For the second consecutive day, Vikings star wide receiver Adam Thielen participated in practice. Again, it was in a limited role, leaving his status for Sunday’s game at Kansas City in question.
“I feel good,” Thielen said before Thursday’s practice. “I’ll find out more every practice.”
Thielen was sidelined by a hamstring injury after hauling in a touchdown catch in the first quarter of a 42-30 victory at Detroit. He missed last week’s 19-9 victory over Washington, snapping a streak of 87 consecutive games played.
“It was fun to watch them. It was obviously a different lens than I’m used to, but I think there was a lot of positive I could take from it,” Thielen said. Watching from the sideline, he added, “Is definitely tough. I think it’s a way that God is testing me because I’m not very good with patience.”
Thielen had hoped to play against Washington and remains hopeful about his chances this week. Hamstring injuries often have the tendency to linger and flare up, even after they appear healed. So, Thielen is taking it one day at a time.
“I’m just trying to have a good practice today and control what I can control and leave it up to the people that I trust in this organization to make that call,” he said.
Head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t expand much on Thielen’s assessment. Asked Thursday whether he Thielen would play against the Chiefs he said, “We’ll see.”
In seven games, Thielen has 27 catches for 391 yards and six touchdowns and remains on pace to beat his previous season-high in touchdowns (9). If he can’t go for the second straight week, the Vikings will turn to Olabisi Johnson, who assumed starting duties opposite Stefon Diggs last week.
Johnson caught two passes for 27 yards against Washington. Dalvin Cook played a larger role in the passing game, as well, catching five passes for 73 yards. His role in the screen game could be especially important to counteract the blitz, something Kansas City has relied on heavily the past few games.
“We’re extremely difficult to defend when we use all five eligibles,” Kyle Rudolph said. “You have to defend the run, you have to defend the play-action pass, you have to defend the boots.”
Thielen isn’t the only star whose status remains unknown. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes practiced in a limited role both Wednesday and Thursday because of a dislocated kneecap. If he can’t go, the Chiefs will turn to Matt Moore, who passed for 267 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Green Bay last Sunday night.
Luckily for both teams, both players still have a few more days to get ready.
“In this league, it’s all about being close to 100 percent on game day,” Thielen said. “I’ve got three, four more days to get to that point.”