DETROIT – Receiver Adam Thielen did not return to the Vikings’ 42-30 win on Sunday against the Lions after tweaking his hamstring on a 25-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
Thielen is expected to undergo an MRI to determine the severity of his hamstring injury, which didn’t immediately remove the Vikings receiver from the game. He wasn’t ruled out by the Vikings until the third quarter, when he remained in pads and a baseball cap on the sideline. Thielen said he felt the injury in his leg before colliding with the padded wall beyond a Ford Field end zone.
“I just felt it, then I ran into the wall,” Thielen said. “That’s about it.”
Thielen, 29, has not missed a game in his NFL career — available for all 89 contests — and his durability will be tested on a short week. The Vikings host the Washington Redskins on Thursday night at U.S. Bank Stadium, giving him just four days to recover.
“We’ll find out more [Sunday night or Monday] and go from there,” Thielen said.
Even thought it was from a perspective he didn’t want, Thielen still enjoyed the Vikings’ season-high 503 yards from the sideline.
“It was fun to be a part of just watching,” Thielen said. “The O-line played unbelievable and Kirk’s performance, that was unbelievable. One of the better performances from a quarterback I’ve seen.”
Johnson steps up, again
After Thielen’s injury, rookie receiver Olabisi Johnson again proved to be a reliable option for quarterback Kirk Cousins. Johnson’s eight targets mark a career high in his seventh NFL game, which he turned into 40 yards and his first NFL touchdown. From the Lions’ 1-yard line, Johnson motioned across the formation and sprung free for an easy play-action touchdown in the second quarter.
“I knew it was coming my way from the start,” Johnson said of his first NFL score.
Johnson has 13 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown — all in the past four games since receiver Chad Beebe was placed on injured reserve.
Hughes in, Sherels out
A changing of the guard took place Sunday as cornerback Mike Hughes made his first NFL start at … punt returner. Cornerback Marcus Sherels, who signed Sept. 22 to reclaim his old returner job, was a healthy scratch in Detroit as the Vikings turned to Hughes during his fifth game back from last year’s knee surgery. Hughes, who is splitting time at slot and outside cornerback, fielded two returns for nine yards.
“If I can get more opportunities,” Hughes said, “I’m excited to show what I can do with the ball in my hands.”
Hughes averaged 16.6 yards on punt returns during his final season at Central Florida.
Taking a breather
On a day where the Vikings offense put up a season-high 42 points, linebacker Anthony Barr tipped his cap to the other side of the ball for sustaining drives and helping the defense rest. After the Lions churned out 11 first downs in the first quarter, Cousins and company had a 15-play touchdown drive that ate up more than seven minutes of the second quarter.
“[The Lions] were getting out of the huddle quick, getting on the ball, a lot of receivers running around,” Barr said. “They had some long drives for us, too, so when the offense turns around and puts together those drives, that was huge.”
The Lions defense was already without injured defensive linemen Mike Daniels and Da’Shawn Hand when cornerback Darius Slay, nursing a hamstring injury ahead of the game, left in the second quarter. Defensive tackle Damon Harrison also missed part of the game due to a groin injury.
Lions running back Kerryon Johnson, who had five carries for 23 yards, exited in the first quarter due to a knee injury.