In Minnesota, writing about Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen is low-hanging fruit. Thielen hales from Detroit Lakes, Minn. He would attend Minnesota State University-Mankato, going undrafted before walking on at Vikings training camp in Mankato. And now, he is the leading receiver in the NFL. Everyone in this neck of the woods has been watching him with typical Minnesota pride and skepticism. All the while, wondering when the other shoe of reality is going to drop.
Well, it doesn’t appear that is going to happen.
Thielen keeps setting league and team records, actually passing the likes of newly-minted Hall of Famer Randy Moss in some areas of the record books. So, it is time to figure out just what is happening, why and, perhaps, in a very un-Minnesota way, just enjoy it. And, heaven forbid, even brag a little about this favorite son.
So let’s get into the “secrets” to his success, shall we?
Just Happy to be Here
At first, we all were excited that a Minnesota-born athlete from a Division II Minnesota school, who had flown under the local and national radar ($500 scholarship to MSU, had no invite to the NFL combine and undrafted by the league) had made the practice squad of the favorite local team.
We watched as he finally cracked the game-day lineup on special teams and actually made a big play against Green Bay on a fake punt and later scored his first NFL touchdown on a blocked punt return in his rookie year of 2014. Fans here all thought this was wonderful, beyond our furthest expectations and “home-town boy does good,” and we wrote stories to that effect.
But Thielen soon got into the Vikings offense, started a couple game and we selfishly hoped for more. When Thielen scored a receiving touchdown and gave the ball to his girlfriend (and eventual wife) in the stands, all of Minnesota was busting with parochial pride, and quietly dreamed of “what’s next?”