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Goal-line receiving

No Thielen should mean more Jefferson, Conklin

Adam Thielen isn’t playing tonight. That should translate into more looks for other Minnesota players when the team is around the goal line – guys like Justin Jefferson and Tyler Conklin. But looking at the season-long numbers, those guys have been heavily used as is.

Thielen, of course, is a legend in that part of the field. He’s always had a strong rapport with Kirk Cousins in that area. Thielen caught 14 touchdowns last year, and inside the 10 this year, he’s caught 9 of the 10 passes thrown his way, including 6 TDs.

There have been 50 players this year who’ve seen at least 8 targets inside the 10, and only six of them have scored on at least half of their targets. Thielen is one of those guys, and the three other wide receivers who’ve done it are all guys who everyone was thinking about back in August – Evans, Hopkins, Hill. (Those six players are tagged with black dots.)

But Jefferson has been used a lot more in that part of the field than he was as a rookie. He’s seen 14 targets, in fact, tying for 3rd-most in the league. And Conklin has seen a healthy 8. With Thielen sidelined tonight, the odds of those guys being asked to make a big play around the goal line go up tonight. (And that’s also true for K.J. Osborn, who’l likely play a much bigger role.

Below see the stats for those 50 players. These are home-cooked numbers, and I’ve blended 2-point conversions in with the touchdowns. The final column shows the team totals.

PLAYERS WITH 8 TARGETS INSIDE THE 10-YARD LINE
PlayerTgtNoTDEZ%Team
C.Kupp, LAR1712635%57-30-16
C.Godwin, TB1511213%64-38-19
S.Diggs, BUF148429%51-33-16
J.Jefferson, MIN147321%40-25-14
C.Claypool, PIT14600%60-37-12
P.Freiermuth, PIT1311646%60-37-12
H.Renfrow, LV1310323%43-25-9
M.Williams, LAC125325%46-27-17
D.Adams, GB128325%47-27-12
M.Andrews, BAL116545%28-14-11
K.Allen, LAC117436%46-27-17
R.Cobb, GB114436%47-27-12
T.Kelce, KC1110327%52-37-15
J.Meyers, NE119218%37-24-9
C.Sutton, DEN11619%43-21-9
• A.Thielen, MIN109660%40-25-14
• M.Evans, TB108660%64-38-19
• D.Hopkins, ARI106550%36-21-10
• T.Hill, KC108550%52-37-15
J.Waddle, MIA107440%52-33-17
J.Chase, CIN106330%38-25-13
G.Bernard, TB107330%64-38-19
D.Waller, LV105220%43-25-9
M.Pittman, IND104220%44-25-12
Z.Pascal, IND104220%44-25-12
T.Higbee, LAR105220%57-30-16
D.Mooney, CHI104110%29-14-6
B.Cooks, HOU108110%39-24-6
V.Jefferson, LAR103110%57-30-16
• D.Knox, BUF97556%51-33-16
D.Moore, CAR97444%30-18-9
T.Hockenson, DET96444%38-26-11
J.Doyle, IND96333%44-25-12
D.Schultz, DAL98333%47-31-13
R.Woods, LAR95333%57-30-16
D.Johnson, PIT96333%60-37-12
A.Green, ARI93111%36-21-10
T.Patrick, DEN92111%43-21-9
K.Pitts, ATL93111%48-27-10
• H.Henry, NE85450%37-24-9
B.Aiyuk, SF84338%32-14-9
T.Higgins, CIN84338%38-25-13
T.Conklin, MIN85338%40-25-14
M.Gaskin, MIA85338%52-33-17
C.Lamb, DAL84225%47-31-13
C.Ridley, ATL86225%48-27-10
D.Johnson, HOU84113%39-24-6
J.Agnew, JAX84113%41-19-6
N.Harris, PIT85113%60-37-12
L.Shenault, JAX8400%41-19-6

—Ian Allan

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