Yet there was one specific area where the Viking wide receiver seemed to always fare well against an opposing defense.
According to Pro Football Focus, Thielen was one of the league’s best wide receivers on double moves, a concept the site described as the following:
The double move is a deception route where you are trying to draw the defender up and then beat him over the top. These routes consist of the Quick Out and Up, the Out and Up, the Slant and Go, and the Hitch and Go. In order to run the route well, you need to have both sufficient patience to draw the defender in, and enough explosiveness to blow by him. These are slower-developing routes that require the offensive line to give the QB time to throw the ball down the field. QBs typically throw these routes on a five- or seven-step dropback.
Bears wide receiver Cameron Meredith was rated as the league’s best player on double moves, while Thielen was the honorable mention.
PFF’s Eliot Crist wrote:
Thielen’s double moves were lethal. He caught 3 of 4 targets for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 46.33 yards per catch, 16.33 yards after the catch, with a WR rating of 156.3. Thielen caught 32 of 41 targets, which like Meredith, forced defenders to play his routes, giving Thielen the opportunity to take advantage of the defenders.
Rudolph’s recognized for strong work ethic on field
The Vikings tight end plays a rugged position in which he’s asked to go up against opposing linebackers and safeties, whether out running routes or blocking in the trenches.
WalterFootball.com recently tabbed Rudolph as the Blue Collar Player of the Year, an award given to a player who constantly brings his lunch bucket and hard hat to the field each game.
The site wrote:
The talented tight end worked very hard the previous offseason to avoid injuries, and it worked brilliantly. Playing all 16 games for the third time in six seasons, Rudolph set career-high figures, catching 83 passes for 840 yards. That's remarkable, considering that Rudolph spent a lot of time blocking as well. Despite all of this, Rudolph somehow didn't get voted into the Pro Bowl, which was ridiculous.
Rudolph set a handful of records during his successful season. In addition to catching 83 passes, a single-season franchise record for a tight end, Rudolph is also atop the Vikings record books for touchdown catches by a tight end with 29.