Former Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams admits he’s “stinking” at fantasy football this season, but that’s not because of Adam Thielen.
Williams, who will be included in the Vikings Ring of Honor at halftime of Sunday’s game against Cleveland at US Bank Stadium, said Friday after practice at the TCO Performance Center that three of his six fantasy teams have Thylens. The Vikings receiver is second in the NFL with four touchdown catches through three games.
“He’s doing big things and he’s getting better every year, and he’s a touchdown machine,” said Williams, who played for the Vikings from 2003–13, his final season when Thielen was on the practice team. Were. “I told him (Friday), ‘Make sure you keep coming to that (end) zone.’ ”
Thylen is good at making fantasy-football contestants happy. Last season, he caught a career-high 14 touchdowns, finishing third in the NFL.
“I keep laughing at touchdowns,” Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “After the Cincinnati game (when Thielen scored twice in the September 12 opener), I said, ‘You’re starting to be like Chris Carter. Just catching touchdowns over and over again.’ ”
Carter is the career leader of the Vikings with 110 touchdowns; Thielen is sixth with 43 in eight seasons. But with Cousins throwing him away, Thylen figures to climb that list quickly.
Since coming to Minnesota in 2018, Cousins has been involved with Thielen on 33 touchdowns. He has clearly become Cousins’ favorite target in the red zone, even if the quarterback shuts him down.
Cousin said, “I really go where my readers take me, whether it’s Adam a bunch or Justin (Jefferson) a bunch or none of them.”
Consider, however, that Jefferson led the Vikings last season with 88 receptions and 1,400 receiving yards but more than half of Thielen’s seven touchdowns. Thielen took 74 catches for 925 yards last season.
Jefferson has had two touchdown receptions this year, again more than half of Thylen’s. His figures are otherwise the same: Thielen has 21 catches for 181 yards, and Jefferson has 20 for 254 yards.
“(Thelen) a beast,” said Jefferson, known for popularizing the dance “The Griddy” after scoring. “My man, he’s a killer. He knows how to get to the end zone, and I love watching it. I love watching that guy, I love seeing his little grizzlies in the end zone.” He’s funny. I love being a part of it, just learning from the things he’s teaching me, and I’m trying to be that touchdown threat too.”
Meanwhile, Thielen dismisses the notion that he is a “touchdown machine” to quote Williams.
“I don’t know if it’s a habit,” he said of scoring touchdowns. “I guess it’s just opportunity, right? They prepare plays for me and have given me a chance to do that. I don’t think there’s anything more to it than opportunity, right? And then when you get that opportunity If you get it, you have to make the most of it.”
But there’s a reason why Vikings often see Thylen near the end zone. He is known for his excellent hands and for being one of the best route runners in the NFL.
“He’s great at a lot of different things, and you’re looking for your most detail-oriented guy when you hit the red zone, and he’s one of those guys when the windows get small, so you have to It needs to know exactly where he is going to be,” offensive coordinator Clint Kubiak said.
Following Thielen’s fourth 30-17 score in a 2021 win over Seattle last Sunday, the Vikings announced that he was tied for the second-most touchdowns in team history in the first three games of a season. Randy Moss scored five in the first three games in 2004 and Ahmed Rashad scored four in the first three games in 1979 (all came in the opener against San Francisco).
“I respect that kid a lot,” Rashad said of Thelain. “He is a nifty route-runner. He leads great paths, and he has great hands and great concentration. He’s going to grab whatever he has. If you try to defend him face-to-face, he’s going to catch four or five touchdowns in a game.