Lunch Break

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Lunchbreak: Thielen, Diggs Causing Headaches for Opponents

Posted Nov 17, 2017


Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are forcing defenses to account for the threat of the pair of Vikings wide receivers.

The duo has turned into one of the league’s best. The 1,293 combined receiving yards by Thielen and Diggs ranks second in the NFL. The pair’s 87 receptions ranks fifth.

Add it all up, and the Vikings wideouts give opponents a dose of double trouble on Sundays.

Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune recently wrote about the success of Thielen and Diggs, noting that the pair’s leadership skills are also a valuable aspect to the Vikings.

Krammer wrote:

Both players were overlooked for their own reasons: Thielen was an undrafted Division II player at Minnesota State Mankato; Diggs was a five-star recruit turned fifth-round pick by way of injuries and Maryland’s quarterback parade.

They have converged in Minnesota to form a balancing act, harmonizing a Case Keenum-led offense with game-breaking precision and unique skills that create mismatches for tough, precious yards so fleeting for recent Vikings passing attacks.

“The Yin and the Yang, they feed off of each other,” receivers coach Darrell Hazell said this week. “Adam is more vocal in the scheme of things, where Stefon is the energy of the group and drags them along in practice. They bring everybody else with them.”

Krammer added that the duo will face a stern test this Sunday in the Rams secondary.

As the yards pile up, so does the attention from defenses. However, a team has yet to shadow either Diggs or Thielen with its top cornerback throughout a game. Will it happen Sunday? That has been a discussion in the receivers room this week as the Vikings face the Rams and cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who follows receivers for Los Angeles.

“You want that,” Diggs said. “If you get that, it’s obviously a lot of respect.”

Perhaps neither has seen a shadow because the Vikings, recently desperate for one vertical weapon, have developed two of the NFL’s best to lead a strong supporting cast.

“I think it’s tough for a defensive player because they have to bring it on every play,” Thielen said. “They don’t know where the ball is going to go. They can’t really relax on anybody on our offense.”

Thielen is third in the NFL with 793 receiving yards and is tied for seventh with 56 catches. He has at least five receptions in each game this season, and has also scored two touchdowns.

Diggs has 31 receptions for 500 yards to go along with a team-high five scores.

Rhodes ranked as NFL.com’s No. 2 cornerback

Xavier Rhodes is movin’ on up.

Rhodes landed at No. 2 in Ike Taylor’s recent cornerback rankings on NFL.com, a two-spot leap for the Vikings cornerback.

Taylor, an NFL.com analyst and two-time Super bowl winner, releases weekly rankings at the position he played for 12 years.

Taylor wrote:

Rhodes did well against a feisty Redskins attack by only giving up two receptions on five targets for 11 yards. There's a lot on the line this week when the 7-2 Rams come to U.S. Bank Stadium. A big-bodied cornerback, Rhodes will likely line up against Sammy Watkins, who doesn't have a plethora of routes in his job description. Look for wide receiver screens along with post, comeback and go routes.

Rhodes is a key piece of a Vikings defense that ranks fifth in yards per game (294.6) and is tied for fifth in points allowed per game (18.3).

The Rams passing attack ranks sixth with 260.1 passing yards per game. Quarterback Jared Goff ranks eighth in the NFL with 2,385 yards and has thrown 16 touchdowns with four picks.