Over my next few articles, I will highlight where a few current Vikings land on the Franchise’s Career Leaderboards and who they could potentially be passing this season. I’m also going to look at some of the Franchise’s Single-Season Records that could be in jeopardy of falling this year with the expanded 17-game schedule. To be clear, all of the stats that I will be listing are only the stats these players accumulated throughout their Vikings playing career. Any stats earned while playing for another franchise will be excluded.
To begin this series, I wanted to look at Adam Thielen and his rank in relation to some of the other historic wide receivers that have played in Minnesota.
Current Total & Vikings Rank: 412/7th
After two weeks of the 2021 season, Adam Thielen has accounted for 412 receptions as a Minnesota Viking, good for seventh place on the all-time list. He will almost certainly pass Jake Reed on Sunday, needing only one catch to tie him or two to pass him outright. I think it’s very realistic that we could see Thielen pull in the 66 receptions needed throughout the remainder of the season to pass both Kyle Rudolph’s 453 and Anthony Carter’s 478 this season.
If he manages to pass both of them, Steve Jordan is next on the list with 498. Thielen would need to end the season with 101 receptions to tie that mark, not impossible, but unlikely looking at Thielen’s historical numbers and the emergence of Justin Jefferson. Once he does pass Steve Jordan, whether it be this season or next, he has a little way to go before catching Moss’ 587 and Cris Carter’s mind-boggling 1004! Never say never, but it would take a miracle for Thielen to be able to catch Carter at his current pace.
Current Total & Vikings Rank: 5,371/8th
We are two weeks into the 2021 season, and Adam Thielen currently has 5,371 career receiving yards as a Minnesota Viking, good for eighth place on the Franchise Leaderboard. The great Ahmad Rashad is next up on the list, and to be honest, the only player I am 100% confident Thielen will pass this season barring any injuries. Thielen needs just 118 more yards this season to match Rashad’s 5,489 career mark.
After Rashad, the gap swells to a great season needed to keep climbing. Thielen is currently 936 yards behind Steve Jordan’s 6,307, 1,029 behind Sammy White’s 6,400, and 1,062 behind Jake Reed’s career total of 6,433. While I won’t say that those are entirely out of reach, Thielen would need to hit a yardage total he’s only beaten twice in his career and not since 2017. Even if Thielen does climb up to 4th place, like receptions, he has a few season’s worth of production to keep climbing. Anthony Carter is 3rd all-time with 7636, Randy Moss 2nd with 9316, and Cris Carter again stands alone with 12,383 career receiving yards.
Current Total & Vikings Rank: 42/6th
Adam Thielen Led the NFL in 2020 with 14 Receiving TD’s and is off to a great start again this year, coming down with 3TDs through the first two games. This is definitely the Leaderboard that Thielen could make the most significant climb this season. His 42 receiving touchdowns are currently six touchdowns behind recently departed Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph, who had 48 receiving touchdowns after being drafted by Minnesota in 2011. If Thielen can match his league-leading total of 14 from last season, he would also pass Sammy White’s 50 and Anthony Carter’s 52. Unfortunately for Thielen, receiving touchdowns is the category where the franchise dominance of Moss and Carter is on full display. If Thielen ended this season with 14 receiving touchdowns once again, that would bring him to 53 for his Vikings career; still an unreal 47 touchdowns away from catching Randy’s 98 and 57 away from Cris Carter’s franchise-leading 110.
Minnesota Vikings Single-Season Receiving Records
Receptions: 122 Cris Carter (1994,1995)
Receiving Yards: 1,632 Randy Moss (2003)
Receiving Touchdowns: 17 Cris Carter (1995), Randy Moss (1998,2003)
Receptions per Game: 7.6 Cris Carter (1994,1995)
Receiving Yards per Game: 102 Randy Moss (2003)
If we were going to see any of these records fall this season, I think it would be touchdowns or possibly yards. Thielen has been on fire in the redzone over the last couple of seasons and is off to a hot start once again. I wouldn’t put money on it, but 18 touchdowns this season does seem attainable over 17 games if the Kirk to Thielen connection continues to hold up as it has. As far as the Yardage mark goes, it’s possible that Thielen or Jefferson hit 1,633 yards this season, needing to average 96.06 yards per game throughout the season. As I said, unlikely that we see any of these marks fall, but far from impossible.