Adam Thielen's journey from undrafted free agent to steady NFL player has been well documented.
But after a breakout season in 2016, Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN.com said that should be the benchmark for Thielen going forward.
In other words, Coller wrote, Thielen's big year wasn't a fluke.
With any out-of-nowhere success story, there will be questions about whether Mr. Disney Movie can keep it up once the league adjusts. See: Jeremy Lin or Tim Tebow or Shane Spencer. In this case, the Vikings have nothing to worry about.
Thielen's success didn't come from a small sample size hot streak. It came from repeatable skills like, size/speed, hands, route running and ball-tracking.
At 6-foot-2, and around 210-pounds, Thielen ran a 4.45 40-yard dash and 6.77 three-cone drill. That's the exact same size as Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu except faster in both categories.
Thielen hauled in 69 passes for 967 yards and five touchdowns last season as his role in the offense kept increasing.
Coller said Thielen's game was even more clutch on third down, leading Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford to often look his way.
The Vikings struggled at times to convert when throwing the ball on third downs, but when Bradford targeted Thielen, he often had success. Of 20 third down receptions, 14 turned into first downs and Thielen averaged 10.1 yards per target on third downs. When Bradford threw to anyone other than No. 19, he posted just 4.8 yards per attempt.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur used both (Stefon) Diggs and Thielen in the slot, creating difficult matchups for opponents. If the Vikings add to their receiving corps or see a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2 from Laquon Treadwell, it will allow for even more 1-on-1 matchups for Thielen and Diggs.
U.S. Bank Stadium up for prestigious award
The Vikings sparkling new venue could receive national recognition later this year.
U.S. Bank Stadium has been named a Sports Facility of the Year finalist as part of the Sports Business Awards.
The 1.75-million-square foot facility is highlighted by an ETFE roof that features plenty of natural light, seats that are closest to the action in the NFL and implementation of technologies to boost fan experiences.
The four other finalists are: Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Oklahoma football), Golden 1 Center (Sacramento Kings), Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Dolphins) and Rogers Place (Edmonton Oilers).
Greenway surprises fan in hospital
Chad Greenway brought a smile to a young fan's face Tuesday when the former Vikings linebacker surprised 13-year-old Jamie Ward in a South Dakota hospital.
Ward, who has cerebral palsy, was in the middle of physical therapy when Greenway snuck in the room and gave the seventh grader a hug.
Dave Vilhauer of Hub City Radio captured the moment.
Watch as former Minnesota Viking Chad Greenway surprises Jamie Ward of Aberdeen during his physical therapy session at Sanford on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/sno5bi5wzj
— Dave Vilhauer (@DaveVilhauer) March 21, 2017
Greenway later signed a Purple Vikings jersey for Ward.