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Lunchbreak: Thielen Continues to Advance in Offensive Player Rankings

It's no secret that Adam Thielen is getting league-wide attention, and he continues to gain more respect from former NFL quarterback-turned-analyst David Carr.

In this week's offensive player rankings, Carr **bumped Thielen up to No. 10 overall**, up one spot from the Week 14 lineup. Carr wrote:

Right when the Vikings seemed to come up short on offensive answers, Thielen beat defenders for a 52-yard touchdown reception – which should've been at least his second score of the day. The breakout receiver ended the contest – Minnesota's first loss since Week 4 – with six receptions for 105 yards and a TD. He's on pace to have 98 catches for 1,429 yards by season's end. If Thielen hits that mark, he'd join Randy Moss as the second Vikings player in franchise history to have more than 1,400 receiving yards in a season. (Moss did it three times: in 1999, 2000 and 2003.)

Coming in at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in Carr's rankings were Antonio Brown, Tom Brady and Le'Veon Bell, respectively.

Keenum included in 8 'biggest breakout players' in 2017

Case Keenum stepped in at quarterback in Week 2 and has started all but one game – he played the second half at Chicago – since.

So far this season, Keenum is 270-of-404 passing for 18 touchdowns, seven interceptions and an overall passer rating of 96.2. The 29-year-old also has accrued 142 rushing yards and one touchdown on 32 carries.

Mike Renner, who writes for analytics site Pro Football Focus, recently wrote a column for *The Washington Post *in which he **evaluated the “biggest breakout players”** across the league this season. At the top of Renner's list was Keenum. He wrote:

*At some point, I'd expect Keenum to come back down to earth, at least a little bit. This is so far and away the best football we've seen from him — he's grading out as a top-10 QB — that it's difficult to think it's sustainable. On the other hand, there are metrics to suggest he shouldn't go back to being a backup anytime soon. Keenum has the fourth-highest completion percentage of any quarterback under pressure (54.4 percent) and is sacked just 8.8 percent of the time he's pressured, the second-lowest rate in the NFL. *

Also included on Renner's list were Rams RB Todd Gurley, Eagles WR Nelson Agholor, Panthers T Daryl Williams, Eagles C Jason Kelce, Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence, Lions LB Tahir Whitehead and Bills S Jordan Poyer.

Vikings fan builds U.S. Bank Stadium replica … out of toothpicks

U.S. Bank Stadium is certainly a one-of-a-kind venue.

But that being said, one fan **built a smaller version of the Vikings new home** … out of toothpicks.

According to the Star Tribune's *Richard Chin, *it took Greg Kelly seven months to complete the 4-foot-long replica. Kelly, a 66-year-old retired hobby shop owner, used balsa wood, bamboo skewers, strips of wood from a corner crate and approximately 6,400 toothpicks. Chin wrote:

[Kelly's] kept himself busy in Minnesota by making scratch-built models of local landmarks such as the Swede Hollow Café in St. Paul or the Cup and Cone ice cream shop in White Bear Lake.

Kelly's work on his toothpick stadium began after he made a couple of trips to the real arena this year to take photos and make sketches of the unusual angles of the building's roofline.

Next he built a rough, palm-sized model of the model before constructing a detailed venue suitable for HO-scale football players and termites.

Kelly told Chin that the project helped keep him positive when he learned this summer that prostate cancer he defeated once through chemotherapy had returned.

To read the full story and view photos of Kelly's model, click **here**

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