The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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August 6, 2013

Thielen looking like legitimate prospect

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — Cordarrelle Patterson and fellow rookie wide receiver Adam Thielen are training camp roommates with the Minnesota Vikings.

Patterson was a first-round draft selection from Tennessee, a player the Vikings coveted enough to trade four lower picks to move up and get. Thielen came from Division II Minnesota State and didn't land on the roster until after a weekend minicamp.

But Patterson hasn't bought into the notion his new buddy has a lesser stature because he's from a small school and working without a guaranteed contract.

"I love him to death, not only as a teammate but as a friend. I hope he makes this team. He's a great guy," Patterson said. "I could see him playing with me. If he would've come to Tennessee, he was guaranteed to play there."

Minnesota State was Thielen's only scholarship option out of Detroit Lakes, Minn., where he grew up rooting for the Vikings and trying to imitate Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter's tiptoe sideline catches in his backyard. He wasn't even sure he'd pick football over basketball when mulling his college choices.

But after a standout career with the Mavericks and some speedy sprints in front of NFL scouts during the offseason, Thielen wound up at the rookie minicamp with the Vikings, with dozens of other hopefuls.

"I was just going out there with a mindset to show that I belonged here. I had total confidence in myself that I was good enough," Thielen said. "I just wanted to prove that to the coaches and put it on their belts and see what happens."

Now he's trying to make the team. Veterans Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright are locks, along with Patterson. So Thielen is vying with Stephen Burton and converted quarterback Joe Webb, among others, for what's probably the last spot on the 53-man roster. The practice squad also is an option.

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