With Thielen missing all but nine snaps in last Sunday's win at Detroit, it was Johnson who saw the increase in playing time. Johnson logged a career-high 52 snaps and was able to haul in four catches for 40 yards, including his first career touchdown. Johnson is likely to see another heavy workload on Sunday.
Kirk Cousins targeted his tight ends 12 times last week, completing 10 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown was Kyle Rudolph's, the first of 2019 for the veteran tight end. Rudolph has been a key cog in the blocking for an explosive Vikings rushing attack, but last week was the most he was targeted (six) in the passing game, and he cashed in with five grabs for 58 yards and the score.
Irv Smith, Jr.
The Vikings rookie tight end was also involved last week with Thielen sidelined for most of the game. Smith, Jr. recorded season highs in targets (six) and receptions (five), and hauled in a 28-yarder, which was the second-longest play of the day for the Vikings offense.
If last week was any indication, the Vikings offense will be up to the challenge of stepping up for Thielen. Quarterback Kirk Cousins spread out the five touchdowns to five different players, including fullback CJ Ham. A couple of other playmakers at running back – Ameer Abdullah and Alexander Mattison are also eager to get in on the action. Then you have receiver Laquon Treadwell and tight end Tyler Conklin who will be prepared to increase their roles if called upon.