There are only a handful of wide receivers in the NFL who can claim to be the best in the world, and Adam Thielen has cemented himself in that conversation.
Thielen's seven receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota's 23-21 road win over the Eagles on Sunday made him the first player since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970 with 100+ yards in five straight games to start a season.
Not bad for a guy who was barely recruited out of Detroit Lakes High School and didn't receive an invitation to the NFL Combine after a great career at Division II Minnesota State-Mankato.
Thielen can legitimately say he's right up there with Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr. and DeAndre Hopkins as the best receiver in the world.
What about Stefon Diggs? Well, even he'll admit that Thielen has been the man in Minnesota.
Since the start of the 2017 season, Thielen has 138 catches for 1,865 yards and seven touchdowns. This year, he's on pace for 150 catches, 1,885 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Thomas can surpass pretty much everyone when he plays with the Saints Monday night, but Thielen currently ranks first in receptions, second in yards, tied third in gains of 20+ yards and first in catches turned into first downs.
Peter King has Thielen fifth in his MVP rankings at Pro Football Talk. King writes:
"Five games, five 100-yard receiving games, the first time in the last 50 years that’s happened to start the season. He’s here, too, because of his value to the team, as shown by his recovery of the onside kick to ensure the Vikings’ 23-21 win at Philadelphia on Sunday. His 47 catches and 589 receiving yards both lead the NFL—though Michael Thomas of the Saints could pass him in one or both categories tonight when he plays his fifth game."
As CBS Sports notes, Thielen has put up pretty much identical numbers to Beckham and Jones over the last 13 games.
It certainly seems that Thielen now believes he's one of the best in the game. He's been seen talking plenty of trash, and on Sunday he was going at it with Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills, whose jock is still likely stuck in the turf at Lincoln Financial Field.
"I always love when guys talk smack after making one play," Thielen said of Mills.
What makes Minnesota even more dangerous is that Diggs is on pace for 112 catches, 1,286 yards and 10 touchdowns. That's bonkers.
Kirk Cousins deserves a lot of the credit, and he's on pace for an astonishing 5,402 yards, 35 touchdown passes and just six interceptions.