Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen has become a star and finds himself knocking on the door of league history entering Sunday night’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
Should Thielen produce another 100 yards receiving in Week 8, he would become the second player to record eight consecutive team games with 100-plus yards receiving at any point in a season in NFL history.
As to who deserves credit for making an impact on Thielen’s development into one of the league’s best wide receivers over the past two seasons?
Thielen saves the praise for a former teammate who will be watching Sunday from the opposing sidelines — Saints backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
"His impact — really all of the years he was here — was huge," Thielen said Thursday, via the Vikings’ official website. "I know personally, I probably wouldn’t be the receiver I am today without him."
Bridgewater joined the Vikings as a first-round pick out of Louisville in 2014, the same year Thielen signed as an undrafted free agent from Minnesota State.
The two quickly formed a bond and Thielen pointed out it was common for Bridgewater to host the wide receivers in the quarterback’s hometown of Miami during the offseason for workouts.
The chemistry on and off the field between quarterback and wide receiver lasted through Bridgewater’s time in Minneapolis, which ended last season.
"He kind of thought like a receiver, so it was really cool to have him as a quarterback that really thought like a receiver," Thielen said. "And I remember so many times last year after a game, he’d come up to me and say, ‘Hey, you could have done this better, you could have done that better.’ Just so many things that I wasn’t thinking about that he was thinking about was really cool."
Meanwhile, Thielen has blossomed from a special teams contributor to an every-down wide receiver. He produced his first 1,000-yard receiving season in 2017, earning second-team All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl selection, and is well on pace to collect a second consecutive 1,000-yard campaign.
But through it all, the Vikings wide receiver won’t forget Bridgewater’s influence on his career.
"He’s a special guy to me, obviously, and I try to keep in touch with him as much as possible," Thielen said.
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