Keenan McCardell: Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson like me and Jimmy Smith

Jacksonville Jaguars v Minnesota Vikings
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The Vikings hired longtime NFL wide receiver Keenan McCardell to coach their wide receivers and he feels a special connection to the top two players in the team’s position group.

First-round pick Justin Jefferson had a spectacular rookie season and Adam Thielen caught 14 touchdown passes to set a career high in his seventh season with the team. McCardell said he sees shades of his fruitful partnership with Jimmy Smith on the Jaguars in the 1990s and early 2000s.

“I had this conversation with Adam today,” McCardell said, via Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press. “I was just like, ‘You guys are similar to myself and Jimmy Smith. You guys push each other and have fun playing with each other.’ I want them to continue that because I’ve been a part of that. I understand that. It’s a friendly competition to make each other better.”

McCardell said he views Jefferson as a “blank canvas” and he wants help develop the artist who will fill that in over the coming years. He wants Thielen to “keep reinventing himself” as he moves into the later stages of his career and hitting on both fronts should make for an effective passing offense in Minnesota.

8 responses to “Keenan McCardell: Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson like me and Jimmy Smith

  1. Hate to say it, but I think that Justin Jefferson already shown more TALENT than McCardell ever had.

    Hopefully McCardell can provide useful coaching on how to maximize your ability in route running, exploiting DBs tendencies, etc, which comes from experience.

    But if you take a veteran like Thielen who himself is a GREAT route runner, and has MANY years of experience… it makes me wonder… how is it that a guy like McCardell has much to offer him in instruction?

    Unless McCardell has somehow gains many many years of great coaching experience and insight in “developing” WRs over the year.

    Some coaching things I just don’t get.

  2. 2ruefan..You should have trusted your first instinct and not said it. Keenan McCardell was the Adam Thielen, and Jimmy Smith was the Justin Jefferson.

  3. He obviously taught Theilen how to stretch without injuring himself for a season, so that’s a plus.

  4. Wow never before gave I heard of two teammates at the same position, one a vet and one a took, pushing each other. This is quite the story in MN these days.

  5. I’d say a comparison of Cris Carter late in his career and Randy Moss. Take it easy….I didn’t just say Thielen and JJ are HOF. Well, maybe JJ…

  6. pmgfootball32 says:
    February 10, 2021 at 9:09 am
    would Vikings fan do Kirk to Carolina for the #8 overall pick, Teddy, and a 5th?
    I would not. That’s basically saying the Vikings would draft the QB of the future at either #8 or #14, and having Teddy hold the spot for a couple years. The Vikings would have to just dump the roster if that was the case. Cousin’s is playing at a much higher level than Teddy is. Although, I don’t see it as a “terrible” trade, since Teddy’s contract is cap savings after 2021, if a team wanted to move on to a rookie. But again, that would mean the Vikings have decided to rebuild. That’s at least one year too early to think about, based upon the fact that Hunter, Barr (unless cut or traded) and Pierce will be back on D, with the DB’s having another year of experience.

  7. Everything you hear from the Jags and from his college coaching days is positive. Don’t have to be a superstar player to be a good coach. Stephon Diggs still raves about his coaching in college, particularly route-running.

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