Adam Thielen is a player that most NFL fans love to celebrate. He came up from a UDFA and a local player near Minnesota to a star wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. Thielen entered the NFL in 2014, hit his stride in 2016, and now is 32 years old with plenty of success in the NFL.
Over the past two seasons, he has handed the reigns over to Justin Jefferson as the number one wide receiver. Still, the Vikings have found a good way to let him age gracefully, and get the most out of both Jefferson and Thielen.
Over the past two seasons, Thielen has the highest TD rate against press coverage in the NFL. This makes a lot of sense because Thielen has turned into a red-zone weapon more than a top-tier wide-out.
During his first seven years, Thielen had 25 touchdowns, and over the last two, he has 24. Still, he has not cracked 1,000 yards since 2018, despite Jefferson setting yardage records across from him.
In 2019, Thielen was injured and missed six games. He came back in 2020, but at age 30, and off of an injury, he lost a step. He was still a savvy route runner, though, so the team used him more sparingly and in more key situations.
He became one of the best red zone wide receivers, and they started to line him up on an island against his man to feed him jump balls.
The overall volume went down, but the overall touchdowns shot up. Jefferson would work to get them into the red zone, and Thielen would dunk it home like an alley-oop. The combination makes sense and has helped stretch out the career of Thielen, while many wideouts start to hit a wall around age 30 and 31.
If they continue to use Adam Thielen as a red-zone specialist and keep the tread off of his ties between the 20s, it could extend his career and continue to make him a dominant force in this one specific area.