush bore down. Cousins was only a split second away from being fired. Receiver Adam Thielen He was sprinting towards the end zone, one step ahead cornerback Harrison Hand.

Cousins turned the ball in Thielen's favor, as he had done so many times over recent seasons. Thielen caught the ball with ease for a touchdown. This improvised connection was a reminder Thielen's remarkable career turnaround since his arrival as a teammate Justin Jefferson 2020

Thielen's total targets per game have dropped, but his scoring totals are up. Thielen (24) is one of only two NFL receivers to have more touchdown passes since the beginning of the 2020 season. Davante Adams (29) Green Bay Packers And Mike Evans (27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This surge is almost as impressive as Thielen's total scoring during his first six seasons (25).

He has now amassed 312.2 fantasy point in non-PPR scoring — No. 9 overall among receivers — while ranking No. 29 in total targets (199). Thielen discovered a niche for Jefferson, the NFL's youngest receiver. This matches his skills over the years.

Cousins stated, “He's always had a strong relationship with football.” Cousins said that he has natural hands and great body control. He plays big. He is big and strong and runs strong and big. He is visible in the red zone, in tight windows, and in tight coverage.

Thielen was No. 1 over that time span. The NFL ranked Thielen No. 3 for catch rate above expectation. This is an NFL Next Gen Stats analysis to determine a player's ability make lower-probability catches. As strange as this may sound, it is impossible to believe that a veteran player's success can be sustained by a coaching change.

Thielen, for example, will be 32 this month. After appearing in all five of his NFL seasons, Thielen has missed 11 due to injuries. After this season, his contract does not have any fully guaranteed money.

As Jefferson nears superstardom, the No. 3 receiver K.J. Osborn He is hosting a successful training camp of his own. Tight end Irv Smith Jr.Cousins has another source of income, as Cousins are still excited about Thielen's contribution after his thumb surgery. Thielen is open to the possibilities Thielen offers in his scheme, especially in the red zone. Thielen also hasn't hesitated to point out plays that have worked well in certain situations. If the Vikings' training camp practices are anything to go by, they are trying their best to preserve the Cousins -Thielen scoring relationship.

O'Connell explained that feedback is the most exciting part about it. “He's able to talk to me about, ‘I know we’re coaching this like this, but have you thought about this route stem or this top of the route?' You might think to yourself, “Thank God we have players like this.” Because your words are better than mine. Let's go that route. We may choose to go my way at other times. We have that conversation, no matter what.

Thielen averaged 9.16 targets per week at the peak of his career when he was averaging 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons 2017-18. This number has dropped to 7.13 since the 2020 season.

His red zone targets have actually increased slightly, going from 1.06 in 2017-18 and 1.18 in 2020-21. Thielen, Cousins, O'Connell all work to maintain this focus.

Thielen was initially baffled by O'Connell's process, over-outcome approach for installing and revising the scheme. But, the adjustments have led to rapid progress.

Thielen stated that sometimes it feels almost awkward. “You feel like, “Isn't he going to tear us apart? What's the deal? It has nothing to do the former coaching staff that we had. This has been how it's been all my life. I've had the same coach every year since high school. Although it is different, it is exciting because we can now go in there and teach. It's possible to learn. We can still learn.

Thielen is aware that he's at the end of his career. For example, in 2021 you could count on one hand the number of receivers who were 32 years old and caught more passes than 40. Cole Beasley, A.J. Green, Antonio Brown And Emmanuel Sanders. They all caught no more than four touchdowns.

Thielen said, “I don’t have 10 years left on my career, so yeah. I think there’s a sense urgency.” “We have a talented team. We have a great team culture. We have some great coaches. However, it is important to keep in mind the culture and the daily mindset that this coaching staff has created.

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