Don't look now, but Adam Thielen is one of the old guys.
You know, by NFL standards. Thielen will celebrate his 31st birthday on Aug. 22, but the receiver has shown no signs of slowing down entering his eighth season with the Vikings.
CBS Sports' Jordan Dajani agrees. He recently assembled an "NFL All 30 and Over Offensive Team," and he named Thielen, Julio Jones and Marvin Jones as the team's three receivers. Dajani wrote:
Thielen is still one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL. He recorded a career-high 1,373 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2018, but then missed six games due to injury the following season. Without Stefon Diggs to work off of and [with Thielen] turning 30, some thought [he] could take a step backwards, but that did not happen. Thielen put up 925 yards and a whopping 14 touchdowns – which ranked third among all receivers. His AV (approximate value) of 8 ranked second among all receivers considered for this list.
Vikings fans are plenty familiar with Marvin Jones, as well, being that he spent the past five seasons in Detroit. Jones signed with Jacksonville as a free agent this spring, though, meaning Minnesota won't see him this season.
Jones caught a career-high 76 passes for 978 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020. While the Lions haven't been the most fun team to watch in the NFL, Jones has been a consistent playmaker when healthy. He played in all 16 games for the first time in three years last season, and showed no signs of slowing down. Jones has caught nine touchdowns in three out of the past four years and should be a trusted target of rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Dajani named Aaron Rodgers as the "30 over 30" quarterback, and he used the single running back spot on former Viking Adrian Peterson. The 36-year-old also was with the Lions in 2020 but is currently a free agent.
His reputation precedes him, as Peterson is fifth on the NFL's all-time rushing list, a former MVP and still owns the NFL record for most rushing yards in a single game. There were several players we could have picked for this spot who are a bit younger and still on rosters, but Peterson just refuses to slow down. He's two years removed from a 1,000-yard season, and rushed for more touchdowns last year than players like David Johnson, Kareem Hunt, Ezekiel Elliott and James Conner. At 33 and 34-years-old, Peterson was the most consistent weapon on a Washington offense that was lacking, and [he's] still someone I would sign if I was looking for a running back at this point in the offseason.
To see Dajani's full lineup, including his second-team picks, click here.
Shook: Vikings fans should be 'encouraged' by Barr's confidence
Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr recently joined FOX 9’s Jim Rich for an interview, during which he expressed his confidence in the team Minnesota has put together for 2021.
"I really do believe that we have a Super Bowl-winning team this year," Barr told Rich. "Obviously there's a lot of steps to get to that point, and I've been through good seasons and bad seasons with this team. But every time we've had a tough year, we've always bounced back. I really feel like this year is going to be special."
NFL.com's Nick Shook delved into Barr’s comments, reminding readers that having a healthy Barr back in and of itself will make a tremendous difference for the Vikings defense. Shook wrote:
Anthony Barr played in just two games in 2020, losing the majority of his season to a torn pectoral muscle and joining the ranks of key Vikings (edge rusher Danielle Hunter being another) who were unable to participate in their disappointing year. Instead of relying on proven contributors, Minnesota was forced to cobble together something resembling an NFL defense, finishing 27thin yards allowed per game and 28thin sacks per pass attempt.
Shook emphasized that it's "not exactly fair" to predict the Vikings 2021 season based off their 7-9 finish in 2020.
Injuries, free-agent departures (interior lineman Linval Joseph left for Los Angeles) and COVID-19-related opt-outs (new arrival Michael Pierce being the most notable) reduced a once-vaunted unit to a shell of itself, and despite having its own collection of playmakers, the Vikings haven't been known as an offensive juggernaut for much of [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer's tenure in Minneapolis.
There's still plenty to learn with this team, of course, but if anything, Vikings fans should be encouraged to hear Barr carry such hope into the new season. Provided they can avoid the health issues that plagued them in 2020, perhaps Barr can prove his rosy outlook prescient this fall.