Adam Thielen: 'He Knew His Strengths'

Posted Sep 7, 2017

Growing up in Detroit Lakes, Adam Thielen was a simple kid when it came to Halloween.

He either dressed up as a pirate, or as a football player. Thielen can’t ever remember filling his candy bag as anything else than those two outfits.

But there’s one October costume that stands out as a favorite for Thielen — dressing up as Randy Moss.

“I dressed up as him for Halloween one year,” Thielen said. “I don’t know what year it was, but it was probably right around (1998).”

The Vikings wide receiver had the best season of his career in 2016, setting career highs with 69 catches and five touchdown catches.

He also led the Vikings in receiving yards (967), a feat Moss accomplished six times during his tenure in Purple.

Thielen was 8 years old in 1998 when Moss arrived from Marshall University and took the professional football world by storm.

Thielen recalled watching Moss’ rookie season on television and wanting to emulate one of the game’s top playmakers.

“It was unbelievable,” Thielen said. “That team and the things that Randy was able to do, it was fun for me to watch.

“And it’s what got me into the sport,” Thielen added. “I liked football at that time but man, seeing the way he caught the ball and seeing the plays he made down the field, it made me really want to play receiver and make that same type of plays.”

Thielen now wears the same Purple that Moss did and practices on the same field as one of his childhood heroes. He also personally understands the difference between a costume and a uniform.

And while No. 19 admitted he isn’t nearly the superstar that No. 84 was, Thielen said he can still learn lessons from one of the best wide receivers in NFL history.

“He did it at a whole other level than I’m able to do it,” Thielen said with a laugh. “But I think just the confidence he had every time going for a route … he knew what his strengths were and he took advantage of those things.

“I think that’s something I have to remember in my game — do what I’m good at and take advantage of that,” Thielen added.

Thielen said he chatted with Moss last season when the Vikings were in Chicago for a game on Monday Night Football.

Among their topics of discussion? Thielen once met Moss almost 20 years ago at training camp down in Mankato.

“I was able to meet him and get his autograph when I was really young,” Thielen said. “I’ve talked with him a little bit about that so it was pretty cool. He’s definitely a role model in the game of football for me.”