The Combine Report: Week 11 Preview – Thielen, Rams Kicking Specialists, Who Will Have The Most Impact?

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Both the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams are 7-2, and they will square off in Week 11. This Sunday’s game isn’t just another game, it is a showdown where NFL Regional Combine pioneers can impact a major outcome.

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen is third in the NFL in receiving yards (793), and Rams kicking specialists punter John Hekker is fourth in net punt average (44.5), while kicker Greg Zuerlein leads the league in field goals having made 28, missing only one.

Greg Zuerlein/Google Images

 

Apparently, one of these RC standouts, if not all, will make key plays to help put their squads in position to win. Both teams have the opportunity to win their respective divisions and potentially meet in the postseason, where the RC will be well represented.

Entering Week 11, the Vikings are fifth in total defense and the Rams are third in offense…and explosive.

The Vikings will make situations tight for the Rams, but Zuerlein will help bail them out.

Could this be the week Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas touches the ball? He journeyed through the RC trials in 2016 and then served a four game suspension to start this campaign due to violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.  Thomas hasn’t experienced much action this season. Hopefully, that will change.

In reference to the RC, the efforts will be channeled to field positioning, where Hekker is a weapon in winning that battle.

Adam Thielen/Google Images

 

And that is where Thielen comes in to put the Vikings in position to go down the field. The RC standout receiver from the 2014 workouts rack up chunks of yards as he averaged 14.2 per.

This contest will be fun to watch.

THE RUNDOWN

 

-The Buffalo Bills will hit the road for Los Angeles to take on the Chargers, where tackling machine linebacker Jatavis Brown, who is third in stops, awaits them.

 

-Pittsburgh Steelers will have a host of NFL Regional Combine stars in the forefront against the Tennessee Titans, including tackle Alejandro Villaneuva and safety Robert Golden. Villaneuva is having a solid season protecting his two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and paving the way for running back Le’Veon Bell, who is leading the league in rushing.

Robert Golden/Google Images

 

-Golden is having a quiet season with six tackles. However, with cornerback Joe Haden out for several weeks due to a broken fibula, the veteran defensive back will have more occasions to make his presence known.

 

-Will this be the week that Jacksonville Jaguars rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole crosses the goal line for his career touchdown? Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles targeted the speedster from Kentucky Wesleyan 34 times and hauled 14 passes for 219 yards. Clearly, the chances are there for Cole to make a consistent impact, and he should do just that against the Cleveland Browns.

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