The standout receiver suffered a couple slight fractures in his back last week against the New Orleans Saints, sources said. He is active for the NFC Championship Game.
Thielen did not practice Wednesday and was a limited participant Thursday and Friday with what was categorized as a lower-back injury. Thielen spoke to the media early Wednesday morning before missing practice later that day. He was in running shoes and without a helmet.
Since he did not appear limited during the Vikings' Divisional Round win, his back issue was not addressed by reporters afterward, and he wasn't spotted in the locker room later in the week. He was moving gingerly on Friday and did not bend down while his teammates stretched and touched their toes.
Another source with direct knowledge of the injury said Thielen is not at risk of further damage. Though not explicitly stated, the injury was described like a transverse process fracture, previously suffered by Tony Romo and Derek Carr. Both missed just one week. Thielen does not have that luxury after being struck in the back by Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore in the third quarter last week. He returned to make a huge catch over Lattimore late in the fourth quarter.
The former undrafted free agent-turned-Pro Bowler has emerged as one of the feel-good stories in the NFL, setting new career highs with 91 receptions and 1,276 yards for his hometown team. And with a chance to help take the Vikings to a hometown Super Bowl, he won't miss it no matter how much pain he's in.