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The 2021 NFL season may barely be in the books, but Dave Richard is already getting a jump on his 2022 preparation by highlighting at least one key statistic to know for each NFL team that had a major bearing on their 2021 performance and could mean a great deal for their 2022 outlook. In this space, Dave dives into the Minnesota Vikings.

More Early Prep (AFC): BAL | BUF | CIN | CLE | DEN | DET | GB | LAR | MIN | SEA

More Early Prep (NFC): ARI | ATL | CAR | CHI | DAL | HOU | IND | JAC | KC | LAC

Minnesota Vikings stats to know

Justin Jefferson's going to be a first-round pick, as will Dalvin Cook, but do not forget about Adam Thielen. He was a beast through the first 12 weeks of the season. 

  • 8.2 targets per game/23% target share
  • 70% catch rate
  • 17.0 PPR points per game (15-plus in seven games)

The beef some Fantasy managers will have is with his touchdown dependence -- he scored 10 in 11 games. That made up 32.1% of his total PPR points (his receptions made up another 33.7%). But even if he had scored half as many touchdowns in those 12 games, he still would have averaged 14.3 PPR points per game, which on a per-game basis was as good as DeAndre Hopkins, and he finished 20th in per-game PPR points. 

Should we trust Thielen for touchdowns? Kirk Cousins has since he arrived in Minnesota in 2018. Here's Thielen's target share from 10 yards or closer in games he's played in. 

  • 2021: 27.6% (36.4% in Weeks 1 through 12)
  • 2020: 43.3%
  • 2019: 13.6% (42.9% in Weeks 1 through 7) 
  • 2018: 27.6% 

Here's the kicker: Last year's Vikings ranked 30th in pass-run ratio inside of 10 yards. They were 28th in 2020 and dead last in 2019. That run-heavy approach might have been a demand of coach Mike Zimmer, but it won't necessarily be the same under new coach (and former NFL quarterback) Kevin O'Connell. He was part of a Rams squad that threw inside of 10 yards the second-most of anyone in 2021. 

Thielen might be touchdown dependent, but he figures to be in prime position to keep getting touchdown opportunities. That's usually good for Fantasy Football.