Thielen, Diggs Both Out of Practice For Vikings Ahead of Showdown With 49ers
Concerns About Thielen, Diggs Ahead Of Vikings Vs. 49ers Matchup
Just days removed from a game that changed the narrative for Kirk Cousins, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback now has serious concerns about his top two receivers heading into the team’s biggest game of the year.
With Stefon Diggs sitting out practice for the second straight day with an illness, Adam Thielen now faces an obstacle of his own after suffering an ankle injury that will likely require stitches during Wednesday’s practice.
Most recently, Thielen was listed as limited on Minnesota’s injury report. However, both Thielen and Diggs are expected to be on the field when the Vikings take on the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.
Will They Be At 100%?
The question for both players is whether or not they’ll be at 100 percent.
If Cousins has any chance of repeating his big performance in a Wild Card round victory over New Orleans, he’ll need both his star receivers on the field.
Star Receiving Duo Vital to Cousins’ Success
If not for injuries to both Thielen and Diggs throughout the regular season, Minnesota may very well have earned the NFC North crown and even a bye week in the playoffs.
Thielen had the tougher year of the two, as the receiver followed up a Week 7 hamstring issue by aggravating the injury in Week 9. After the latter problem, the Vikings shut Thielen down for six weeks.
Now, Cousins needs his star receivers on the field more than ever as he leads Minnesota against one of the NFL’s premier defenses.
Niners Have The Second-Ranked Defense In The League
Throughout the regular season, San Francisco owned the second-ranked defense in the league, allowing just 282 yards per game. They were also ranked eighth in scoring defense by allowing 19.4 points per game.
More relevant to the health concerns of Thielen and Diggs is the fact that San Francisco was the top overall defense against the pass by letting up 169 yards per game through the air.
That stat is even more daunting when you consider the 49ers were often playing with the lead, meaning opposing offenses were forced into throwing the football more.
If Cousins is able to penetrate this suffocating defense, he’ll need both his weapons on the outside.
Vikings Have No Chance If One Receiver Can’t Go
In 15 games played, Diggs was able to rack up 63 catches for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns. In 10 games played, Thielen caught 30 balls for 418 yards and six touchdowns.
Either player is great on his own, but both are necessary to give the Vikings a shot on Saturday. Why? Because if only one receiver is healthy enough to go, the 49ers will be happy to give that player extra attention.
And with Richard Sherman likely covering one of these receivers every play, the Vikings will need another playmaker in the passing game to move the chains or come up with a big play like the overtime bomb to Thielen that set up the game-winning score on Sunday.
Keep An Eye On Thielen
With both receivers on the field, the Vikings are an offense that can spread even the best of defenses thin by having to account for Thielen, Diggs, and running back Dalvin Cook. Without one of those two receivers, the passing game can quickly bog down and give opposing defenses the advantage.
Keep a close eye on Thielen as we approach Saturday’s game. If there are any further complications with his ankle injury or if he isn’t at 100 percent, the seven-point dog Vikings will feel like even bigger long shots.