Adam Thielen initially made the Vikings practice squad roster back in 2013, earning more playing time in 2014 as a key cog on special teams.
The Minnesota native was strong again on special teams in 2015 while also showing some flashes on offense.
Ben Goessling of ESPN.com recently chatted with Thielen, who could be primed for an even bigger role this season.
Thielen played with the first-team offense in a three-receiver set in Friday's preseason win in Cincinnati, showing a strong connection with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
It's getting tougher all the time to write off Thielen as a squatter in the Vikings' offense. He's getting consistent work with the top three-receiver set, and was battling Jarius Wright for playing time even before Wright was injured. He leaped to haul in a 22-yard third-down pass from Teddy Bridgewater during the preseason opener Friday night, catching a ball in coverage that coach Mike Zimmer said he wasn't sure Bridgewater would have thrown last year. And while the 25-year-old is still likely to be a key member of the special teams group, he at last seems poised for more than that.
"It doesn't matter who you are in this league: You're always trying to have a bigger role," Thielen said. "Anybody who said they weren't trying to do that would be lying. I'm trying to get better every day, and help this football team win games."
Goessling traced Thielen's work ethic back to his days at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he excelled as a wide receiver and on special teams at the Division II school.
It's a mindset Thielen has simply carried over into the NFL.
Easton hoping to find home in Minnesota
It's been quite the wild ride for Nick Easton.
The Minnesota center is on his third NFL team in the past year, going from the Ravens to the 49ers to the Vikings in a span of roughly six weeks last fall.
Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune chronicled Easton's journey, adding that the Harvard graduate seems to be settling in with the Vikings.
Early last September, on the day NFL teams were required to trim their rosters to 53 men, Easton took the field in Baltimore and figured he would learn his fate after the morning practice. But between reps, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, after a brief huddle with General Manager Ozzie Newsome, pulled Easton out of a drill and told him he had just been traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
"[Harbaugh] said it was the first time he had ever done that," Easton said. "But I didn't know any different. It was my first lesson in the business."
Easton spent the first four weeks of the season in San Francisco. He was a healthy scratch as he frantically tried to process the 49ers playbook. Then he was informed that he was being dealt again, this time to the Vikings, who had expressed interest in Easton that spring after he went undrafted.
Easton played a little less than half of Minnesota's offensive snaps against Cincinnati but had a key block that sprung running back C.J. Ham for a 10-yard touchdown run.
"In the games and in any competitive situation that he's been in, he's caught my eye one way or another," offensive line coach Tony Sparano told Vensel. "What we need now is consistency and to see him play against better people."
Treadwell receives solid grade for preseason debut
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com handed out grades to a rookie on each NFC team after the first preseason games and gave Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell 'B.'
Brooks said Treadwell flashed strong ability to pick up first downs in crucial situations for the Vikings.
*As a big-bodied (6-2, 215 pounds) playmaker with strong hands and superb ball skills, the 23rd overall pick is a natural "chain mover" capable of doing all of the dirty work between the hashes. He posted a team-high four receptions for 41 yards against the Bengals, including an 18-yard catch on a dig route that should become the team's bread-and-butter passing play when Treadwell — who did not start on Friday — settles in as a starter down the road. *