MINNEAPOLIS –Adam Thielen crept into the Vikings record books in two different categories on Sunday, but that's the not the stat he's most concerned with.
Thielen's six catches for 61 yards helped Minnesota defeat Chicago 21-10 and clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The Minnesota native also surpassed season totals by Hall of Famer Cris Carter. Thielen, who entered the regular-season finale with 85 catches, moved into seventh place in Vikings history to pass Carter's 90 catches during the 1999 season.
In addition, Thielen reached 1,276 receiving yards on the year. The total moved him into ninth place all-time, just ahead of Carter's 1,274-yard season in 2000.
Thielen said he knew the benchmarks were there but wasn't striving for them.
"I'm aware of the numbers just because of social media nowadays, but it's not something I ever really think about until, [when] I'm done with my career, I think I might look back at it and say, 'That was pretty cool,' " Thielen said. "But honestly, I just want to win ball games. And it's never fun to lose in this league, so the most important thing is winning games and trying to do anything you can to help this team [do that]."
In return, Thielen said it was the team that made it possible for him to join the Top 10.
"We have a great defense that gives us a lot of opportunities on offense. We have a quarterback that's done a great job of finding open receivers, and we have a lot of guys that can make plays," Thielen said. "On the offensive side of the ball, we have a lot of guys who make plays that kind of [enable me to keep] getting open. It's a team [achievement], and I'm just very thankful for my teammates and coaches."
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer was asked about Thielen's accomplishments following the game and responded with the team-first mentality he's instilled into his entire team.
"Quite honestly, we don't go into a game saying, 'Hey, Thielen's our guy today,' " Zimmer said. "It's whoever has the opportunities [that get them], and sometimes it's [Stefon] Diggs, sometimes it's Thielen, sometimes it's [Kyle] Rudolph. I think it's a combination of things.
"But … he's a great kid, a great competitor, loves to play the game," Zimmer added of Thielen. "And, really, we have a lot of guys like that on this football team."
Diggs fits the bill for the type of players praised by Zimmer.
The third-year receiver also had a big day, scoring his fifth career touchdown against the Bears when Keenum targeted him in the end zone late in the third quarter.
"I got a good ball. We had practiced it during the week, and it was great placement," Diggs said. "I just tried to make the play for my quarterback."
Following the score and before his usual "digging" with an imaginary shovel, the receiver clicked the heels of his cleats together three times in an allusion to *The Wizard of Oz. *
"There's no place like home," Diggs said of the celebration choice. "I didn't have the red shoes, but I had the purple ones, so I was just wanting to pay tribute to our fans and everybody who goes out there each and every day. There's no place like home, so I just wanted to do that for them."
Diggs recorded 65 yards on six catches, bringing his career receptions total to an even 200 and doing it the fastest (40 games) in Vikings history. Percy Harvin and Randy Moss each accomplished the feat in 42 games.
But similar to Thielen, Diggs brushed off the personal accolade.
"I don't pay too much attention to that type of stuff. But any opportunity I get to make a play, I'm going to try to make it," Diggs said. "To see that it happened – yay – but I'm not really fazed by it. I have a lot more I want to do moving forward."
He added that he feels he has something to prove and doesn't want to ever lose that edge.
"I'm not a mad person, but I like to play mad," Diggs said. "I love the game of football. I've been playing for a long time, and I feel like I've got something to prove every time I go out there, every play.
"Adam, he's kind of similar to me, but he came through the back, back door [as an undrafted player]," Diggs continued. "So he has a lot to prove, too, and we kind of feed off each other's energy."
The Vikings finished the season 13-3, marking the first time the team has ever ended with that number of wins and the second-best season in franchise history behind the 1998 team that went 15-1.
When asked about entering the New Year with the winning record and a first-round bye, Diggs barely cracked a smile.
"Winning is cool, but you have to keep winning," Diggs said.
Thielen echoed his teammate, emphasizing that the winning record doesn't yet mean much.
"It's another box that we checked," Thielen said. "I don't know if it's necessarily a sense of accomplishment, but [it's] definitely part of the goal."
Added Thielen: "Now it's a new season, and we're excited about having the week off and then finding out who we're going to play."