Adam Thielen out for Vikings vs. Steelers with Ankle Injury Suffered vs. Lions

Doric SamDecember 8, 2021

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 28: Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen will miss Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The team listed him as out on its injury report.

Minnesota Vikings @Vikings

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Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters that the 31-year-old suffered a sprained ankle in the Week 13 loss to the Detroit Lions. He went down on the team's first offensive drive, injuring his left ankle when he was tackled after catching a screen pass on third down.

Thielen is one of the go-to targets for Viking quarterback Kirk Cousins. Through 12 games, he ranks second on the team with 64 receptions, 686 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Along with Justin Jefferson, he is part of one of the most potent wide receiver tandems in the NFL. Jefferson leads the team with 78 catches for 1,209 yards and seven TDs.

Thielen has spent his entire eight-year career in Minnesota. He emerged in the 2016 season and has recorded 60 or more receptions in a season five times, including this year. He holds the NFL record for most consecutive games with 100 or more receiving yards to start a season with eight. That number is also the overall record for 100-yard receiving games, which he shares with Calvin Johnson.

The Minnesota State product earned back-to-back Pro Bowl selections in 2017 and 2018, and he recorded 91 catches for 1,276 yards and four scores in 2017 and followed with 113 receptions for 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns the following year. He notched a career-high 14 touchdowns in 2020.

Thielen's absence is a blow to Minnesota's playoff hopes. At 5-7, it remains in contention in the NFC but will have a hard time competing without one of its top options on the outside.

Jefferson will remain the Vikings' No. 1 receiver, but defenses will be able to focus on him more while Thielen is out.

Second-year receiver K.J. Osborn will have to fill Thielen's role and take pressure off Jefferson. The Miami product has 35 receptions for 412 yards and three touchdowns this season.