Vikings receiver Adam Thielen didn’t speak to Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the game. The two exchanged only a few words during the game, but it was enough.
After officials ruled Latavius Murray gained a yard on fourth-and-one with 8:34 remaining in the game, Patriots defensive back Patrick Chung went down to the ground. Thielen obviously didn’t believe Chung was injured but instead faking an injury to buy time for the Patriots to look at a replay.
When Belichick threw the challenge flag, Thielen approached the sideline screaming.
“That’s bullish-t,” Thielen yelled.
“I just thought the play was cheap,” Thielen said afterward, via video from Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. “I wasn’t directing it toward him. I just thought the play was cheap. I let my emotions get the best of me, because it’s a smart football play. If you are in that situation, why not? It’s not cheating, because there’s no rule against from a guy going down. I don’t know if he was hurt or not. He might have been hurt. That’s fine. It is what it is. Just interesting timing for a guy to go down when it’s a close play.”
As an official escorted Thielen back toward the Vikings huddle, Belichick told the receiver to “shut the f–k up.” Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy also said something to Thielen.
Thielen appeared unfazed by Belichick’s suggestion.
“No offense taken,” Thielen said. “It’s football. There’s emotions. He can think what he wants to think about me. It doesn’t really change how I’m going to go play the game. He can hate me all he wants, and I’m going to still be the same person I am and try to go out and do my best and I’m going to try to compete every play.”
The Vikings won the challenge but lost the game, and Thielen had five catches for 28 yards and a touchdown.