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USATSI

Given the rash of bad news swamping the NFL in regards to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota Vikings are pleased to get some good news this week. They were forced to take the field in Week 12 against the Carolina Panthers with one of their most potent offensive weapons, namely Adam Thielen, after the All-Pro wide receiver was moved to the COVID/reserve list on Nov. 23. He will be in tow against the Jacksonville Jaguars though, with head coach Mike Zimmer noting early Wednesday morning his belief Thielen would be "ready to go" on Sunday.

That statement was cemented by the Vikings officially activating him immediately thereafter, setting the stage for him to line up against a Jaguars defense that allows 29.5 points per game -- poor enough for third-worst in the league. Thielen's last outing was against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11, and despite the loss, his second half performance involved haymaker after haymaker being thrown at Mike McCarthy's secondary, en route to 123 receiving yards and two TDs; and he won't see much more resistance -- if any at all -- when the Jaguars stroll into U.S. Bank Stadium. 

Thielen has a chance in 2020 to surpass 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2018, but his 11 touchdowns are already a career-best, and there's still five games remaining to drive that mark higher. Given the potency of rookie wideout Justin Jefferson and the dominance of Dalvin Cook, opposing defenses are having an even harder time defending Thielen, something that was never truly easy in the first place. Currently sitting at 5-6 on the season, the Vikings need as much of their firepower as they can muster to remain in the race for a wild card berth in the NFC.

Getting Thielen back definitely helps that cause.