EAGAN, Minn. – Receivers just want their quarterbacks to give them a chance, and Kirk Cousins has done so (and been rewarded) on many occasions with Adam Thielen.
Thielen spoke with Twin Cities media members following the Vikings Tuesday morning walk-through. He already has made some impressive grabs from Cousins throughout Verizon Vikings Training Camp and snagged a 34-yard pass to set up a touchdown at New Orleans in Minnesota's first preseason game.
Cousins has many times been praised for his accuracy, and Thielen was asked about that specific attribute.
"It really comes down to giving the receiver a chance and putting it in positions that it makes our job easy," he responded. "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."
So then, how long does it take to develop that trust and rapport?
According to Thielen, "a long time."
"There's so many different situations, there's so many different things that come up throughout practices, games and all that, that you really have to be on the same page as far as the leverage that DBs are giving you, how they play a certain route and what you're going to do as a receiver," Thielen said. "It usually takes a couple, I guess, incomplete passes to really get on the same page. You're always still working on it, but it's definitely better to be in a second year with a quarterback than the first year, obviously."
Thielen now has that luxury of prepping for year two with Cousins, who signed with Minnesota in March 2018 as a free agent.
Over that time, Cousins has gotten a chance to figure out what types of receivers are in the Vikings arsenal, and he continues to learn about the fresh faces on the roster. Thielen emphasized the importance of the quarterback "understanding what we're really good at."
"What each [receiver's] attributes are. Is he a jump-ball guy? Is he a guy that has body control and you can kind of put in back-shoulder balls? And things like that," Thielen explained. "I think it's more of him figuring out who his players are and who are the guys he has to throw certain balls to."
As Thielen looks ahead to the Vikings final three training camp practices and three remaining preseason games, his focus is less on a specific goal and more on maintaining a consistent work ethic.
"[We are just] trying to be efficient and do our jobs to the best of our ability," Thielen said. "I don't think there's anything specifically that we want to accomplish other than doing our jobs. And I think that's kind of been the motto, the mindset throughout this whole training camp. 'Do your job, go out there and play fast, and let everything else kind of play itself out.'
View exclusive images shot by Vikings team photographer Andy Kenutis as the Vikings and Saints competed against each other in the first preseason game of the year at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Quote of the Day
"He's a really good football player. When you see good teams, they have a lot of really good football players. And it's not the draft stuff, it's not the combine stuff – 'How fast is his 40? How high can you jump?' It's not that. It's, 'Can he do the 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?'
"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 when the ball is in the air. That's what this game comes down to. You're going to get man-to-man coverage; you're going to get 1-on-1 situations. Can you win those 1-on-1 situations? I think he's done that."
– Thielen on development of Anthony Harris from undrafted free agent to starting safety
Vikings fan Mitch Christensen posted a photo of his two sons decked-out in purple Dalvin Cook jerseys before heading to Tuesday's training camp practice.
Cook retweeted the post.
The Vikings welcomed young people from the Little Earth Boys & Girls Club and the East Side Boys & Girls Club to Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center on Tuesday morning.
The group was able to watch the Vikings walk-through session and then met several players, including C.J. Ham, who consistently gives back to Boys & Girls Clubs in the Twin Cities. Safety Harrison Smith spent some extra time chatting with the youth before jumping in for a group photo.