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Catching on: Adam Thielen again puts on a superstar-like performance for Vikings

The Vikings held an eight-point lead and were facing a third-and-11 from the Washington 35-yard line on Sunday, when Case Keenum threw a low pass for Adam Thielen that would have given Minnesota a first down.

Thielen was unable to make the difficult reception as he slid toward the ground. The realization that Thielen isn’t just a very good receiver but is arguably a star came from the immediate reaction to that moment in the fourth quarter.

“How did Thielen not catch that ball?”

It would have been a difficult play but we have become accustomed to seeing the fourth-year player come up with that ball. Thielen’s hands appear to have come with a glue-type substance on them that enables him to hang onto nearly everything thrown his way.

When he doesn’t catch a pass thrown in his vicinity, one is left wondering how Thielen failed to make the grab. Of course, that isn’t fair considering we now expect Thielen to make even the spectacular look routine.

In the Vikings’ 38-30 victory Sunday in Washington, Keenum threw a game-high 12 passes toward Thielen. He caught eight of them for 166 yards and a touchdown.

The eight receptions were his second-most this season behind the nine he caught in the opener against New Orleans and the Vikings’ victory over Green Bay on Oct. 15. His 166 receiving yards marked the second-highest total of his career; Thielen caught 12 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns last December in Green Bay.

Keenum, who also completed four passes to Stefon Diggs for 78 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, found Thielen on a 7-yard scoring pass in the second quarter that gave the Vikings a 21-17 lead.

The most impressive connection between the two came in the third quarter when Keenum lobbed a perfect pass that Thielen caught behind two defensive backs and went 49 yards with to the Redskins’ 12-yard line. Three plays later, Keenum connected with Jarius Wright on a 7-yard touchdown pass to give the Vikings a 35-17 lead.

But it isn’t the big play that makes Thielen stand out to his head coach. Mike Zimmer, rather, pointed to a third-and-1 play from the Washington 36 in the fourth quarter. Washington had made it a one-score game when Thielen caught a Keenum pass and gained 2 yards for the first down.

That came on the same drive that Thielen failed to make the difficult catch on Keenum’s throw. That drive, however, ended with Kai Forbath making a 53-yard field goal to put the Vikings up by 11 points.

“Adam does everything,” Zimmer said. “Adam blocks defensive ends, he blocks linebackers in the running game, he runs great routes. I guess the best example for Adam is we had third-and-1 and we ran a boot and he caught the ball about 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage, made two people miss to get the first down in order to kick the field goal to go up by two scores. That’s just him. He’s a great competitor and somehow he finds a way to make a play and he’s been doing it all year. He found a way to make the team (out of Minnesota State as a free agent) … that’s just him. He finds a way.”

  • beloitgopher

    When it comes to star rankings out of Rivals and other recruiting services they just don’t do a good job of evaluating Minnesota, South, North Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin Kids! I’ve stated for years that those States I’ve mentioned are at least a one star evaluation low on every Kid.

    This is why Wisconsin and Iowa are so good at Football! They know how good these Kids really are. Minnesota under Coach Kill saw that and really recruited Minnesota well and Coach Fleck is also seeing the Talent and keeping our guys home.

    We will contend for the West in two years (2019) under Fleck!

    I know this is a Vikings post on Thielen, but it also shows Minnesota Talent!

    • Drediock

      On the other hand. Coller consistently shows the other side of the coin.
      I dunno. Maybe he’s better suited at covering ice fishing or something.
      Can ESPN please replace him with someone like Courtney Cronin

      • SM

        Why? Is she cute? Because the fluff comments I have seen from her could be done by a fifth grader.

        • Drediock

          No. Because she is obviously infinitely more talented…Even for a 5th grader

  • Gordon Guffey

    Wow ~ Two good read from you Judd on the same day ~ Unheard of I tell you ~

    Nice job Judd ~

    • SM

      Yea, except for the subtle dig: “superstar-like”. Why “like”? Because we ain’t in NY or LA?

      Walks like a duck
      5+ recepts every game 2017
      Sounds like.a duck.
      Two 150+ yd games
      Looks like a duck.
      Impeccable routes, great catches.

      Gee must be a superstar. Admit it already, media!


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