Vikings Wide Receiver Adam Thielen
Q: How did it feel the other night to perform well as the first team offense and the one drive you got?
A: It’s always good when you have limited reps to go out there and move the ball, get some first downs. It obviously helps when you put the work in OTA’s, training camp and you go out there and you are able to move the ball. It definitely feels good, but at the same time, it’s one drive of a football game. This game is a long game, so there’s still a lot of work to do and excited for that.
Q: What are you looking to accomplish in the next two pre-season games?
A: Just trying to be efficient and doing our jobs to the best of our ability. I don’t think there’s anything specifically that we want to accomplish other than doing our job. I think that’s kind of been the motto, the mindset throughout this whole training camp is do your job, go out there and play fast, and let everything else kind of play itself out.
Q: What kind of adjustments do you think you might have to make with the reviewable pass interference rule this year?
A: I’ve thought about it a little bit. I try not to think about it too much, just go play football and see what happens. I don’t think you can do too much. Just try to go up, get the football, and keep your hands out of it I guess is the best explanation I can give. At the same time, when that ball is in the air I’m not thinking about, “Shoot, I can’t have pass interference here”, so I’m just trying to go get the football and you know it might happen, it might not, we’ll see.
Q: Do you think the defensive backs might be a little less physical this year because of it?
A: I don’t think so, but we’ll see. It’s one of those things every year it’s over emphasized in the pre-season and then it seems that when it gets to the season, it’s not as big of a deal as it is in the pre-season, so we’ll see. It’s one of those things that you kind of adjust on the fly. You see how it’s going to be called, how the game is going to be changed, and then you adjust on the fly.
Q: Mike Zimmer has talked about testing the refs by throwing the challenge flag out on calls like that. As a receiver, does that even cross your mind about pushing the boundaries a little bit?
A: No. For us, if the ball is in the air, we have to go get it and whatever it takes to go get it, I guess, and then you live with the consequences. If you push off or something like that and you get a flag, then you learn from it and you try to keep you your hands out of it. For us, like I said before, when the ball is in the air, I’m not thinking about don’t get offensive pass interference, I’m thinking about going and getting the football.
Q: What is the key for a wide receiver in selling a route at the line of scrimmage, making it look the same until it’s not?
A: Oh shoot. I mean really, I’m not sure what the key is. I think it’s kind of like what you said. It’s trying to make it look similar whether that be your releases, whether that be your stems, just trying to make as many routes as possible look the same off the line of scrimmage. I don’t know if there’s necessarily a key because once the ball is snapped, you don’t have a whole lot of time to think because you’re just reacting. I think what I would say the key is going out here at practice and making it hard on yourself to make it look the same and then when you get to the game it gets a little faster, a little quicker, it comes more natural.
Q: Is the process when you’re running a decoy route and exerting energy, is there a balance between that and a real route?
A: No, I wouldn’t say that. I think it’s more of when you have a play where you can run a guy off or things like that, you use some things to see what they’re going to do, see how they’re going to play you on certain releases and things like that. Other than that, you don’t really have the ability to make stuff look alike in the run game or running guys off, or things like that.
Q: What has Anthony Harris done to move his way up over the years and earn himself a starting role on this team?
A: I think he’s a really good football player. When you see good teams, they have a lot of really good football players. It’s not the draft stuff, it’s not the combine stuff. You know, how fast is his 40? How high can he jump? It’s not that. It’s can he do his job, and can he do it at a high level? Can he make plays when the ball is in the air? Can he fit his gaps right? I think he’s a guy that comes out – he works his tail off. He’s always in the right spot and he seems to make plays while the ball is in the air. That’s what this game comes down to, is you’re going to get man-to-man coverage. You’re going to get one-on-one situations. Can you win those one-on-on situations, and I think he’s done that.
Q: In terms of development with Olabisi Johnson, what was better the other night, the route or the catch?
A: I think it’s the way that those guys work. They’re coming out here. They’re trying to get better. It’s not easy to come from college and into the NFL and understand the system and how to use little details to help your game. I think all those guys in that room, they’ve been asking questions. They’ve been listening, and they’ve been taking what we’ve been doing in the meeting room, to the field. That’s probably the most impressive thing. It’s always fun to see those guys go into games and make plays. It comes down to, you can do everything right in practice, but you got to make plays when the lights are on and he was able to do that.
Q: Kirk Cousins is always described as a very accurate passer, what does that mean to a wide receiver?
A: I think it really comes down to giving the receiver a chance and putting it in positions that makes our job easy. If we get open and he puts the ball in good spots, it makes it easier for us to not only catch the ball but run with the ball after the catch.
Q: How long does that take to develop a chemistry with a quarterback and a receiver?
A: It takes a long time. I talk about it a lot. It takes a long time to get on the same page as the quarterback because there are so many different situations. There’s so many things that come up throughout practice, games and all that. You really have to be on the same page as far as the leverage that DB’s are giving you or how they play a certain route, and what you are going to do as a receiver and getting on the same page. It usually takes a couple, I guess, incomplete passes to really get on the same page. You are always still working on it, but it is definitely better to be in a second year with a quarterback than a first year, obviously.
Q: How long does it usually take to get into a comfort or rhythm to adjust to balls not thrown in stride or contested catches?
A: For us we are just going and getting the football so there’s not necessarily an adjustment as far as that goes, but it is more of the quarterback understanding what we are really good at. What each receiver, his attributes are. Is he a jump ball guy? Is he a guy that has body control and you can kind of put it back shoulder balls and things like that. I think it is more of him figuring out who his players are and who are the guys that he has to throw certain balls to.