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Thielen's hamstring injury keeps him out of Vikings practice

Coach Mike Zimmer said Adam Thielen didn’t suffer a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury, but the Pro Bowl receiver missed a second straight practice on Thursday and now appears likely to sit out a fourth straight game when the Vikings play the Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

“I think he’s getting really close, but there’s really no sense to push it,” Zimmer said. “Like today, there’s really no sense to push it. We’ll see how it goes next week or, uh, tomorrow.”

Whether that last sentence was a slip of the lip or not, who knows. But one thing is certain.

“He’s frustrated,” Zimmer said.

Thielen played nine snaps against the Lions on Oct. 20. His ninth snap was a 25-yard touchdown pass that jump-started a 42-30 win.
He sat out the Washington game four days later before trying to play the following Sunday at Kansas City. His hamstring lasted seven snaps.

Thielen was limited in practice last week and was listed as questionable on Saturday’s final injury report before being ruled out on Sunday.

“[Hamstring injuries] are all different,” Zimmer said “We always get an MRI. Sometimes two or three MRIs to see where they’re at. And typically, at the end of the day, you have to trust the player.

“If the MRI looks pretty good, you trust the player. If the player says he can play, then you let him play. That’s kind of what happened a few weeks ago against Kansas City. That’s what happened. The MRI looked good, the player said he could play. Started to play and he couldn’t end up playing. So we’ve been cautious with it. We’ve had a couple more MRIs.”

Reiff also sits, Joseph returns

Left tackle Riley Reiff remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol and did not practice Thursday. If he can’t play, Rashod Hill will make his 18th start in four seasons as a Viking, including playoffs.

Hill has 13 starts at right tackle and four at left tackle. He hasn’t started a game this season but started eight last year. He stepped in for Reiff for the second half of Monday night’s game in Seattle.

“I think Rashod has proven to be very versatile,” said offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. “You saw [Monday] that he came in and I thought performed pretty well. … He’s really taken the bit as being a player that is always ready to go.”

Meanwhile, nose tackle Linval Joseph (knee) was listed as a full participant in Thursday’s practice after sitting out Wednesday.

Upgraded from limited on Wednesday to full participant on Thursday were safety Harrison Smith (hamstring) and linebacker Eric Wilson (shoulder). Limited again Thursday were running back Dalvin Cook (chest), defensive end Everson Griffen (knee) and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee).

Gedeon ‘pushed it too far’

Two concussions in a six-week span landed linebacker Ben Gedeon on injured reserve last week. Zimmer paused and searched for the right words when asked Thursday about having to put Gedeon on IR.

“Ben loves to play the game,” Zimmer said. “And I think he might have pushed it a little too far. He should have just been a little more patient with it. He passed all the tests, but sometimes it reoccurs on certain things. So it was bothering him for a while.”

Gedeon suffered the first one against the Giants in Week 5. He missed two games and then played in four, suffering a second concussion against the Broncos before the bye week.

Maalouf takes the blame

Special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf said he was to blame for Seattle’s 29-yard run on a fake field goal in Monday night’s game.

“That’s totally on me,” he said. “I think I probably was trying to be a little bit too aggressive. Our players did a good job of lining up. I think I was just trying to force the situation where we should have probably been a little bit more conservative.

“We saw a couple things on film earlier in the week that I don’t necessarily want to share right now in case we have to play them again. But I think we were trying to go after something and it probably wasn’t the right time.”

Ex-NFL players take issue with fourth-down call at end of Vikings loss

Coordinator Kevin Stefanski’s final play call in the Vikings’ 37-30 loss in Seattle on Monday night was a hot topic on social media among former NFL players including quarterback Kurt Warner and safety Matt Bowen, now an ESPN analyst who said he expected a “higher-percentage throw” against the Seahawks’ man coverage.

Cousins locked onto his first read, tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the flat, on a fourth-and-3 attempt with 2 minutes and 31 seconds left. The pass fell incomplete against tight man-to-man coverage. All Cousins could’ve done differently, according to head coach Mike Zimmer, was buy some time in the pocket.

“The only thing he probably could’ve done better was move until somebody got open,” Zimmer said Tuesday. “Got to make those quick decisions. I thought he played well, so I’m really not concerned about that one bit.”

Zimmer continued to be complementary of Cousins, who has a career-high 111.9 quarterback rating through 12 games.

“He did well,” Zimmer said. “He was under duress a few times but made good plays. He moved in the pocket pretty well. He got the ball out under some tough situations. The one route that got intercepted there at the end, the guy kind of sat on the route.”

Cousins’ NFL-best streak of 202 throws without an interception came to an end when Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers snatched the ball from receiver Stefon Diggs in the fourth quarter.

Occupying Zimmer’s concerns this week are the run defense and return phases on special teams. Fullback C.J. Ham, fielding a shortened kickoff return with 14 seconds left, fumbled to seal the loss.

“We have to get some return game going,” Zimmer said.

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