The Vikings entered the offseason with two exclusive rights free agents: Adam Thielen and Carter Bykowski.
Players designated with the “ERFA” status have no choice but to play another season for their former team if that team wants to retain them at a set price. Well, unless they want to retire from the NFL, that is.
The Vikings have retained the services of both of these guys as of Monday afternoon, according to a press release distributed by the team.
Wide receiver Adam Thielen (age 25) has been with the Vikings since 2013 and always seems to produce when it counts, despite limited playing time opportunities. Thielen caught 12 passes for 144 yards in 2015, has underrated speed down the field, and is a consistent contributor on special teams. Bringing back the local favorite was as predictable as anything can be with the Vikings and he was tied for a our third-ranked internal free agent.
Whether the Vikings keep Mike Wallace or not, whether they obtain outside help at the wide out position or not, Thielen provides valuable depth at the position heading into training camp.
Offensive tackle Carter Bykowski never suited up for the Vikings after suffering a torn pectoral during the preseason. He is not a lock to make the final roster, but provides some intriguing depth on a roster that currently features plenty of question marks at the tackle position, some of which should become clearer in the coming days.
The Vikings are bringing back Phil Loadholt on a reduced contract, seem content to keep Matt Kalil for one more year, and are rumored to be looking at free agent options like Mitchell Schwartz. Oh, and the NFL Draft will present some options, as well.
Unlike the case of Zach Line, there is no opportunity for Adam Thielen and Carter Bykowski to negotiate with other NFL teams.
Be sure to follow along with all of the latest on our FREE AGENCY LIVE BLOG hosted by Austin Belisle.