Vikings' Thielen express keeps rolling, 100 yards at a time
PHILADELPHIA — Only one player in the NFL has recorded five consecutive 100-yard games to open a season since the 1970 merger.
It's not Jerry Rice.
It's not Terrell Owens.
It's not Lynn Swann.
Try Adam Thielen.
Thielen became that guy Sunday when he hauled in seven receptions for 116 yards and one touchdown in the Vikings' hard-fought 23-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Though the Vikings (2-2-1) have been inconsistent this season, their ever-improving wide receiver continues to get better while setting an impressive record along the way.
"I'm so happy for him because he puts in the work," said fellow Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, who had 10 catches for 91 yards. "He wants to win so badly and he'll do whatever it takes to win. I like it. I'm the same way. He's the ultimate team guy because he just wants team success the same way I do."
Thielen, a Detroit Lakes, Minn., native, has 47 catches for 589 yards and three touchdowns this season. It's the most receiving yards for a Vikings player through five games since Randy Moss' 515 in 2003. More than any statistic, Thielen craves winning. He said that repeatedly in the jubilant Vikings locker room after the game.
"There's nothing better than going on the road, especially in a hostile environment, and coming out and getting a win," Thielen said. "I'm not really thinking about (personal records). I'm trying to help us get a win."
Thielen did just that with a 3-yard touchdown reception from Kirk Cousins for a 17-3 lead 21 seconds before halftime. He did it again with a 68-yard reception which led to a Dan Bailey field goal and a 20-3 lead.
In the process, Thielen is becoming a go-to receiver for Cousins while developing into one of the finest wideouts in the league.
Yet he's far from complete. Just ask him.
"I think there are a lot of things that I could have done better," Thielen said. "For me, the biggest thing is that we won the game. We came into this type of environment and we got the win."
Thielen wasn't quite done.
With the game still in doubt and the Vikings clinging to their 23-21 lead late in the fourth quarter, Thielen pounced on the ball to recover an onside kick by Philadelphia's Jake Elliott. With bodies sprawled all over the field on the key play in the final 90 seconds, it was Thielen who came up with the loose football.
The five consecutive 100-yard receiving games continue to be addressed by reporters, but recovering the onside kick sealed the victory and snapped Minnesota's maddening two-game losing streak.
"There's a lot of pinching going on, a lot of bodies piling on," Thielen said of the play. "I was just trying to hold on for dear life."
Thielen held on, and so did the Vikings for a much-needed win.
Thielen and Cousins appear to have found a solid connection through five games. Records aside, the Vikings are looking for wins and ultimately another chance at competing for a spot in the playoffs and beyond.
Next up is a visit from the Arizona Cardinals.
"We're looking for wins," Thielen said. "Every win in this league is huge."