Adam Thielen Officially Set to Play Against Chargers
With his lack of inclusion on the Friday injury report, what was expected is now official: Adam Thielen is back.
Having practiced all week without a setback, Thielen will make his much-anticipated return for the Vikings as they take on the Chargers this Sunday in Los Angeles. The hamstring injury that cost him most or all of the last seven games has healed, and hopefully for good.
Although the Vikings were able to go 5-2 during that span, Thielen's absence was obvious in losses to the Chiefs and Seahawks. He's an elite receiver who can get open against any type of coverage and move the chains on third down. His presence should make life easier for Kirk Cousins, not to mention the rest of the Vikings' playmakers, including Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook.
Having Thielen on the field this weekend is especially big, considering the Chargers boast a strong pass defense led by Casey Hayward and Derwin James. Thielen also gives Cousins a quick outlet to find when facing edge pressure from Joey Bosa or Melvin Ingram.
On Wednesday, Cousins talked about Thielen's potential return.
"I think the big difference would just be personnel groupings," Cousins said. "At times where we had [fullback] CJ Ham or a tight end in the game, now you bring Adam in, you're going to have to take one of them out. That's where the difference will be felt or seen, is just the personnel grouping. But as far as the plays or the plan, the way you attack, I don't think it'll be too different. It just gives you probably a little more versatility so that defenses aren't able to say, 'the ball's probably going to this person or this direction on this route.' With more players, with Adam coming back, they have to defend more and stay honest more."
"I would like to think that Adam Thielen is going to help our offense. If nothing else, the corners, the safeties, the linebackers, the defense, they have to honor the fact that he’s on the field opposite Stefon Diggs. You have to cover and be aware of that many more people who have put good stuff on tape in the past.”
Video: Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook talk about the return of Thielen
Thielen's return will begin at 3:05 central time on Sunday.