The Minnesota Vikings are 1-1 heading into their Week 3 matchup, where they are hosting the Detroit Lions. After looking unstoppable on offense against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, winning 23-7, they came crashing back down to Earth in Week 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Eagles controlled the tempo and pace of the game from the start, winning 24-7. Minnesota was stifled for pretty much the entire evening except for one drive, where they gained 75 of their 264 total yards.
Kirk Cousins, who was excellent against Green Bay, was under siege most of the evening against the Eagles. He was sacked two times and hit seven, throwing three interceptions in the process. Two of those interceptions were targeting Justin Jefferson, who was held in check by Darius Slay and the Eagles’ secondary after torching the Packers.
The leading receiver for the Vikings in Week 2 was Adam Thielen, who caught four of his seven targets for 52 yards. However, his first target didn’t come until the third quarter, when the Vikings abandoned the run and tried to throw their way back into the game, and it resulted in an interception.
It was the second straight game that Jefferson dominated the target share, as Thielen was still behind tight end Irv Smith Jr. against Philadelphia. Smith was targeted eight times, while Jefferson saw 12.
In Week 1, it was much of the same. Cousins predominantly looked at Jefferson. Thielen saw only four targets, which was tied with K.J. Osborn for third on the Vikings. Dalvin Cook was second with five.
Getting Thielen more involved will help this offense avoid becoming stagnant as it did Monday night in Philadelphia. Teams are going to begin keying in on Jefferson more and more to make sure that he doesn’t beat them and Minnesota should counter and get Thielen more involved.
The former undrafted free agent out of Minnesota State has taken a backseat to Jefferson, which is understandable. But, he should still easily be the team’s No. 2 option in the passing game.
Through two games Jefferson has more than doubled Thielen in targets, as he has 23 and Thielen is tied for second on the team with Cook as both have 11. Smith is right behind them with 10 as Cousins has already targeted 10 different receivers this season.
Thielen has shown previously in his career that he can produce when he is the No. 1 option. The Vikings need to take more advantage of having a player of his caliber as a No. 2 option now behind Jefferson.