Adam Thielen reportedly took himself out of the Vikings' Week 9 loss to the Chiefs after initially trying to play through a hamstring injury. Thielen, a two-time Pro Bowl receiver, played in just seven snaps before watching the rest of Minnesota's 26-23 loss from the sideline. The injury sidelined Thielen for the entirety of the team's Week 8 victory over the Redskins.
On Monday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said that Thielen took himself out of Sunday's game after "not feeling himself." With Thielen on the bench, the Vikings were still able to take a 23-20 lead with 11 minutes remaining before allowing two late scoring drives.
"He went out there and just did not feel like himself," Rapoport said. "Didn't feel like he could really stretch it out and open it up and go. It's not really a re-aggravation, more of just a realizing that he wasn't ready to play and taking himself out before he did further damage."
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, who did not offer an update on his receiver's condition shortly following Sunday's game, followed suit during Monday's press conference when asked again about Thielen.
"I'm not sure, honestly," Zimmer said with regard to when Thielen may return to the field, via Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. "Whenever the doctors say he's ready, he's ready," Zimmer said.
With Thielen out, fourth year wideout Laquon Treadwell led the Vikings with 58 receiving yards. While running back Ameer Abdullah, receiver Olabisi Johnson and tight end Kyle Rudolph each caught touchdown passes from quarterback Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs struggled without Thielen on the field, catching just one of four targets for four yards. Diggs, who averaged 151 receiving yards in the three games prior to Sunday's outing, was held in check by a Chiefs secondary that was focused on slowing him down.
"You never know what you're going to get," Diggs said when asked about the attention he faced on Sunday, via Chris Tomasson of Twin Cities.com. "I anticipated things being a little bit different, but Thielen has been out the past two games as well. So I kind of like anticipated getting a little bit more attention, but you've got to work though it."
Diggs wasn't the only Minnesota skill position player who struggled in Thielen's absence. Star running back Dalvin Cook managed just 71 yards on 21 carries, while Cousins completed just half of his 38 pass attempts. Cook, to his credit, didn't blame his lack of production against Thielen or anything else.
"They weren't doing anything," Cook said about the Chiefs' defense. "We had what we wanted. We just didn't take advantage. We're a good close-out team, and (Sunday) we didn't close the game out."
While the loss dropped the Vikings to 6-3, Minnesota did not lose any ground in the AFC North division standings, as each team inside the division lost their respective game on Sunday. The Vikings, with or without Thielen, will look to get back on track Sunday night on the road against the Cowboys.