Published: Tue, December 04, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Thielen: 'Cheap' play elicited Belichick exchange

Thielen: 'Cheap' play elicited Belichick exchange

Minnesota Vikings wideout Adam Thielen's night of arguing with everybody within earshot was not officially complete until the ultra-talented receiver got into a war of words with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

It came with under 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, with the Patriots leading by 14 points. Why not? It's not cheating because there's no rule against it from a guy going down, and I don't know if he was hurt or not. The Vikings still ended up turning the ball over on downs to end the possession anyhow and lost 24-10.

"He jumped in Thielen's face", McCourty said. "I think it was 17-10 at that time, right?"

He had quite a bit more to say to Thielen, the Vikings' standout wide receiver, during the game. But, like I said, I let my emotions get the best of me. If you are in that situation, why not? I don't know if he was hurt or not. he might've been hurt. That's fine. It is what it is. I can't lose it like that, but I just thought it was interesting timing for a guy to go down when it was a close play that could have been reviewed.

Thielen did regret the outburst.

Given the upfront nature of Thielen's barking towards the New England sideline, Belichick actually engaged (as much as he would in that moment, anyway) and told Thielen to "shut the [expletive] up", as captured by the National Football League on FOX camera crew. He said he was not offended by his exchange with Belichick, but the two did not speak to one another after the game, he said. You know, just like the defense. I just give a lot of credit to the offensive line. "I just thought the play was cheap", Thielen noted.

"No offense taken. It's football. We talk about things what I think are important and I think he tries to do those".

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"No, I don't think there's panic", he said. He can hate me all he wants and I'm still going to be the same person I am.

Outside of the sideline spat, Thielen was a significant story in this game for his lack of production.

Minnesota got the ball back quickly after Brady threw his first interception in five games, to Eric Kendricks. He did score the Vikings' lone touchdown, but the Patriots' defense clearly put an emphasis on limiting the risky receiver on this day.

Kirk Cousins finished 32 of 44 for 201 yards and touchdown for Minnesota, but had two late interceptions.

For his part, Belichick was concise on the topic. Following a loss to the Bears in Week 11, Zimmer said the Vikings might have too much volume in their playbook and that focusing on installing fewer new plays and "not trying to trick the other team quite so much" was the best approach to simplifying what they want to do offensively.

Belichick attributed the confrontation as two competitors "exchanging holiday greetings" when asked about the incident during his postgame press conference.

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