In 2015, Adam Gase watched Vikings rookie receiver Stefon Diggs turned a short throw into a 40-yard touchdown catch that tied the game and set Minnesota up for a game-winning field goal over Chicago just two minutes later.
Gase was on the wrong side of that equation, serving as the Bears offensive coordinator for one season before taking over as the Dolphins head coach in 2016.
"I remember when Diggs was a rookie. I mean, he was tough then," Gase told Miami-area media members this week. "Everybody said he came out of nowhere, but I think people knew who he was, and then he made plays right out of the gate."
Gase is quite familiar with Minnesota's other starting receiver, Adam Thielen.
When asked "how it's possible" that a player who received just one small scholarship to a Division II school could reach the level Thielen has, Gase could do nothing but shrug his shoulders.
"I can't explain anything up until the last couple years. You know, I think he was a restricted a free agent, and you kind of comb through and start watching guys, and when we were watching him, I'm like, 'Wow, this guy is – like, where'd this guy come from?' " Gase said. "He just keeps getting better. He's seeing some different stuff that he's probably never gone against before, and he's figuring out within the game how to get open."
Gase emphasized how difficult it is to cover Thielen – and he's observed teams trying to do so all season long.
"We've had so many crossover games, [so] I've seen about every way that he's been doubled this year," Gase said. "Some people got creative, and it didn't matter. They still found a way to get him the ball, and he found a way to get open. He does a really good job with his routes. He makes it really tough."
Dolphins rookie linebacker Jerome Baker said that he and his defensive teammates understand what they're up against in the Vikings, who will be led by Interim Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski.
"They have so many weapons. The receivers (Diggs and Thielen), running back (Dalvin Cook), tight end (Kyle Rudolph) – they have it all," Baker said. "So it's definitely going to be a challenge, but that's what our defense likes, is a challenge. So we're going to go out there and perform."
Here are other highlights from the Dolphins talking about the Vikings this week:
Gase on the 'evolution' of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's defense:
"Well, I would say that the evolution is, he's got a lot of the same players as the last time I played him, except now they're veteran players, and you can tell how comfortable they are. They play fast, they're as tough as you get when you're playing any kind of defense. And then you put him behind the wheels of a defense, now that doubles everything.
"He's very hard to prepare for, he always has change-ups; even if you do have a little bit of success, he always has something else to go to, he always knows how to adjust in-game. It's a long three-and-a-half hours on Sunday because you're constantly working, and you're constantly fighting to stay ahead of him. It's very difficult."
WR Kenny Stills on prospect of matching up with Xavier Rhodes:
"Yeah, I think I played against him in college [when Rhodes was at] Florida State. He's a good player. I'm excited for the matchup. They've got a great defense all-around. They've got a great secondary, so it'll be a fun game."
Stills on Vikings secondary:
"The way they fly around to the ball. I feel like they do a good job of knowing their assignment and executing. I see them on film, all getting to the ball and wrapping up and keeping guys from making big plays."
DT Davon Godchaux on former LSU teammate Danielle Hunter:
"That's my partner. That's my guy. We're going to switch jerseys after the game. I talked to him. He's having a great season. I'm excited to see him.
"I feel like our D-line has to outplay their D-line because their D-line is going to come out and play fast, play physical. We have to do the same thing."