Thielen and fellow wideout Stefon Diggs traveled to Atlanta in early April to spend time with new Vikings starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Thielen finished the 2017 regular season on a low note and played through a pair of minor back fractures in the playoffs, but he seems to have made good on his stated expectation that he wouldn't have any restrictions during the offseason. He can now turn his focus toward building chemistry with Cousins and new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, hoping to replicate -- or even exceed -- his 2017 campaign. The 27-year-old wideout finished fifth in the NFL in receiving yards (1,276) and eighth in receptions (91), but his touchdowns (four), yards per target (8.9) and catch rate (63.6 percent) all dropped of a bit from his breakout 2016 campaign. Diggs finished a distant second on the team with 95 targets, posting similar efficiency marks (67.4 percent catch rate, 8.9 yards per target) while scoring eight touchdowns in 14 games. Diggs was far more productive than Thielen in the playoffs, catching 14 of 22 targets for 207 yards and one very memorable touchdown.
Thielen confirmed Wednesday that he played through a pair of back fractures in the Vikings' NFC championship loss to the Eagles on Jan. 21 but doesn't expect to face any limitations during the offseason, Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com reports. Thielen, who caught three passes for 28 yards on nine targets against the Eagles, went on to suit up for the NFC in the Pro Bowl last weekend, which seemingly supports the notion that his back injury isn't especially worrisome. The wideout said he doesn't anticipate any scheduling setbacks in the months leading up to Organized Team Activities and training camp, setting him up for a rather normal offseason.
Thielen (back) is active for Sunday's NFC championship game in Philadelphia. Thielen's limitations in preparation for this outing were blamed on a generic lower back injury. On Sunday afternoon, though, Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune reported Thielen is nursing "back fractures," an issue that "is not insignificant." Per Krammer, Thielen subsequently ran routes during pregame warmups, likely to get a gauge on what he can handle. Although Thielen is available, he could cede snaps to Jarius Wright, Laquon Treadwell and Michael Floyd next to Stefon Diggs in the base offense.
Thielen will attempt to play through back fractures during Sunday's NFC championship game at Philadelphia, Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune reports. When Thielen made his initial appearance on the injury report Wednesday, he was limited with a lower back injury. He maintained the activity level throughout the week, but the nature of his issue wasn't touched on again as he earned a questionable tag for the contest. With his health clarified, Thielen's workload may depend on pain tolerance, as the injury "is not insignificant," per NFL media. Assuming he's active, he'll almost certainly start, but Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph would be in line for additional targets. Beyond the duo, Jarius Wright, Laquon Treadwell and Michael Floyd may also be more involved in the passing attack.
Thielen (lower back), who is listed as questionable for Sunday's NFC championship game against the Eagles, is set to play in the contest, a source informed Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. An official announcement on Thielen's status should come when the Vikings reveal their inactives approximately 90 minutes before the 6:40 p.m. EST matchup, but it looks like he isn't in any serious peril of missing his first game of the season. Thielen was only able to put in two limited practices during the week, though those restrictions may have only been in place to avoid a potential setback heading into Sunday. Expect the wideout, who logged six catches for 74 yards in last week's divisional-round win over the Saints, to remain a top target for quarterback Case Keenum.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|2||09/16||@Green Bay Packers||32||24.13|
|4||09/28||@Los Angeles Rams||11||18.47|
|7||10/21||@New York Jets||19||20.00|
|8||10/29||New Orleans Saints||20||20.00|
|12||11/26||Green Bay Packers||32||24.13|
|13||12/02||@New England Patriots||27||22.58|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||84||57||796||3||36||13.96||98|