In 2018, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs combined for 2,394 yards and 18 touchdowns.
It’s worth arguing that the wide receiver duo is the league’s best, but former receiver turned NFL.com analyst James Jones ranked them second overall. Jones wrote:
Minnesota has two of the best route runners in the game right now – their 2018 numbers prove as much. Thielen’s record-setting season saw him lead the NFL with 69 receptions from the slot, while Diggs ranked sixth with 73 catches when aligned out wide. Because of their devotion to technique and perfecting their craft, this pair should have no problem reaching the same production levels from a year ago – even if [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer wants to run the ball more.
Diggs and Thielen were ranked by Jones below the Browns duo of Odell Beckham, Jr., and Jarvis Landry, who have yet to play an NFL game together.
Jones pointed out that Beckham + Landry, Diggs + Thielen and New England’s Julian Edelman and Demaryius Thomas, are the NFL’s only three current receiver duos to have each logged 100-catch seasons in their careers.
Rounding out Jones’ list was Keenan Allen and Mike Williams (Chargers) at No. 3, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods (Rams) at No. 4 and Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams (Raiders) at No. 5.
Coller ranks Vikings position groups by ‘most intriguing’
As the Vikings prepare to kick off Verizon Vikings Training Camp (rookies report to Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center on July 22), certain position groups have generated a little more outside buzz than others.
Matthew Coller of SKOR North weighed in on the topic, ranking Minnesota’s different positions based on the amount of “intrigue” at this point in the offseason. He topped the list with the Vikings wide receivers and listed the defensive line second. Coller wrote of the defensive line:
The front four is set with Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Shamar Stephen and Linval Joseph, but beyond the starters there are all sorts of questions. Mike Zimmer said he plays to expand the role of Stephen Weatherly. Could we see him play in similar spots as Brian Robison did in 2017? Or will he be giving Everson Griffen more series off than he’s had in the past? Also, with the Vikings losing Sheldon Richardson to free agency, the Vikings will have to use a rotation at the three-technique position. Whether the players mixing in will be those with limited experience like Jaleel Johnson or Jalyn Holmes or 2018 UDFA Hercules Mata’afa or 2019 sixth-round pick Armon Watts isn’t easy to figure.
And where does Ifeadi Odenigbo fit in? He was cut after a strong camp last year, but the Vikings brought him back. Does 2018 draft pick Ade Aruna, who was injured last year, have a shot? Is this Tashawn Bower’s last chance?
Coming behind defensive linemen, Coller listed (in this order) running back, cornerback, offensive line, tight end, quarterback, special teams, linebacker and safety.
Coller said that Anthony Harris “was terrific” playing opposite Harrison Smith last season when Andrew Sendejo – who departed this spring in free agency – was injured.
The most noteworthy part of the safety position is Jayron Kearse’s role. Will he be a “big nickel,” or is there a bigger role in store?
View photos of Vikings players and friends showing off their tattoos in honor of National Tattoo Day.
Vikings Legends help host youth football camp
Two Vikings Legends helped host a recent youth football camp in Worthington, Minnesota.
The Globe’s Doug Wolter covered the Vikings camp that took place at Worthington High School on Monday and Tuesday. Among the camp coaches were former Vikings cornerback Rufus Bess (1983-88) and former tackle Mike Harris, who played for Minnesota from 2014-15. Wolter wrote:
[Bess and Harris] were joined in Worthington this week by several coaches and high school and college players, all pumping fundamentals into local youth in the hot summer sun.
The camp lured young would-be athletes from far and wide. Kari Fechter of Estherville, Iowa, brought her 10-year-old son Kaden to camp, plus five other kids from northwest Iowa.
“They’ve been very receptive,” Bess told Wolter of the camp participants that ranged from age 6 to 15. “They just need to keep grinding, keep putting in work. Because you might not recognize it, but others will recognize it, and you could be the one who can go to the next level.”