Those comments were critical of the Vikings’ offense, and while not mentioning quarterback Kirk Cousins by name, everyone - including Cousins - understood that Theilen wasn’t happy with Cousins either.
On Friday, Thielen decided to blame everyone else for, it seems, having ears.
Speaking with WCCO radio on Friday, Thielen said “everything’s good” between he and Cousins.
“You know, the media always tries to twist things and make things into what they’re not,” he said.
The Vikings had just 222 yards of offense and 15 first downs against Chicago; Thielen, Pro Bowler in each of the last two years, had two catches for 6 yards.
You said what you said
Thielen can try to blame “the media” if he wants, but he said what he said.
In video on the Vikings’ website, the 29-year-old said:
“At some point, you’re not going to be able to run the ball for 180 yards, even with the best running back in the NFL. And that’s when you have to be able to throw the ball. You have to be able to make plays. You have to be able to hit the deep balls. You have to do that because otherwise it’s too easy for teams to just tee up and rush the quarterback. We have to be able to run the ball and pass the ball.”
The Vikings are currently last in the NFL in passing attempts (99 in 4 games) and 31st in passing yards (676); they are fifth in rushing attempts (119) and second in rushing yards (621). Only Minnesota and San Francisco have more rushing attempts than pass attempts.
In the same post-game scrum, Thielen was asked about a missed opportunity on a deep ball and said, “He made a great read of finding me open and just didn’t complete the pass.”
He also said he didn’t feel as though he had trouble getting open against the Bears secondary.
This isn’t the first time Thielen and Cousins have seemingly had differences.
It’s understandable if Thielen is frustrated; he has just 13 catches on 22 targets to this point, on pace for 52 receptions, which would be his lowest output since 2015, when he had only 12 as a reserve receiver.
But the key is to keep the frustrations in-house and maybe not tell “the media” how bothered you are by the play-calling and the inability of your quarterback to throw downfield.
Thielen did walk back his comments on Monday, saying he wasn’t taking shots at coaches or teammates.
Cousins had Thielen on his podcast this week and apologized for missing opportunities to get him the ball.
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