Minnesota natives Brandon Zylstra, Jake Wieneke impress Mike Zimmer at rookie minicamp with Vikings

Both wide receivers are trying to follow in the footsteps of Adam Thielen.
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Imagine a future Vikings offense that has three Minnesota natives lined up as wide receivers for quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

Unlikely? Probably. Could it happen? Absolutely. 

Adam Thielen, an All-Pro wide receiver in 2017, is already locked in, and now two Minnesota natives trying to copy Thielen's path to the NFL are looking to make the team: Brandon Zylstra of Spicer and Jake Wieneke of Maple Grove. 

"I definitely have learned a lot from him so far," Zylstra said of Thielen on Friday after his first rookie minicamp practice. 

"I feel like I have a similar game style to him, so I definitely try to pick his brain because he’s had so much success and is somebody who has kind of been in my shoes before."

Zylstra starred at New London-Spicer High School and then Concordia-Moorhead before going undrafted in 2016. He spent the last two years in the Canadian Football League, leading the league with 1,687 receiving yards last season. 

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer raved about Zylstra on Friday. 

"So far, he has done an unbelievable job out here in our Phase II stuff," Zimmer said. "Running routes, catching the ball. He looks quick. Smart guy, tough."

According to the Fargo Forum, Zylstra is a freak athlete, having once been a professional barefoot water skier in addition to being a high jumper on the Concordia College track team. 


Former SDSU machine Jake Wieneke could be a steal for the Vikings

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Wieneke was an All-American at South Dakota State four years in a row. He wasn't drafted last month but signed with the Vikings on a rookie tryout. 

"He’s a great kid, he did a nice job in college. He has great size, catches well," Zimmer said. "He’ll be good. He had other opportunities and he really wanted to come here. We always like those guys."

Both are big receivers, too. Zylstra is 6-foot-3, Wieneke is 6-foot-4. 

Whether they make the team this season, on the 53-man roster or as part of the practice squad, remains to be seen. But their competition is stiff considering Minnesota already has three locks at wide receiver: Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kendall Wright, not to mention 2016 first-round draft choice Laquon Treadwell. 

Other receivers competing for a job are Stacy Coley, Cayleb Jones, Jeff Badet, Korey Robertson, Armanti Foreman and Tavarres King. 

By the way, Zylstra's younger brother, Shane Zylstra, plays wide receiver at Minnesota State-Mankato, just like Thielen did. 

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