Minnesota Vikings: How will offense look without Adam Thielen?

Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images /

With the Minnesota Vikings entering Week 8 without wide receiver Adam Thielen, here’s how the offense might look for the Vikings on Thursday Night Football.

The Minnesota Vikings will return to action in Week 8 of the 2019 NFL season on Thursday Night Football at home in Minneapolis. The Vikings will look to stay hot as of late while welcoming the struggling Washington Redskins to town on the national stage.

Minnesota, which will enter the game riding a three-game winning streak and is currently undefeated in front of its home crowd so far in 2019, will be without one key member of its offensive unit in the contest against Washington.

After being held out of practice on Wednesday, Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was officially downgraded to out for the Thursday Night Football game against the Redskins after the wideout suffered a hamstring injury during the first quarter of Minnesota’s win over the Detroit Lions in Week 7 of the year last Sunday afternoon in Detroit.

For the Vikings, who are heavy favorites over the Redskins in the game on their home field, Thielen’s absence will be felt throughout the contest but likely won’t limit Minnesota throughout the course of the night.

Thielen will be sitting out the first game of his six-year career to this point after putting a string of five straight campaigns together where he appeared in all 16 games for the Vikings. So far in seven games in 2019, Thielen has hauled in a total of 391 yards through the air on 27 receptions and 40 targets, grabbing six touchdowns and averaging 14.5 yards per reception so far this year.

With Thielen now officially out in the game, what could the offense look like and what could we expect from the Vikings passing attack during the matchup on Thursday night? Let’s take a dive into answering that question and look at a few options Minnesota will lean on.

As we saw in the final three quarters of last week’s game against the Lions on the road, the Vikings relied on the rest of the supporting cast around Thielen within the passing game and behind quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Led by Cousins and his receivers, the Vikings still looked impressive without one of their top targets out of the game with his hamstring injury. Minnesota turned to options consisting of wide receivers Stefon Diggs and rookie Olabisi Johnson, tight ends Kyle Rudolph and rookie Irv Smith Jr., and even running back Dalvin Cook out of the backfield.

Although being without Thielen will hurt the Vikings, the fact that they are facing a team like Washington helps in still trying to obtain a win at home with one of their key pieces on offense not taking part in the nationally televised contest.

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Minnesota only hopes that heading into a Week 9 contest with nearly two full weeks of rest, that it will get its homegrown product in Thielen back on the field and healthy — while riding a four-game winning streak and sitting at 6-2 overall at the same time — prior to the Vikings traveling to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs.