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Thielen Celebrates Soccer-Style After 1st Touchdown in 2017

LONDON — Adam Thielen took in a soccer match Saturday night, and took some inspiration away from the experience.

Thielen caught his first touchdown pass of the season Sunday, and then sent the crowd at Twickenham Stadium into a frenzy by running and sliding across the pitch, a well-known soccer goal celebration.

"I went to the Arsenal game yesterday, and my wife played soccer in college, so she's proud of me for supporting soccer," said Thielen, who took in an English Premier League match featuring Arsenal and Swansea City in London. "I've kind of played FIFA growing up … I took some inspiration from that."

"When I went to the Arsenal game yesterday, you can see how passionate [the fans] are about their sports here. I was pumped that whole game yesterday because of that atmosphere. I brought it over to today," added Thielen, who wore a customized Arsenal jersey after Minnesota's 33-16 win. 

Thielen continued his strong season by hauling in five catches for a game-high 98 yards, including his 18-yard score.

Thielen entered the game fourth in the NFL in receiving yards but hadn't caught a touchdown yet.

That changed in the second quarter when Thielen found himself open in the back of the end zone. Vikings quarterback Case Keenum lofted a pass that eluded a Browns defender and landed in Thielen's grasp. 

"I have a little bit of a problem when I'm open that I make it a point that I'm open," Thielen said. "[Keenum] did a great job scrambling and a great job of finding me. 

"[The Browns] job did a good job of reacting to [the pass], but Case did an even better job of placing the ball as far back in the end zone as possible and keeping it away from the defender."

Thielen also kept alive a streak of sorts, as his five catches makes him the only player in the NFL to have at least five receptions in every game this season.

He has 48 catches for 628 yards and a touchdown so far in 2017.

"He's a great route runner and is extremely smart," said Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. "He's deceptively athletic … people look at this kid, Division II from Mankato, and they don't think he's just as talented as anyone else out there.

"He is, and [when] you add that with the work ethic and preparation … he's studies harder than anyone I've ever met," Rudolph added. "He runs routes, and all his routes look the same. You don't know where he's going to cut. He gets open week-in and week-out."

Thielen didn't have to catch the ball to make an impact in the third quarter, as he drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone to give the Vikings the ball at the 1-yard line.

Jerick McKinnon scooted in from a yard out before the running back added the 2-point conversion, as the Vikings went from being down by a point to leading by seven thanks to Thielen's drawn penalty.

"I was just trying to get open," Thielen said. "There was a lot of contact, but I think between receivers and (defensive backs), there's a lot of contact on almost every play.

"Case did a great job of throwing at me, because if he doesn't throw at me, then they're not going to call it," Thielen added.

Besides his celebration, Thielen also drew a loud ovation from the crowd of 74,000-plus as he was named the "Man of the Match" with a few minutes remaining in the game.

It was an appropriate honor for the Vikings wide receiver, who threw some soccer into his routine this weekend in London and assimilated with the European culture. 

"That was pretty cool … out on the pitch," Thielen said with a laugh. "It's definitely cool to have that. I love playing out here."

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