Rookie Adam Thielen to fulfill dream of playing in Metrodome
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings star players like defensive end Jared Allen, running back Adrian Peterson and others are typically the last ones off the practice field every day, flooded by fans asking them to sign autographs.
Lost in the back of the pack is hometown receiver Adam Thielen, who spent five years on the same Minnesota State Mankato fields next to Blakeslee Stadium and is often one of the final players to leave after speaking to numerous friends and family members who come to watch him fulfill his dream.
"It's nice to have a lot of people supporting me here," Thielen said. "I lived like a mile from these practice fields. Some guys ask me suggestions for restaurants because I know this place a little bit."
A Detroit Lakes, Minn. native, Thielen grew up watching his favorite receivers -- Randy Moss, Jake Reed and Cris Carter -- but he only tried to model his game after one of those players.
"Cris Carter was my favorite player growing up, his sideline catches," Thielen said. "I've definitely emulated my game around him."
Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave spoke highly of Thielen's progress during the first weeks of training camp and said he noticed the rookie as soon as he joined the team three months ago.
"Adam [Thielen] has made a lot of spectacular catches. He has got good speed, good separation," Musgrave said. "He did a good job really in rookie mini-camp to make a good first impression there back in May."
Thielen said he dreamed of playing at the Mall of America Field in the Metrodome since he played high school football, wishing his Detroit Lakes teams would make it to the state championship so he could play under the dome.
His dream will come to fruition on Friday as he takes the field as a member of the Vikings in their preseason opener against the Houston Texans.
"I put in a lot of work, a lot of practices getting ready for it," Thielen said. "I'm ready to go out there and show what I've got."
"I don't have any nerves now, but I can't tell you what it's going to be like on game day."