There are several factors in play that could lead you towards the opinion that Adam Thielen is ready for a bounceback campaign in 2020. However, there are just as many that should lead you to think the exact opposite. It is these negative factors that you must keep in mind in drafts when you start thinking about adding the Minnesota Vikings man.
Predicting bounceback campaigns for WRs as a whole is a tricky business, especially for players of a certain age. Blair Andrews has done great work in the past looking at this topic, and as Blair found out, the older a player is the less likely a return to form is going to be.
Additionally, although Thielen has a number of things going for him that we look for in breakout candidates,1 the numbers for players returning from injury are not nearly as optimistic as one would hope. The baseline rate for a 30-year-old bounceback is already below 20%. Thielen’s injury history only decreases that likelihood.
With Stefon Diggs now out of the door and living it up in Buffalo, there are 110 available targets from 2019, just begging to find a receiver. Thielen, who endured an injury-hit campaign last season, should be in the box seat to command most of them. But the Vikings did spend a first-round draft pick on a WR, namely Justin Jefferson. They also have an emerging second-year tight end in Irv Smith, while Dalvin Cook and Kyle Rudolph are not going away anytime soon. Well, Cook might, if he carries through with his threatened holdout.