Against the Saints, Thielen kept playing through small fractures in his lower back. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings will have their work cut out for them on Sunday against a tough Eagles defense in Philadelphia, and there’s a chance the back injury Adam Thielen suffered last week could have a big impact on the game.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Thielen is dealing with multiple slight fractures in his lower back and has been in a great deal of pain. Despite that, he is expected to play in the NFC Championship Game.

“I am told this is extremely painful — more than a bruise after that hit from Marshon Lattimore,” Rapoport said. “I’m actually told he has a couple of slight fractures in his back. He is going to be dealing with a lot (on Sunday).”

Thielen had a breakout season this year, catching 91 passes for 1,276 and four scores. He, like fellow wide receiver Stefon Diggs, has thrived in offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s system. Thielen caught six passes for 74 yards in last week’s win over the New Orleans Saints.

The Vikings are still alive thanks to one of the most miraculous plays in NFL postseason history, but they can’t rely on that in the NFC Championship. If Thielen is at far less than 100 percent health, that could be a huge advantage for the Eagles.

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This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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