Tuesday, September 1, 2015

adam thielen

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Minnesota has some depth at wide receiver this season, and six main guys are standing out as major competitors for the final 53-man roster: veteran Mike Wallace, Cordarrelle Patterson, Adam Thielen, Jarius Wright, Charles Johnson and rookie Stefon Diggs. Although the general belief is that the Vikings will end up hanging onto all six guys, we decided to have a discussion. If Minnesota only keeps five receivers, which player doesn’t make the cut? 

Adam: Cordarrelle Patterson
Wallace and Johnson are totally safe. Wright is too good to consider, despite the fact that he may not be a Viking after his contract year. Diggs is a recent investment that has no chance of going anywhere, especially with the proficiency he has displayed so far in training camp and preseason. The decision really comes down to Patterson and Thielen, which is an incredibly difficult decision to make.

I loved Patterson coming out of college and thought he displayed a lot of traits of a first-round receiver, despite being raw. However, I’m losing patience with the “raw” label he has been given and feel like he has even regressed under the current coaching staff. I don’t see the “those legs never stop churning” efforts that I noticed on his college tape anymore and have to wonder if he’ll even get a chance to prove his worth as a true receiver before his rookie contract has expired. He is a wild card at this point, and sticking with him over a guy like Thielen could be a gamble.

Thielen, on the other hand, has greatly exceeded expectations and has a knack for being exactly in the right spot at exactly the right time. He is speedy, displays dependable catching abilities, and has tremendous value on special teams.

If I had to cut one of these guys right here and right now, Adam Thielen is the better football player. I would rather cut Patterson and have him make that decision look stupid by succeeding elsewhere than keep him and have me look stupid right here in Minnesota.

Either way, a bursting depth chart at this position is a nice problem to have and I hope they decide to carry six. If not, then Rick Spielman has a dandy of a decision on his hands that carries real-life ramifications unlike this little experiment of ours.

Brian: Adam Thielen
When all is said and done, I believe the Vikings keep 6 WRs and they all stay. I say, if any of them get cut, it’s Thielen. He’s a valuable player given his ability to play several roles but he probably has limited upside as well. The first three are set. Diggs is a rookie they won’t take a chance on cutting and, as frustrating as he can be, they can’t give up on Patterson’s potential yet.

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Image Courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings topped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-16 Saturday at The Sauna… I mean The Bank. Mike Zimmer extends his career head coaching preseason record to a robust 6-0, but it came at a price as veteran road-grading right tackle Phil Loadholt was lost for the season with a torn achilles. The much maligned offensive line now has a new set of obstacles. Who’s gonna step up? TJ Clemmings? Austin Shepherd? Babs? (Not Babs)

We dig into the NEW problematic offensive tackle position for the Vikings as well as touch on other “Not-so Famous Jameis” talking points on today’s recap show.

Other “Get well soon, Uncle Phil” Talkers Include
• MIKE ZIMMER IS STILL UNDEFEATED IN THE PRESEASON
• The Dogra Bowl – Welcome back Leslie Frazier
• Phil Loadholt done for the year, career as a Viking?
• Will TJ Clemmings step up?
• Matt Kalil said football is fun again
• Teddy looked sharp & in command
• Was it Zach Line’s birthday?
• McKINNON MAY NEVER SCORE AN NFL TD
• WTF, Cordarrelle?
• Stefon Diggs is a lot of fun to watch
• Blanton is going to start, but it’s close
• Marcus Sherels is under-appreciated. We don’t deserve him.
• We are very lucky to have Tom Johnson
• Long snapper: No one cares. Just pick one.
• Taylor Heinicke. Me likey.
• Good things happen when Gerald Hodges is on the field
• Don’t bet against Adam Thielen (You can bet against Fruechte though)
• Eric Kendricks is an animal
• Give me Brian Peters over Mike Mauti & Brandon Watts #SorryNotSorry
Amazon – Bookmark us & show some love!

All that and other “Next Man Up” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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(used w/permission)

I’m a fan of underdog stories.

I’m a fan of hometown heroes.

I’m a fan of hard workers.

I’m a fan of good athletes.

Third-year wide receiver Adam Thielen fits all of the above in my book. I was intrigued by Thielen when the Vikings signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2013, but I really didn’t know that much about him. That year he didn’t make the final cut, but Minnesota signed him to the practice squad. From there, he’s slowly but surely worked his way onto the radar.

I attended training camp in August 2014, and I liked what I saw from Thielen. After interviewing him after a practice, I wrote a feature on the receiver for VT. The following is an excerpt from last year’s post:

Thielen entered his second year ready to make an impression, and he certainly has. His explosiveness, agility and reception accuracy spoke for itself on the practice field, but the receiver stepped onto TCF Field and proved he is ready for the real stuff.

That spotlight came after special teams coach Mike Priefer utilized Thielen on three punt returns in the Vikings’ first 2014 preseason game.

Carl: Wide Receiver
Specifically, Stefon Diggs pushing for slot and punt-return duties. The Vikings are deep at the receiver position, which means there is plenty of competition in a crowded group of pass catchers. Fifth-round pick Diggs has put together a solid camp and is poised to unseat fellow receiver Jarius Wright and punt returner Marcus Sherels for future playing time.

Mike Wallace hasn’t ran more than 100 routes out of the slot in a single season in his career, so with the release of Greg Jennings (who saw plenty of action from the slot last season), it’s likely Diggs, Wright and Adam Thielen who will continue a great battle for coveted slot position reps.

Diggs turned in one of his best performances under the lights on Saturday night at Blakeslee Stadium catching two touchdown passes. The Vikings have also given Diggs some work as a kick and punt returner in camp, after he posted impressive numbers as a return man at Maryland.

Mike Priefer has said Diggs is catching punts better now than he did in college and looks forward to giving him more opportunities as a returner.

Diggs is explosive and can get up field in a hurry once he touches the football. He is a lightning-in-the-bottle type of playmaker who could conceivably take a pre-season punt to the house and turn the pressure up on Vikings’ all-time leading punt returner, Marcus Sherels.

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Training camp is one of my favorite times of the year. It signals the nearing of the regular season, but it’s also a fun atmosphere of seeing new players, different ideas and position battles iron themselves out in a much less pressured situation. This year, I’m spending a week in Mankato, and it’s been a great experience to watch how things have progressed. Here are just a few of my reactions to camp so far:

1. I’m still an Adam Thielen fan
I’ve liked Thielen for the past two years, but this time at camp just solidifies in my mind the threat he really can be if utilized effectively on offense. Thielen has already been used on special teams and I expect to continue seeing Coach Priefer do that; however, I’m really hoping to see him get a chance as a more regular receiver as the season gets underway. Sometimes I think people forget about how fast he is.  The Minnesota native is incredibly quick, a solid route runner, and has been making some impressive catches at camp. During Monday afternoon’s full-pads practice, Thielen was all over the field (in a good way) and caught at least one reception of each of the four quarterbacks. I can’t wait to see how he can be used when the regular season kicks off.

2. I’m still not a Matt Kalil fan
I just can’t get over how much I’m frustrated by Kalil and his lack of production. Granted, I will say that I’ve seen him putting in quite a bit of extra work with assistant offensive line coach Hank Fraley. So, I can’t give a poor grade on effort, at least in that sense. I don’t know if it’s a mental thing, a coachability issue or just lack of talent, but there is still much left wanting from Kalil. He’s still unable to hold guys at the line, and if we’re seeing these issues during camp I don’t have high hopes for them being any different during the year.

3. Adrian Peterson is picking up where he left off
It’s so great to see Adrian Peterson back on the field without all of the drama. I will admit, I had no interest in having Peterson back on the team. In many ways, I was ready to see Minnesota trade him and move on. Being at camp, though, it’s hard to not get excited about the potential the Vikings have with a top running back returning to the lineup. Peterson looks as physically fit and ready to compete as ever. One of the biggest perks of having AP in my mind is the amount of pressure that he will take off Teddy Bridgewater. Although Peterson is obviously nothing new to Minnesota fans, Bridgewater has not been able to play a season with him and experience the difference it will make.

4. Tyrus Thompson is better than expected
Sixth-round draft picks don’t always make the team, but in this case I feel confident that Thompson will have a spot on the roster. The unofficial depth chart released Tuesday slated Thompson as backup right guard behind Harris, and he has also gotten a few reps at tackle with the threes. There have been some ups and downs as there always are with rookies, but overall Thompson is playing with a lot more strength and wherewithal than a sixth-round option. In my mind, the Vikings got a steal and Thompson will develop into a bit part of the Vikings’ roster.

5. There are still questions surrounding linebacker
In all actuality, I think the Vikings have more depth at the linebacker position than they do in a lot of places. The question, however, remains which rotation will work the best for Minnesota. I’ve seen some good things from Audie Cole, who snagged a pick Tuesday evening, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Gerald Hodges so far, and of course you have Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and veteran Chad Greenway. In all honesty, the biggest disappointment–which I would never have predicted–has been Barr. He seems to be struggling to be 100 percent healthy, and he also looks heavier than last year … and not in a good way. Barr doesn’t seem to have the same hard-working attitude he carried last season, and that worries me. At the end of the day, it will be interesting to see which LBs start and who lines up where.

 

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