EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adam Thielen has caught the eye of a Super Bowl-winning coach.
ESPN analyst Jon Gruden was at Winter Park on Saturday to watch practice and chat with the Vikings in advance of their game against the Giants on Monday Night Football.
In an interview with Mike Wobschall of Vikings.com, Gruden said No. 19 in Purple had stood out to him on film.
"It's a great story. I got the film and I started looking for the first-round picks (at wide receiver) and I see No. 19," said Gruden, who won Super Bowl XXXVII as the head coach of the Buccaneers. "He made a couple of great catches in the middle of the field against Tennessee and then the one-handed catch on the corner route last week against Carolina.
"Give the kid credit. But not only that, give (Vikings Head) Coach (Mike) Zimmer, (Vikings Offensive Coordinator) Norv Turner, everybody credit here for playing the best guys," Gruden added. "Sometimes they come where you least expect."
Thielen, who has 11 catches for 124 yards in three games, said this is the most comfortable he's felt with the offense while in Minnesota. The Minnesota native added he was a fan of Gruden's as a youngster.
"He's obviously a guy I grew up watching when he was a coach and as a commentator as well," Thielen said. "The fact that he just knows my name is a good thing."
Gruden also praised the Vikings for their acquisition of quarterback Sam Bradford. The former head coach, who spent 11 seasons as the head coach of Oakland and Tampa Bay, said he's been impressed with Bradford's play so far.
"Never heard of this before where you lose your starting quarterback the week before the first regular season game," Gruden said. "But it's odd. Philadelphia and Minnesota both execute a trade and have different opening day starters and are both 3-0. That just shows you where this world is right now in terms of football.
"Give Norv Turner, a man with a lot of experience, credit. And I'm sure (Vikings tight ends coach Pat) Shurmur had a lot to do with it with his familiarity with Sam," he added. "They gave up a lot to get him, but so far they've proved to be smart for making this deal because Sam looks good."
Shurmur previously coached Bradford in St. Louis and Philadelphia.
Gruden also spoke with Wobschall about Minnesota's defense, which leads the NFL with 15.0 sacks and ranks third by allowing just 13.3 points per game.
"Everybody tackles. There's obviously a lot of accountability in getting to the football," Gruden said. "They don't make mistakes and they don't give up big plays and they communicate.
"They measure themselves against the best quarterbacks. I remember that's what we said to our defense … we don't measure ourselves against below-the-line offenses or below-the-line quarterbacks," he added. "What they've done against Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton in back-to-back weeks make me think they're really good. It's impressive."