Thielen again shows he’s not to be overlooked
If NFL defenses overlooked Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen before Sunday, they are unlikely to make that mistake again.
The fourth-year pro and Detroit Lakes, Minn., native shredded the Washington Redskins secondary for 12 catches, 166 yards and one touchdown, including a 38-yard grab against vaunted Redskins cornerback Josh Norman.
Asked if he thought the Redskins didn’t give him enough respect heading into Sunday’s matchup, Thielen politely shrugged off the question.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m just trying to get the individual matchup on on each play. I want to play football and help this team win games, and it feels good to get the win here.”
Although Thielen’s gaudy numbers on Sunday might mean a career day for many receivers, it wasn’t even his best day as a pro. He had 202 yards and 16 catches against Green Bay at the end of the 2016 season.
Thielen’s 7-yard reception for a touchdown in the second quarter Sunday put the Vikings up 21-17 and sparked a game of leapfrog as an end-zone celebration. He said the moment was about “taking it back to the playground.”
“We’ve been talking about it the last couple of weeks,” Thielen said, chuckling as he explained to reporters how the unorthodox celebration came about. “We talked about it in the huddle, and when we got in the red zone during a TV timeout we were like, ‘Hey, were’ going to do it when we score.’ ”
Thielen gave his teammates decent marks for execution, even as he conceded it wasn’t flawless.
“I was just hoping somebody caught on when I got on the ground because it would look weird if I was on the ground myself,” the wide receiver said. “There were a couple of guys that didn’t understand the concept of leapfrog and were jumping in front, but no I thought it was good.”
Redskins coach Jay Gruden said his team fell short trying to combat the Vikings’ passing game.
“I think there is a combination when you give up big plays,” Gruden said. “One, we’re not getting enough heat, and two, we have to do a better job on coverage.”
Thielen said quarterback Case Keenum “did a great job of giving us opportunities to catch the ball” and credited the Vikings coaching staff for for a strong game plan.
“There were some great play calls…it was a great game plan and we executed it well,” Thielen said.