MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) — Everything on Friday was the usual for Adam Thielen.
He donned purple football gear and went out to practice on the very field – the Minnesota State University, Mankato – where he’d spent the last five years solidifying himself as one of the best Maverick wideouts ever.
The one difference on Friday was, this time he did it as a pro.
“It’s a really comfortable feeling for me, being here,” he said, after Day 1 of Vikings Training Camp.
The former Detroit Lakes All-State star finished his college career as second or third in all major receiving records. After standing out during the Vikings’ three-day rookie mini-camp earlier this summer, Minnesota signed him.
Now he’s aiming to make it through training camp, and slide into one of the Vikings’ few remaining roster spots.
And it appears his home state’s backing him, too.
While media members flocked to the usual purple suspects on Friday – the Petersons and the Ponders – Thielen had a solid following all day, including, of course, his hometown paper.
“The support I’ve received and people behind me — it’s been awesome,” he said, as multiple hyper-Vikings blogs believe he has a “good as shot as any” to make the final cut.
He’s enlisted the help of other Minnesotans to give his game a boost, such as Adam Weber, the former Gopher QB, current NFL signal-caller and Shoreview native.
“I worked out this summer at a place called ETC in the cities,” he said. “Threw a lot of balls with a couple of pros – Adam Weber was one. He’s a great quarterback. He’s played in the league a while so it was good to have his leadership.”
As for the moment, he’s got one of the NFL’s best at his position – newly signed free agent Greg Jennings – to mimic.
“It’s great to have Greg,” he said. “He told me to ‘Just be yourself.’ That was the first day of OTAs. He said, ‘Don’t try to be someone you’re not,’ And that’s helped me along the way.”