KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Adam Thielen’s return Sunday to the Vikings lineup lasted less than a quarter.
Thielen was in the starting lineup and was targeted once on the Vikings’ first offensive series. But the wide receiver was soon back on the sideline testing his recently injured right hamstring.
Thielen did not return to the Vikings’ 26-23 loss despite being deemed “questionable.” Coach Mike Zimmer provided no clarity on Thielen’s injury, saying, “You’ll have to ask him,” but Thielen was not seen in the locker room postgame.
Thielen has missed one full game and most of two others in the past three weeks.
Stefon Diggs’ tremendous three-game stretch came to a screeching halt as he finished with one catch for 4 yards on four targets against the Chiefs. Diggs was coming off a franchise-record 453 receiving yards in the past three games.
“I anticipated things being a little bit different,” Diggs said, “but Adam had been out the last two weeks as well.”
The Vikings’ leader in receiving yards was Laquon Treadwell, who had a career-high 58 (on three catches), including 26 on a career-long grab in the first quarter. He was the only Vikings wide receiver with more than one catch.
Treadwell, the 2016 first-round pick who re-signed with the Vikings last month because of receiver injuries, said he has an urgency to prove himself.
“It’s my only chance,” Treadwell said. “It’s not about second chances, it’s my only chance. I have to make the most of my chances.”
‘Finish this game’
Five of the Vikings’ nine hits on Chiefs quarterback Matt Moore came in the fourth quarter, when a couple of defenders said Zimmer turned up the heat after not blitzing much in the first three quarters.
Defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo, who had one of the four sacks in the fourth quarter, said the Vikings needed to generate pressure after giving up some big plays.
Moore still beat the Vikings’ blitz on the 13-yard pass to Tyreek Hill that set up the Chiefs’ game-winning field goal.
“We had Everson [Griffen] and Linval [Joseph] saying we had to finish this game,” Odenigbo said. “I think Zim realized the quarterback had to throw a bad ball or we had to get a sack, so toward the end of the game we had Harry [Harrison Smith] and EK [Eric Kendricks] blitzing.”
Few, but critical, flags
Zimmer downplayed the effect that two penalties — an ineligible receiver downfield call on rookie center Garrett Bradbury and a penalty for hands to the face on right guard Josh Kline — had on back-to-back drives in the third quarter that ended in punts.
Bradbury was flagged twice in the third quarter, the other time for holding. He’s now tied with cornerback Xavier Rhodes for most penalties (seven) on the team.
The Vikings had only three penalties accepted for 25 yards.
Kearse and Hill play
Special teams captain Jayron Kearse played his normal role on the Vikings’ kick and coverage groups following his drunken driving arrest in Minneapolis last weekend.
Cornerback Holton Hill made his season debut after serving two four-game suspensions, playing on the kickoff team. Hill recovered Mecole Hardman’s fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half.
Kansas City played without six injured starters in quarterback Patrick Mahomes, offensive tackle Eric Fisher, guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, defensive end Frank Clark, defensive end Alex Okafor and cornerback Kendall Fuller.