Adam Thielen let loose and had some fun in the 2019 Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, and the Minnesota native repped the Vikings well.
Thielen participated in four parts of the competition that aired Thursday night on ESPN. He impressed in the “Best Hands” event, securing every ball thrown his way in the around-the-world-style game that tested different types of catches.
Thielen made the catches – including leaping, one hand, sideline, over the shoulder and diving – from NFC teammate and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The duo finished in 1:25.8.
“I was a little nervous. I just didn’t want to drop, like, 10 of them,” Thielen joked. “Once I got going, got a rhythm, it was pretty fun.”
While he’s usually on the receiving end, Thielen also got to try his hand in the Precision Passing event – and he didn’t disappoint. He finished with 10 points, out-throwing his AFC opponent, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
True to his reputation, Thielen took a humble approach to his success in the passing game, during which players threw balls at targets worth varying point totals. He hit targets worth two and three points, and on the last throw before time ran out, Thielen sent a ball sailing through the hanging “5.”
“I think I just got lucky and hit the 5 at the end – otherwise it would have been pretty bad,” he said.
The Vikings have four players – Thielen, Harrison Smith, Danielle Hunter and Anthon Barr – participating in this year’s Pro Bowl, but Thielen was the only one selected for the Skills Showdown.
He was joined on the NFC squad by Wilson, Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky, Bears DT Akiem Hicks, Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner, Giants RB Saquon Barkley, Saints DE Cam Jordan, Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan, Buccaneers WR Mike Evans and 49ers TE George Kittle. The group was coached by NFC legends and Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Brian Urlacher.
The AFC squad was made up of Luck, Steelers RB James Conner, Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Browns CB Denzel Ward, Browns DE Myles Garrett, Broncos LB Von Miller, Bills DT Kyle Williams, Colts TE Eric Ebron, Jets S Jamal Adams and Texans QB Deshaun Watson. They were coached by NFL greats Jim Kelly and DeMarcus Ware.
The two groups participated in a full-team relay called the 40-Yard Splash, during which players took turns filling buckets of water and carrying them a distance to fill a giant dunk tank. When the tank’s water reached a designated mark, they threw footballs at a target to dunk the captain of the opposing team, either Ware (AFC) or Urlacher (NFC).
After the AFC won the 40-Yard Splash, Thielen helped lead his NFC teammates to a comeback victory in Pro Bowl Dodgeball.
Players were all-in on the backyard game that ended two games to one when Thielen hit Watson, the last man standing for the AFC.
“It was pretty sweet, especially coming from behind like that,” Thielen said. “It was pretty special.
“My shoulder’s going to be a little sore tomorrow,” he added with a laugh. “I threw a lot of footballs and a lot of dodgeballs – I’m not built for that.”
Vikings WR Adam Thielen competed in the 2019 Pro Bowl Skills Showdown hosted in Orlando, Fla.