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Jim Souhan

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan rapid reaction: Thielen produces again

The Vikings unveiled a mystery dance on Sunday, with Adam Thielen scoring a touchdown, then standing in front of his teammates, flailing his arms around.

The dance provided the mystery, not the identity of the guy who caught the ball.

Adam Thielen caught 11 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown on Sunday as the Vikings beat the Cardinals, 27-17. Thielen became the first player in the Super Bowl era and second overall to begin the season with six straight 100-yard receiving games.


Only Houston’s Charley Hennigan has recorded seven straight to start a season, and he did that in 1961.

The Vikings held serve, beating a rookie quarterback (Arizona’s Josh Rosen) at home to improve to 3-2-1, with another rookie quarterback on tap next Sunday, in the Jets’ Sam Darnold.

Thielen has become the NFL’s most consistently excellent receiver, and on Sunday he became Kirk Cousins’ safety belt as well. As the Cardinals frustrated Cousins with a strong rush and by batting down passes, Cousins repeatedly threw the ball in Thielen’s general direction, confident Thielen would make a play.

And so often he did, making a diving catch along the sideline, finding the soft spots in zones, and cutting over the middle, risking large hits.

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Souhan: Grading the Vikings in Sunday's win over the Eagles

Breaking down the components of an impressive and necessary victory at Philadelphia:

Kirk Cousins: A. He has been prolific in every game except one while under pressure. He made at least two throws on Sunday that looked, by his body language and arm angle, like he might be just throwing the ball away to avoid a sack. Both hit Adam Thielen in stride, one for a touchdown.

Receivers: A. Thielen is one of the best players in the NFL and Diggs is comparable. I'd like to see Brandon Zylstra get some of Laquon Treadwell's playing time.

Running backs: C. Murray and his fellow backups did well to grind out yards against a tough defensive front. This would have been a B if not for Thomas' dangerous fumble on the backwards pass from Cousins.

Offensive line: B. I'm always wary of trying to grade offensive lines. Those on the outside just can't know who had what responsibilities. But after a shaky start the line did well enough for the Vikings to put up plenty of yards against a good defense.

Tight end: B. Cousins clearly has made getting the ball to his top two wideouts a priority. Kyle Rudolph isn't putting up big numbers, but he and his cohorts are doing their jobs.

Defensive line: A. Weatherly, Hunter and Joseph made big plays and this group overcame the absence of Everson Griffen.

LInebackers: B. Anthony Barr remains strangely quiet. Kendricks continues to make plays. With George Iloka playing more, Ben Gedeon rarely saw the field other than short-yardage situations.

Defensive  backs: B. Andrew Sendejo continues to arrive with violence. Too often, he's drawing penalties or arriving a hair late. Xavier Rhodes played well, Alexander continues to seem to be at the center of defensive lapses.

Special teams: D. Dan Bailey has Blair Walsh disease, but his history in the league and his clutch 52-yard field goal offer hope.

Coaching: A. Interesing that the Eagles aren't the same team without Frank Reich and John DeFillippo on the offensive staff. Zimmer had the team ready to play and DeFillippo was excellent at mixing calls, maximizing the passing offense and understanding situations.