Adam Thielen

Adam Thielen Expected To Miss Week 12

Adam Thielen remains on the Vikings’ reserve/COVID-19 list, and the NFL’s touchdown reception leader is not on track to be activated ahead of Minnesota’s next game.

The Vikings are expected to be without Thielen on Sunday, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). Given the timing of Thielen landing on the Vikes’ coronavirus list (Monday), the veteran wide receiver would have been able to return Sunday — provided he continued to test negative. But this has been one of the vaguer virus situations to emerge.

No Thielen positive coronavirus test has been reported, but should he miss Sunday, he will have been delayed longer than many who have landed on the virus list. Several players have landed on the list early in the week only to be cleared for Sunday games. Thielen missing would obviously weaken the Vikings against the Panthers, though the team can rely on Justin Jefferson and All-Pro candidate Dalvin Cook.

Thielen has caught a career-high 11 touchdown passes, however, and has not missed a game this season. Prior to this COVID-19 issue, the 30-year-old wideout has used the season as a comeback effort of sorts. Thielen missed all or most of seven games last season due to a hamstring injury. The Vikings, though, were prepared to rely on their former tryout-camp find this year after trading Stefon Diggs to the Bills. As was the case last season, the team is thin at wideout beyond its starters. Sunday’s game is obviously critical for the 4-6 team’s last-ditch playoff hopes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Place WR Adam Thielen On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Following one of his best performances of the 2020 campaign, Vikings star wideout Adam Thielen has landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list (per an announcement from the organization).

The team didn’t provide any specific details on Thielen’s status, but we can assume the receiver either tested positive for COVID-19 or was within close contact of someone who did test positive.

The Vikings have recently placed six players on the COVID-19 list, but we know of only two players who definitively tested positive (linebacker Todd Davis and guard Dru Samia). ESPN’s Courtney Cronin observes that wide receivers coach Andrew Janocko wasn’t on the sideline for Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, but there was no explanation for his absence.

The 30-year-old Thielen is having a bounce-back season, hauling in 49 catches for 646 yards and a league-leading 11 touchdowns (including two on Sunday). As Andrew Kramer of the Star Tribune writes, the “NFL requires a minimum five-day quarantine for high-risk close contacts and asymptomatic cases.” That means Thielen could be back in the lineup on Sunday against the Panthers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Will Not Trade WR Adam Thielen

There are a number of teams that would like to add a wide receiver in advance of Tuesday’s trade deadline, and Vikings wideout Adam Thielen would probably pique the interest of all of those clubs. However, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports, Minnesota has no intention of dealing its 30-year-old receiver (Twitter link).

The Vikes are 1-5 and have already sold off one major asset by trading Yannick Ngakoue. They are also willing to deal safety Anthony Harris. However, both Ngakoue and Harris are set to hit free agency at the end of the season, while Thielen is under club control through 2024.

And while Minnesota looks dead in the water this year, there is still enough talent on the roster — including Thielen — to suggest that a rebound in 2021 could be in the cards. If the club plans to retool rather than rebuild, having Thielen in the fold would go a long way towards a return to contention next year.

Thielen and the Vikings agreed to a lucrative four-year extension in April 2019, and though injuries limited him to 10 games last season, he is on track for about 85 catches and over 1,100 receiving yards in 2020. That would be a little off the pace he set in his 2017-18 Pro Bowl campaigns, but those are still respectable numbers, and his 13.0 yards-per-reception average is right in line with his best seasons. He is also currently leading the league with seven TD catches this year.

There’s always a chance the Vikings could be blown away by an offer, especially since Thielen’s salaries throughout his contract are fairly manageable and since it would be easy enough for a team to get out of that contract at any point after the 2020 season is over. It just doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen, and WR-needy teams like the Browns, Ravens, Patriots, and Packers, among others, will need to turn their attention elsewhere (not that Minnesota would ever trade Thielen to Green Bay anyway).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Giants, Ryan, Fuller

After dealing Markus Golden to the Cardinals, it appears the 1-6 Giants have officially declared themselves sellers at this year’s trade deadline. Though GM Dave Gettleman may be reluctant to trade away veteran talent that could theoretically help Big Blue win a few games — and perhaps save Gettleman’s job in the process — players like Evan Engram, Kevin Zeitler, and Golden Tate could be available, as Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes (though Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says the club is unlikely to deal Engram).

2017 second-round DT Dalvin Tomlinson could also be on the move, per Dunleavy. Tomlinson is playing out the last year of his rookie contract, and while he has expressed interest in staying with the Giants long-term, there has been little progress in contract talks.

As we creep closer to the November 3 deadline, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league:

Adam Thielen To Play Through Ankle Injury

Despite suffering an injury this week in practice, Adam Thielen will play against the 49ers. The Vikings have declared him active for their divisional-round game, but it sounds like the Pro Bowl wide receiver will play through some pain.

Thielen suffered a “deep laceration” near his ankle and heel area, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk reports. The Vikings plan to numb the area, tape up the injury and hope their standout wideout can play through any discomfort. The 29-year-old receiver expressed confidence earlier Saturday he will be able to play through this malady (Instagram link).

This injury occurred early this week in practice, with Smith indicating a Vikings teammate’s cleat cut through Thielen’s shoe to cause the laceration — one that required four stitches. No Achilles damage occurred. But this continues an injury-marred season for Thielen, who saw his two-year Pro Bowl run halt.

The former rookie-tryout success story missed five full games with a hamstring injury but missed most of two more because of that malady. However, he came through with one of the biggest Vikings catches this century to cap a seven-reception, 129-yard performance in an overtime win over the Saints.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Thielen, Panthers, Falcons, Raiders

Vikings WR Adam Thielen suffered a bad cut on his ankle during Wednesday’s practice, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The cut required stitches, but the team is optimistic that he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s playoff game against the 49ers. As the reporter notes, the organization is “still gathering information and will proceed with caution.”

The wideout appeared in 10 games this season – the first time in his NFL career that he didn’t appear in all 16 regular season contests. He finished the regular season with 30 receptions for 418 yards and six scores. He had a standout game during the Vikings win over the Saints last weekend, hauling in seven receptions for 129 yards.

If Thielen was forced out of the lineup, Kirk Cousins will predictably lean on wideout Stefon Diggs. The team could also turn to the likes of Olabisi Johnson, Alexander Hollins, and Laquon Treadwell.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Panthers general manager Marty Hurney will turn to head coach Matt Rhule as the team continues to rebuild the front office. Hurney told The Athletic’s Joe Person (Twitter link) that he’ll collaborate with Rhule as the organization hunts for an assistance GM. The executive cautioned that the search could take some time.
  • The Falcons will hire Joe Whitt Jr. for a defensive position on the coaching staff, reports ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. Whitt Jr. previously served as the Browns pass-game coordinator/secondary coach, and he was Atlanata’s assistant defensive backs coach back in 2007. It’s uncertain what specific role Whitt Jr. will take on under defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
  • Vic Tafur of The Athletic opines that the Raiders should add a playmaking wideout this offseason, and he notes that the organization “really like[s]” one impending free agent: Jets receiver Robby Anderson. Current Raiders senior offensive assistant John Morton was the Jets offensive coordinator when Anderson had his most productive season in 2017.

Injury Notes: Ingram, 49ers, Thielen, Fuller

With every team booked into divisional-round action having now begun practice, here is the latest from the injury front going into Round 2. We’ll start with a midweek Vikings setback:

  • Stefon Diggs has missed two Vikings practices because of illness this week, but Mike Zimmer expects him to suit up in San Francisco. However, Adam Thielen suffered an ankle injury at practice and was limited on Wednesday as a result. Thielen was not on Minnesota’s Tuesday injury report. The Pro Bowl wideout missed much of this season with a hamstring injury. He caught seven passes for a game-high 129 yards against the Saints.
  • The NFL’s other purple-wearing team will likely go into its second-round game with backfield uncertainty. Previously expected to return for the Ravens‘ playoff opener, Mark Ingram has missed both Ravens practices this week. Ingram experienced a setback with his injured calf last week, leading to the Ravens to shut him down for a bit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). The Ravens are indicating there is a “realistic chance” Ingram plays. Baltimore backup Gus Edwards‘ 5.2 yards per carry ranked third in the NFL this season.
  • 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander has been cleared for game action, per Rapoport (video link), meaning it’s now Kyle Shanahan‘s call on whether to redeploy the high-priced defender Saturday. The 49ers used their second IR-return spot on Alexander, who is attempting to return from a midseason pectoral tear, but have not activated him yet.
  • Winding down an oft-injured season, Dee Ford is back at 49ers practice and appears ready to return at a key juncture. The veteran defensive end has dealt with a few maladies, his most recent being a hamstring issue that he aggravated in December. Ford’s gone through limited practices the past two days.
  • One of the NFL’s most important No. 2 wideouts, Will Fuller is trending in the right direction for the Texans‘ divisional-round rematch in Kansas City. The Texans expect their deep threat to return against the Chiefs, Rapoport tweets. Fuller was limited Wednesday. Deshaun Watson‘s QBR figure is 16 points higher when Fuller is on the field compared to when he’s not. The injury-prone wideout missed six games this season, the latest because of the groin injury he sustained in December.
  • Among the healthiest of the divisional-round teams, the Packers will have their right tackle back in the mix. Bryan Bulaga suffered a concussion in Week 17 but passed the protocol Wednesday, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes. Kenny Clark, however, missed practice with a back injury. The contract-year defensive lineman played all 16 Packer games this season.

Injury Updates: Thielen, Moreau, Andrews, Guice, Chark

Here are the latest injury updates from around the league as you enjoy Sunday Night Football:

  • Adam Thielen missed another game with his hamstring issue Sunday, but he should be back out there soon. “All parties are optimistic” that the Vikings will have their star receiver when they play a pivotal Week 15 game against the Chargers, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Thielen has only played eight games this season, and in two of those he played only a handful of snaps.
  • The Raiders have been pretty banged up recently, and they took another blow during their crucial loss to the Titans. Tight end Foster Moreau went down with a knee injury, and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said after the game he could be done for the season. Moreau doesn’t play a huge role as a pass-catcher, but he has had a couple of big games and has been playing around half of the team’s offensive snaps.
  • Ravens fans were left holding their breath when breakout tight end Mark Andrews left their victory over the Bills and didn’t return, but fortunately it doesn’t appear to be anything too serious. Andrews suffered a contusion between his knee and thigh a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, and the “indication is it’s nothing major” (Twitter link). That’s good news, but Baltimore does have a short week with a Thursday Night Football game against the Jets waiting. It wouldn’t be surprising if Andrews misses that one, but it doesn’t sound like it’ll be a longterm absence.
  • Derrius Guice has had brutal injury luck so far in his young NFL career, so it was terrible to see the Redskins running back go down with another knee issue during their loss to the Packers. Fortunately it seems like he might’ve dodged a bullet, as Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets that the initial diagnosis is an MCL sprain. It seems like Guice could miss some time and potentially the rest of the season, but fortunately it doesn’t appear to be anything long-term. Guice missed his entire rookie season due to a torn ACL that resulted in multiple infections, and then missed the first eight games of this season with a knee injury.
  • The Jaguars have been getting embarrassed weekly recently, and now things are getting even worse. On the heels of their 45-10 blowout loss to the Chargers, it looks like they could be without top receiver D.J. Chark moving forward. Chark left the game with an ankle injury, and his “left foot was in a protective boot and he left the locker room using a scooter” after the game, tweets Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. Chark has been having a breakout year and has 881 yards with eight touchdowns, and it now seems like his sophomore campaign could be over.

We’ll have more on all the other big injuries suffered today as soon as there are additional details to pass along.

Vikings Rule Out Adam Thielen

The Vikings are expected to promote wide receiver Alexander Hollins from the practice squad, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The undrafted rookie out of Eastern Illinois gives them four healthy receivers tonight against the Seahawks, as Adam Thielen remains out with a hamstring injury. 

Hollins, a 6’1″ target, joined the Vikings’ taxi squad shortly after missing the final cut in late August. At Eastern Illinois, Hollins ended his collegiate career with 127 career receptions, good for tenth on the program’s all-time list. In his final year, he had five games with 100 yards receiving, including a 167-yard breakout against Indiana State.

Thielen, meanwhile, has not seen double-digit snaps since Week 6. Due to his nagging injury, Thielen will see his 1,000-yard streak end after two exceptional seasons, though he hopes to be back in action to help the Vikings in the playoff hunt. As of today, the Vikings have a 90% chance of reaching the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight, with a 42% chance of winning the NFC North. A win over the Seahawks would bring them to 10-3 and virtually solidify their spot in the postseason.

In eight games this year, Thielen has 27 catches for 391 yards and six scores.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Robinson, Thielen, Browns

Allen Robinson sounds confident the he and the Bears will discuss an extension at some point. The sixth-year wide receiver has enjoyed his best season since 2015, averaging 70.8 yards per game and having become the Bears’ most reliable skill-position player. The 27-year-old wideout sounds willing to wait, however. He is signed through the 2020 season.

My focus is just to finish the season strong, and I am sure at some point in time whether it’s my agent starting it or them, it will be talked about,” Robinson said, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “There is a good amount of time. So many different scenarios can play out. The time will come.”

Although no guaranteed money remains on Robinson’s three-year, $42MM deal, he is set to earn $10.9MM in base salary next season and is certainly not at risk of being released.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Adam Thielen‘s last game featuring double-digit snaps came in Week 6, but the Vikings‘ highest-paid skill-position player is trending in a better direction for Monday night’s game. Battling a hamstring injury, Thielen returned to practice Friday and got in two limited workouts this week. He does not expect to be a game-time decision, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter), so the Vikings (and certain fantasy owners) may have some advance notice. Thielen will see his 1,000-yard streak likely stop after two seasons, but the 29-year-old standout is certainly pivotal to Minnesota’s hopes at winning the NFC North.
  • This will not be the week David Njoku returns to the Browns’ skill-position arsenal. The Browns did not activate their top tight end by Saturday afternoon’s deadline, so he will miss another game. With Njoku having returned to practice on Nov. 20, the Browns do not have to activate him until Dec. 10. If Njoku is not activated by then, he will spend the rest of the season on IR. The third-year tight end underwent surgery for a broken wrist during his IR stay.
  • Cleveland will be without left tackle Greg Robinson as well. The oft-scrutinized former No. 2 overall pick did not practice this week and will remain in concussion protocol through Week 13. Kyle Murphy started for Robinson at left tackle when he was benched earlier this year. The Browns, however, gave the sixth-year blocker his job back soon after.
  • Yet another Andre Smith stint with the Bengals will come to an end. The winless team waived the veteran tackle on Saturday.