EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Believe it or not, Adam Thielen had a 100-yard receiving performance on Sunday against the Jets.
That's now seven straight games over the century mark, an NFL record for the All-Pro from Minnesota who once had an offer to be a dental salesman but turned that down and worked his way up to becoming one of the NFL's best players.
Thielen's big day included nine catches for 110 yards and a touchdown to help the Vikings secure their third consecutive win, a 37-17 victory that moved Minnesota to 4-2-1 on the season.
As usual, he wanted nothing to do with taking credit in the win.
"I'm just trying to help this team win games and do my part," said Thielen, who has 67 catches for 822 yards and five touchdowns on the season. "There's a lot of things that I could have done a lot better today.
"Once again, stats don't necessarily say how good you play," Thielen added. "I'm looking forward to this film and making sure that I continue to get better."
But Thielen made two crucial plays — one early and one late — that helped spark the offense on a day where it was sometimes tough sledding for the Vikings.
The first play came on the game's fourth play from scrimmage as he hauled in a 34-yard touchdown on a go route from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.
"When you break the huddle, you just try to identify coverage and get any tells you can in matchups and things," Cousins said. "I just wanted to give him an opportunity. Many times when you throw go-balls, 9 routes, when you throw those, many times you have to throw with trust, no matter who the guy is.
"Because you have to believe that when the ball's in the air, that's when the separation happens," Cousins added. "I just had to believe that Adam was going to go out there and get it, and he made a great play."
Added Thielen: "I don't know if I did get any separation. I was just trying to run as fast as I could. I think Kirk pretty much caught that ball for me. He threw it in a perfect spot. If it was an inch left or an inch right, it probably would have been incomplete, but he put a perfect ball in there, and I just tried to finish the play as best as I could."
Thielen later made a clutch play on third-and-6 midway through the fourth quarter. With the Vikings leading by 10, Thielen hauled in a 21-yard catch that put him over the 100-yard mark, and helped move the chains in what was a put-the-game-away drive for Minnesota's offense.
"That's the most important down in football, and we know that," Thielen said. "We know how important it is to stay on the field and continue to give ourselves opportunities to score.
"Obviously it's frustrating when you're not taking advantage of some situations … keep going, keep going, when you have the guys we have in this locker room, when you have the quarterback we have and the offensive staff we have, we know at some point the offense is going to pop," Thielen added.
The Vikings finished with 316 yards of total offense on 17 possessions, and struggled in a first half in which they had just 106 yards of total offense.
Minnesota had four drives that started in New York territory but came away with just six total points.
But the unit kept chipping away and did enough to help the Vikings get a road win in a tough environment.
"All over the map," Cousins said of the offensive performance. "I think there was a lot of positives. Any time you score 37 points on the road, you're doing something right, but there's certainly a lot of places that weren't good enough.
View game action images as the Vikings take on the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
"When you have a special teams giving you great field position, when you have the defense creating turnovers and getting you the ball back, then it probably makes it look better than it really was," Cousins added. "But that's complementary football, that's team football, and we're so grateful for our defense and special teams, the way they played today, because it kept giving us opportunities to go back out there and score points."
Of course, it helped that the Vikings could turn to No. 19 when they needed a big play in a big moment.
"He's on a roll. It's not like he just does it on game day," said Vikings safety Harrison Smith. "It's something he's done over the years – practicing and working hard and learning the game. Things are coming together, so it's great for us. It's fun to watch."
Added Cousins: "He's a great player. Ultimately, you know, he's a great person. It starts there, and the way he approaches everything he does. I'm lucky to play with him, the Vikings are lucky to have him. He's a special player and a special teammate and deserves the success that he's having. And hopefully there's much more ahead because he's the kind of guy, along with a lot of guys on this team, who deserves to do great things."