Adam Thielen’s Trajectory for MNF Changes

Adam Thielen's Trajectory for MNF Changes
Adam Thielen, 2020.

Earlier today, VikingsTerritory opined Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was unlikely to play on Monday Night Football versus the Chicago Bears.

That opinion may have been inaccurate.

The Vikings released a final injury report on Saturday, classifying Thielen and brash cornerback Bashaud Breeland as Questionable:

Conventional logic suggested Thielen would be designated as Doubtful or Out, nursing a high ankle sprain that typically takes at least two to three weeks to heal. Thielen was injured on December 5th during a loss to the Detroit Lions.

But now, sources tell VikingsTerritory that Thielen will actually play on Monday night.

Adam Thielen
Sep 13, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The news arrives a week and a half after tailback Dalvin Cook defied injury odds, too, shocking Vikings fans by playing on Thursday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cook tabulated the 10th-most yards from scrimmage in Vikings history — with two bad shoulders. As a result, Minnesota survived-and-advanced versus the Steelers, eking out a 36-28 victory over Mike Tomlin’s team.

So, that heroism filters down. Cook — who is considered by teammates as the franchise’s leader on offense — tossed caution to the wind, slicing and dicing a usually-good Steelers defense. The 1st Half of that Vikings-Steelers game was Minnesota’s most impressive stretch of football — by far — in 2021.

If you’re interested in the Vikings wobbling into the playoffs, Monday’s game, like many before it, is close to a must-win. Should Minnesota lose to an understaffed Bears squad, its playoff probability tumbles to a scanty 8% per FiveThirtyEight.com.

In the event the Bears surprise the Vikings, Minnesota would require three consecutive wins — vs. Los Angeles Rams, at Green Bay Packers, and vs. Chicago Bears to reach the postseason. And if they’re not up to the task of beating a COVID-riddled Chicago team, they have no business defeating playoff teams like the Rams and Packers.

But Thielen hopes to change that. Without the Minnesota State alumnus in Week 14, quarterback Kirk Cousins intensely targeted Justin Jefferson, resulting in one the most inaccurate games of Cousins’ 10-year career. Cousins fired up the proverbial “force the ball to Jefferson” philosophy, working at times and resulting in incompletions otherwise.

With or without Thielen, the Vikings are favored by six points to beat the Bears at Soldier Field.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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