Thielen, Diggs Put on ‘Sunday Night Football’ Show Against Packers

MINNEAPOLIS – An impressive grab by Stefon Diggs put the game on ice for Minnesota.

With 2:00 remaining and on third-and-6 from the Packers 37, Diggs adjusted quickly to reel in a 10-yard gain that sealed a Vikings 24-17 win.

Asked about the significance of his final catch of the evening, Diggs said he was just “doing his job.”

“You prepare the right way, you put the confidence in yourself, you trust your quarterback, and you make the play,” Diggs said. “I don’t ever make excuses. You just have to make the play.”

Diggs’ quote reflected the mentality of he shares with Adam Thielen. The receiver duo made play after play to help Minnesota build momentum against its divisional rival.

Down 14-7 early in the second quarter, Diggs hauled in a deep pass from Cousins in the back of the end zone for a 30-yard score.

Diggs’ touchdown was the Vikings second of the day after Dalvin Cook’s first-quarter TD and helped motivate Minnesota, both offensively and defensively, after a little bit of a rough start.

“That’s my job. Having a spark,” Diggs said. “I just try to take it one play at a time; when my plays come up, make them. Let’s get this thing going.”

Thielen added fuel to the fire, catching a pass over the middle from Cousins late in the third quarter to give the Vikings a 10-point lead. The receiver couldn’t contain his excitement after the play – with the ball in his left arm and wind-milling his right, he raced back to the sideline and leapt for a mid-air chest bump with Aldrick Robinson.

“Yeah, when you’re playing the way you feel like you can play, sometimes it just takes a little spark, and you’ve got to make a play like that to get you going. It got me fired up,” Thielen said. “Scoring touchdowns in this league is not easy, so I was just trying to celebrate.”

Perhaps the most remarkable catch of the night for Thielen, however, wasn’t the touchdown.

On a second-and-9 in the second quarter, Cousins threw over pressure and into traffic, threading the needle between Packers safety Josh Jones and cornerback Jaire Alexander. Somehow, some way, Thielen made the catch for a 33-yard gain.

“That’s an unbelievable catch,” Cousins said postgame. “I don’t know that I want to live by making those throws into double coverage. The safety is coming over the top. [Adam] would encourage me to make that throw every time.”

Even Alexander had to give props to Thielen.

“Oh my gosh, yes, I felt a hand on my back on that one,” Alexander said. “Then I had to turn to him, that was a good catch and good coverage.”

Thielen’s big play helped him go over 100 yards receiving for the ninth time this season. On the night, he had eight catches for 125 yards. His 93 catches so far this season set a team record for most receptions in 11 consecutive games and moved into third place all-time for the NFL behind Marvin Harrison (100) and Julio Jones (94).

Thielen also set a team record for most receiving yards after the first 11 games at the start of any season with 1,138. He surpassed Vikings Legend Randy Moss (1,079) on a night when Moss was in the building to receive his Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence during a halftime ceremony.

Diggs totaled eight catches for 77 yards, bringing his season total to 713.

One of seven Vikings to make a reception on the Sunday Night Football stage, Diggs spoke postgame about the offense finding its rhythm and spreading the ball around.

“Everybody getting their slice of the pie, everybody doing their job,” Diggs said. “Kyle [Rudolph] was making so many plays, Kirk was making plays, and at the quarterback position you might not look at it as ‘making plays,’ but he runs around a bit, and he’s tough.

“As far as everybody doing their job, that’s what you want to do,” Diggs added. “That’s the way to win.”

Three days removed from celebrating Thanksgiving, Thielen emphasized how grateful he is for his teammates and the way they’re able to make things happen when everyone plays together.

“When Diggs is out there in the first quarter just absolutely picking them apart, and he’s making plays, it just makes me be able to settle in and play my game,” Thielen said. “All-around – Dalvin, the running backs, the offensive line protecting and doing their job, and then obviously Kirk spreading the ball around. It definitely makes my job easy.”

Conversely, Cousins appreciates a duo like Diggs and Thielen who so often are in the spotlight but don’t take themselves too seriously.

The pair does a lot more to help the team besides scoring touchdowns.

“They come into the building, win or lose, they don’t really change who they are,” Cousins said. “They have great personalities. Every pregame in the locker room, they’re cracking jokes, enjoying the process, enjoying getting ready for the game.

“They enjoy having a good time and not making it so serious,” Cousins continued. “That’s always a good reminder for me, to be around those guys and maybe help me. It cheers me up, and it’s a joy to play with them. When I saw I love our locker room and it’s fun to go to work every day, it’s because of guys like Stef’ and Adam, with the way they come in with a smile on their face and ready to work.”

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