Vikings’ Adam Thielen Makes Strong Statement on Key Drop in Eagles Loss

Irv Smith Jr.

Getty Vikings veteran receiver Adam Thielen addressed Irv Smith Jr. (84) dropping a pass in the first half of an eventual 24-7 loss to the Eagles on September 19.

Minnesota Vikings veteran Adam Thielen knows that lingering feeling that sits with a player after missing an opportunity on the field.

Speaking on behalf of tight end Irv Smith Jr., Thielen has no doubt the fourth-year tight end will bounce back better than ever after dropping a pass that could have turned the tides of a demoralizing 24-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on September 19.

Adam Thielen Says Irv Smith Jr. Will be ‘Huge’ for Vikings

Still sitting with the bad taste of a primetime loss to the Eagles, Thielen didn’t devote an ounce of malice toward Smith, who has caught flak in the fan base for dropping a pass late in the first half that would have gone for a touchdown.

Had Smith capitalized on the chance, Minnesota could have cut the Eagles lead to a single possession and would have the chance to tie, receiving the ball to start the second half. It certainly would have offered more optimism heading into halftime, but Thielen acknowledged the team needs to take responsibility for their play first.

“He’s such a talented player and such a great guy, I obviously feel for him, but that game did not come down to that play,” Thielen said in a September 19 locker room interview. “He’s only going to be a better football player because of it.”

Thielen, who’s climbed from strictly a special teams role to a starting offensive star acknowledged the pressure a player puts on themselves when opportunities are limited — and that each of those missed opportunities motivates the next.

“We’ve all been in that situation before. We’ve all had plays like that we can look back on our career that pushed us a little more, and I think he’s going to be a huge, huge factor in us winning football games moving forward,” Thielen added.

Irv Smith Jr. Showed Flashes of Brilliance vs. Eagles

While Smith’s drop was a lowlight of the Eagles loss, he did reel in the only touchdown for the Vikings on Monday. Smith finished the game with five receptions for 36 yards on eight targets, including this third-down conversion where he flashed his running ability in space.

Smith, coming off meniscus surgery that forced him to miss the 2021 season and thumb surgery in August, is still returning to form after not playing a game in nearly two years. The former second-round pick is in the final year of his rookie deal and will need to put his worth on the field this season if he’s going to receive a second contract by the new Vikings regime.

“A loss like this isn’t pretty, we don’t take it lightly at all, but at the same time we have a long season and we know our goals ahead. As a team we’re just going to come together, take this and look ourselves in the eye as men and move forward,” Smith said in a September 19 locker room interview. “Your objective as a tight end and an offensive player is to score touchdowns and put points on the board. Doing that, I was definitely excited, some plays I wish I would have made but there’s room to improve.”

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