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Lunchbreak: Jefferson & Thielen Among NFL's Top 6 Red Zone Receivers

Wide receivers can be evaluated in a number of categories, from speed and route-running ability to catch ability and red zone performance.

Analytics site Pro Football Focus recently delved into the latter, highlighting the NFL’s best wideouts inside the 20-yard line.

View the best photos of Vikings WR Adam Thielen from the 2021 season.

PFF's Bryan Horn topped his list with Seattle's DK Metcalf, who was followed by Vikings veteran Adam Thielen with a red zone receiving grade of 84.3. Horn wrote:

Thielen led the top-25 graded receivers by catching 86.7 [percent] of his 15 red-zone targets. He also found the end zone nine times and was among 10 players who caught 100 [percent] of their catchable targets.

Thielen wasn't the only Viking who made Horn's list, though.

Phenom Justin Jefferson was slated at No. 6 with a red zone grade of 77.6.

The LSU product caught 91.7 [percent] of his catchable targets and 71.4 [percent] of his open targets for 101 yards and seven touchdowns. Jefferson caught 52.4 [percent] of his 21 overall red-zone targets, which ranked 23rdof 25.

Ranked in between Jefferson and Thielen were Cooper Kupp (Rams), DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals) and Davante Adams (Raiders). Thankfully for Minnesota fans, Adams joined the AFC West team after eight successful seasons with the Packers.

Adams caught 18 of his 26 red-zone targets for 110 yards and tied for the second-most touchdowns (10). He averaged only 6.1 yards per reception but caught 76.9 [percent] of his 20 open targets.

Hunter Renfrow (Raiders), Braxton Berrios (Jets), Amon-Ra St. Brown (Lions) and DeAndre Carter (Chargers) rounded out Horn's top 10.

View the best photos of Vikings WR Justin Jefferson from the 2021 season.

NFL.com offers Vikings 'subplots to track' ahead of training camp

As teams around the league prep for their training camp kickoffs, NFL.com is breaking down each division.

Kevin Patra recently tackled the NFC North, providing storylines to follow for the Vikings, Packers, Bears and Lions.

Patra's first two questions centered on the offense, asking how Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook will be utilized by new Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell.

He then spotlighted Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith, who are likely to primarily play outside linebacker in Minnesota's 3-4 system under new Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell. Patra wrote:

If healthy, Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter could be the top pass-rushing tandem in the NFL. But they played a combined eight regular-season games last year. Their health will be key to the Vikings defense recapturing form under Donatell. Elsewhere on defense, how will the corner crew stack up in the new system after last year's struggles under Mike Zimmer?

View the best photos of Vikings DE Danielle Hunter from the 2021 season.

The battle at right guard is intriguing to Patra, who said "solidifying that spot up the middle would be huge" for Cousins' success.

Who will win the battle at right guard? Jesse Davis, Chris Reed and second-round rookie Ed Ingram are vying for the gig. Last year, the position was an Achilles' heel for the Vikings.

And lastly, Patra looked at backup quarterback Kellen Mond, whom the Vikings drafted 66th overall in 2021.

The second-year quarterback might start camp behind veteran Sean Mannion, but I'm interested to see if Mond improves after being in Zimmer's doghouse all of last season and weathering a bout with COVID-19, which put him behind. Can the Texas A&M product show enough improvement with his opportunities to at least win the backup job?

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