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3 Observations: Thielen's Acrobatic TD Highlights Vikings OTA Practice

WR Adam Thielen
WR Adam Thielen

EAGAN, Minn. — That's a wrap on open Organized Team Activity practices for the Vikings.

Minnesota held its eighth total OTA practice on Wednesday at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, and the third overall session open to Twin Cities media members.

The Vikings are scheduled to practice in closed OTA sessions Thursday and Friday before holding mandatory minicamp next week.

Wednesday's session lasted about 90 minutes, with more than 20 Vikings Legends taking in the practice.

Za'Darius Smith, K.J.Osborn, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Kenny Willekes, Ryan Connelly, Nate Stanley and Blake Proehl did not practice.

1. Thielen steals the show

Don't forget about Adam Thielen.

The Vikings wide receiver is somehow entering his ninth accrued season in the league and will be 32 years old in September.

But Thielen provided the play of the day at Wednesday's session, hauling in a leaping, one-handed touchdown catch that sent the offense into a frenzy.

View photos from the Vikings OTA practice which took place on June 1 at the TCO Performance Center.

Minnesota was working in the red zone when Kirk Cousins lofted a pass in the back left corner of the end zone in Thielen's direction. The two-time Pro Bowler showed off his hops — and plenty of skill — by using just one paw for the score while also getting both feet in bounds.

The score was cause for a massive celebration, as the entire Vikings offense seemed to mob the wide receiver in the end zone.

Thielen wasn't the only offensive standout in the passing game, as rookie running back Ty Chandler showed some flashes, too.

The recent fifth-round pick from North Carolina turned on the jets on a simple swing pass to the left, using his speed to race about 50 yards for a touchdown.

Chandler then found the end zone again in the red zone on a pass in the flat, beating two defenders to the front left pylon.

View photos of the Vikings 2022 coaching staff.

2. O'Connell and staff have hands-on approach

The Vikings coaching staff put in a full day's worth of work at practice, as Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell led the way with a hands-on approach.

With an up-tempo vibe to start the session, O'Connell and his staff spent roughly the first hour of practice focusing on individual and small group drills with players.

But this wasn't a scene where the coaches sat off to the side and watched. No, there was O'Connell playing defensive back in a throwing drill to try and confuse the quarterbacks.

At one point, Vikings Offensive Coordinator Wes Phillips lined up at fullback in a run simulation drill, and he later joined O'Connell as a DB in the end zone.

It was an all-hands on deck approach for the Vikings coaches, even on special teams, where the team split off into two fields early.

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Matt Daniels led one group, while assistant special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica led the other.

In one drill that focused on gunners and punt coverage, as many as six coaches were involved, whether it was helping give instruction or being active in the drill.

View photos of Vikings Legends who attended an OTA practice on June 1 at the TCO Performance Center.

3. Vikings welcome plenty of Legends

The Vikings welcomed more than 20 Legends at Wednesday's practice. The alumni had lunch together before viewing the second half of practice.

Hall of Famers Randall McDaniel and Paul Krause were in attendance, as were fellow Vikings Ring of Honor members Joey Browner, Scott Studwell and Chuck Foreman.

O'Connell made it a point to welcome the group during a quick break in practice, telling them they are always welcome around the facility and encouraging them to interact with current players, too.

After practice, General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Dalvin Cook, Harrison Smith, Harrison Phillips and Cousins were among the numerous current Vikings to stop by and chat with the Legends.