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Season Rewind: Career Bests by Thielen, Diggs Lead Wide Receivers

View the top 40 Vikings wide receiver photos from 2016.

Just four years after signing with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent, Minnesota native Adam Thielen posted a breakout season, leading the team in receiving yards.

Thielen made 69 catches for 967 yards through the air, the highest total by a Vikings player since Percy Harvin finished the 2011 season with the same number. His five touchdowns also led the receiving corps.

Thielen showed glimpses of earning a larger offensive role in 2015 and became impossible for opponents to ignore last season.

"Adam's kind of sneaky with his routes," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said of Thielen in December. "A lot of times as he comes off the ball, he'll lean into it and break the other way, or lean out and break in. I think he has a good feel of running off the defenders' leverage."

Quarterback Sam Bradford seemed to build an early chemistry with Thielen after joining the Vikings via trade on Sept. 3. Bradford recently described Thielen as "just a really good receiver."

"I think sometimes people underestimate just how good he is," Bradford said. "You look at what he's been able to do this year. You look at when he does receive 1-on-1 coverage, it seems like he wins almost all of the time."

Added Bradford: "When you have a guy like that, and he's constantly getting open and constantly winning at the line of scrimmage, as a quarterback it just gives me a lot of confidence to look in his direction."

Another receiver who connected well with Bradford was Stefon Diggs, who led the Vikings in receptions with 84 for 903 yards and three touchdowns in his second pro season.

Bradford said he appreciated Diggs' ability to move around on the field.

"He plays outside, he plays inside, he's pretty versatile as far as his route tree goes," Bradford said. "He's one of those guys, [that] from the day I got here, I've just really been able to trust."

Cordarrelle Patterson had his most productive season since his NFL debut in 2013, recording 52 catches for 453 yards and two touchdowns. Patterson also retained his reputation on special teams, leading the league in kickoff return average for the third time.

Charles Johnson finished the year with 20 catches for 232 yards.

In his fifth season with the Vikings, Jarius Wright made an appearance in seven games and recorded 11 catches for 67 yards. Against the Bears on Jan. 1, Wright scored his first touchdown since the 2014 season.

Vikings first-round pick Laquon Treadwell was utilized mainly on special teams and recorded one catch on offense before missing the final three games of the season with an injury.

Notable Number:

Diggs, Thielen and tight end Kyle Rudolph became the first Vikings trio to tally more than 800 receiving yards apiece since Sammy White, Ahmad Rashad and tight end Joe Senser accomplished the feat in 1981.

Memorable Moment:

After Teddy Bridgewater suffered a season-ending knee injury on Aug. 30 and the Vikings acquired Bradford via trade, the quarterback had just two short weeks to transition and prepare for his Minnesota debut against the Packers in the Vikings season opener.

Early in the second quarter, Bradford stepped back in the pocket on third-and-4. Bradford, despite plenty of pressure, found Rudolph and fired with precision.

Rudolph snagged the perfectly placed 8-yard pass in the end zone over Packers safety Morgan Burnett.

Bradford's first touchdown pass in purple was the first of seven times he would connect with Rudolph for scores in 2016. The play earned him a warm welcome from more than 66,000 fans at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"That's one of the best atmospheres I've probably ever played in," Bradford said. "The building was rocking. Our fans were tremendous."

2016 Receiving Stats:

Stefon Diggs84 catches, 903 yards, 3 touchdowns

Kyle Rudolph (TE)83 catches, 840 yards, 7 touchdowns

Adam Thielen69 catches, 967 yards, 5 touchdowns

Cordarrelle Patterson52 catches, 453 yards, 2 touchdowns

Jerick McKinnon (RB)43 catches, 255 yards, 2 touchdowns

Matt Asiata (RB)32 catches, 263 yards, 0 touchdowns

Charles Johnson20 catches, 232 yards, 0 touchdowns

Jarius Wright11 catches, 67 yards, 1 touchdown

Rhett Ellison (TE)9 catches, 57 yards, 0 touchdowns

Ronnie Hillman* (RB)4 catches, 43 yards, 0 touchdowns

Adrian Peterson (RB)3 catches, 8 yards, 0 touchdowns

Laquon Treadwell1 catch, 15 yards, 0 touchdowns

MyCole Pruitt* (TE)1 catch, 7 yards, 0 touchdowns

Sam Bradford (QB)1 catch, 5 yards, 0 touchdowns

David Morgan (TE)1 catch, 4 yards, 0 touchdowns

*Denotes a player who was not with the Vikings the entire 2016 season.

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