Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen provided some of the only highlights on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears in a game that featured few big plays — emblematic of the “Black and Blue Division.”
While the Bears kept Dalvin Cook from getting loose, Thielen caught a pair of touchdowns — one of them one-handed — which garnered praise and awe around the league in the Vikings’ 19-13 win at Soldier Field.
A notable reaction: former Vikings and Minneapolis Miracle quarterback Case Keenum, who is now a backup on the Cleveland Browns.
Thielen finished the game with four catches for 43 yards as he proved to be a reliable red-zone weapon, while rookie Justin Jefferson moved the chains, catching eight passes for 135 yards.
The catch wasn’t even the most impressive part of the play as Thielen made a move the broadcasters glossed over.
Jefferson, poking fun at his mentor, still did not give Thielen a perfect score on the catch, rating it a 9 out of 10 in an animated postgame interview. He may need to take a second look now.
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Thielen’s Catch Places Him in Elite Company
Thielen’s one-handed TD grab in the first quarter not only put the Vikings in the driver’s seat but also landed him in elite company.
Since the 1970 merger, only two Vikings have caught eight or more touchdown passes in the first nine games of the season: Randy Moss, who completed the feat three times; and Cris Carter in 1997.
There was speculation of whether Thielen, who turned 30 this past offseason, could bounce back from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss seven games last season. Thielen has proved he is still in his prime, tying for the league-lead with nine receiving touchdowns, which matches a career high with seven games remaining in the season.
His 34 career receiving touchdowns is tied for sixth with Ahmad Rashad. Teammate Kyle Rudolph is fifth all-time with 48 touchdown receptions.
Thielen Honors Memory of Alex Trebek on Monday Night Football
As great as Theilen played on Monday, it was his cleats during pregame that caught national buzz as he sported customized cleats to honor late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.
Artist Dan “Mache” Gamache, posted a photo of the cleats which features Trebek with a halo and a Final Jeopardy answer with the message “We Will Miss You, Alex” with a $19,000 wager — a nod to Thielen’s number.
Thielen did not wear the cleats during the game, however, many on social media attributed his performance to his memorial of Trebek.
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter@trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.