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NOTEBOOK: Adam Thielen's Pro Bowl Nod is 'Team Award'



EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Adam Thielen has put up plenty of eye-popping stats this season.

He ranks fifth in the NFL with 1,191 receiving yards and seventh with 83 receptions.

The Vikings wide receiver also is tied for the most catches on third downs with 32, and 24 of those receptions have gone for a first down, which ranks second in the league.

Add it all up and Thielen, who also has four touchdown catches, certainly has the résumé for the Pro Bowl honor he received Tuesday evening.

Yet when asked Wednesday to give his thoughts on receiving his first selection to the Pro Bowl, Thielen made it abundantly clear that it's not a one-man band out on the field.

"It's obviously an honor, but something that is not just my award. It's a team award," Thielen said. "Obviously, you have to have a great offensive line, great quarterback, and guys around you that believe in you and help you.

"We have a lot of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball that have helped me get open. Obviously, the coaches putting us in the right position," Thielen said. "It's a team award, it's an offensive award. It's our accomplishment, and I'm proud to rep them."

While Thielen didn't offer himself any praise for his standout season, Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs said he was proud of his teammate's accomplishment.

"I was so excited, especially [because] it's one of our guys, somebody in our room," Diggs said. "Him being my brother and him being a guy I see … work hard … I was just happy for him.

"Especially coming from our room, we're prideful of the guys that are in our room," Diggs said. "And everybody does everything they can to put their best foot forward and see that guy have success. I'm happy."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer admitted Wednesday that his perception of Thielen has changed in the four years since Zimmer first arrived in Minnesota.

Zimmer noted he might not have initially thought Thielen would eventually be selected to a Pro Bowl.

"No, probably not," Zimmer said. "But I didn't know his heart. Now I know his heart."

Thielen said he didn't spend much time reflecting on the honor. Instead, the Minnesota native is focused on helping the Vikings chase a first-round bye in the playoffs.

"I think it'll be cooler when I get to look back at it when my career is done," Thielen said. "Right now I'm just trying to focus on beating the Green Bay Packers and doing everything I can to help this team win games.

"Not thinking about that too much right now," Thielen added, "but definitely an honor and definitely proud to represent this team."

Thielen was one of four Vikings selected to the Pro Bowl, along with defensive end Everson Griffen, linebacker Anthony Barr and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

Numerous players were vocal that there should have been more than that Vikings quartet voted into the Pro Bowl.

"It's tough to get everybody in the Pro Bowl, but there's a lot of guys on our defense and offense that are Pro Bowl-caliber guys, and I think are maybe going unnoticed," Thielen said. "There definitely should have been more in my opinion, but my opinion doesn't count."

Added tight end Kyle Rudolph: "Especially on the other side of the ball. That's the best defense in football, in my opinion, and to only have three guys represented, I don't think is correct."

Said wide receiver Stefon Diggs: "As far as the guys we do have and the way that they do play, everybody knows who we got. So even if they didn't make it, you know they're special guys."

Getting Green Bay's best shot

The Packers found out Monday night they were eliminated from playoff contention by virtue of Atlanta's win over Tampa Bay.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers won't play in the Packers final two games, and even though the Packers sit at 7-7, the Vikings don't expect a cakewalk for the 7:30 p.m. (CT) Saturday game on NBC.

Rudolph and Thielen noted they don't expect a cordial Wisconsin welcome this weekend.

"It's Saturday night on national TV, there's still a lot for them to play for," Rudolph said. "Yeah, they may be eliminated from the playoffs, but it's a rivalry, a division game, and they'll be amped up, and it'll be a good test for us.

"I think every time I've gone there they've been pretty amped up for the Vikings coming in town," Rudolph added. "It's an NFC North rivalry game, and the atmosphere will reflect that."

Added Thielen: "If I know Packers fans at all, I don't think they really care what the records are. We're the Minnesota Vikings, and they don't like us very much."

Reading the run game

The Vikings defense often preaches that stopping an opponent's run game is their first and foremost priority.

The stats show that might be a good idea Saturday against the Packers.

In Minnesota's past 22 games against Green Bay, including one playoff matchup, the Vikings have allowed the Packers to rush for 100 or more yards nine times.

Green Bay's record in that span? 8-0-1.

Minnesota has done a better job of late as the Vikings have not allowed the Packers to hit 100-plus rushing yards the past four times the teams have met.

Coincidentally, the Vikings are 3-1 in those games.

Injury Reports

For the Vikings: Tramaine Brock (foot) did not practice. Jarius Wright (foot), Andrew Sendejo (ankle), Riley Reiff (ankle), Kyle Rudolph (ankle), Mackensie Alexander (rib), Pat Elflein (shoulder) and Mike Remmers (low back) were limited.

Ben Gedeon (ankle), Emmanuel Lamur (foot), Jerick McKinnon (shoulder) and Shamar Stephen (shoulder) were full participants.

For the Packers: Davante Adams (concussion), Jahri Evans (knee), Clay Matthews (hamstring) and Nick Perry (ankle/shoulder) did not participate. Vince Biegel (groin), Ahmad Brooks (back), Quinton Dial (chest/knee), Demetri Goodson (hamstring) and Davon House (shoulder/back) were limited. Lucas Patrick (hand) and Jake Ryan (knee) were full participants.

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