When Vikings receiver Adam Thielen went down at practice three days ago, some thought he’d suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon or a torn ACL. The good news what that neither critical item of bodily structure was compromised. The bad news is that Thielen ended up with four stitches in his lower leg, according to NFL Media.
Whether it sparked panic from some players (as NFL Media reported) or simply the air coming out of the balloon of a spririted, upbeat practice (as we’ve heard), Thielen’s availability immediately was in doubt.
Per the report, a teammate’s cleat broke through Thielen’s shoe and sock covering the back of his left heel and lacerated his skin. And the cut was close enough to the Achilles tendon to prompt a second opinion from Dr. Robert Anderson as to whether the tendon would be compromised if he plays. Thielen also spent time in a walking boot.
Thielen told NFL Media that he plans to “focus on what I can control and just try to get as close to a hundred percent physically as I can, and then let it ride.”
Asked whether he can be himself against the 49ers, Thielen said, “Yeah, I think so. I don’t know. We’ll see. We’ll find out on Saturday.”
So the overriding questions are: (1) can he play?; and (2) if he can play, how well will he be able to play? The Vikings will obviously need to wrap the wound to protect it from external trauma, but as Thielen cuts and runs and stops and starts, the stitches could be compromised.
Thielen missed five games in the regular season with a hamstring injury, and he made a cameo appearance in a sixth. Without him, the Vikings won four and lost two — at Kansas City and at Seattle. Today’s game falls into the category of the kind of game they’d be more likely to lose without him.
But the Detroit Lakes, Minnesota native who went to Minnesota State, was undrafted (and uninvited to the Combine), and has become one of the most reliable receivers in the NFL already has beaten odds far longer than a overcoming a three-day-old flesh wound.