Adam Thielen Forecasted for Career Downturn

Jun 14, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) on the way to practice during the Carolina Panthers minicamp. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings released Adam Thielen in March, a cap casualty amid general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s competitive rebuild.

Soon after, Thielen latched onto the Carolina Panthers and should be on deck for WR1 duties in 2023.

Adam Thielen Forecasted for Career Downturn

But not everyone is convinced the Panthers experiment will be prosperous for Thielen, who turns 33 in August. In fact, FantasyPros, a popular fantasy football website, foresees a ‘massive dip’ for the beloved former Viking.

Thielen Forecasted
Adam Thielen answered questions on his mentality moving to a new state and playing with a new team. Thielen left the Vikings after the 2022 season, latching onto the Carolina Panthers for 3 years and $25 million.

Dennis Sosic of FantasyPros previewed Carolina from a fantasy standpoint and mentioned Thielen, “The Carolina Panthers added this pair of veteran receiving options to assist their number one overall pick Bryce Young with reliable outlets in the passing game. Adam Thielen continued to produce despite a noticeable decline in skill.”

Thielen hasn’t tabulated 1,000+ yards in a season since 2018.

Dec 6, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) in the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

“Thielen scored six touchdowns last season with the Minnesota Vikings and caught 70 passes on 107 targets for 716 yards. The veteran wideout will not have the best receiver in the NFL (Justin Jefferson) opposite him in Carolina, so look for those numbers to take a massive dip,” Sosic concluded.

Thielen joined the Vikings in 2013 as an undrafted free agent, spent a year on the practice squad, and eventually clawed his way up the depth chart to Pro Bowl stardom. About a week after departing the Vikings in March, he signed with the Panthers for three years and $25 million, an upstart club hoping to do big things under new head coach Frank Reich.

Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) runs past Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. (26) on a third-quarter pass play at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

Departing the Vikings, Thielen banked the fourth-most receiving yards in franchise history, only trailing Cris Carter, Randy Moss, and Anthony Carter. He’ll hope to defy the FantasyPros prediction alongside rookie passer Bryce Young, the first overall pick in April’s draft. And Thielen has one major item trending his way — targets. Sharing a WR1-WR2 workload with D.J. Chark will probably feel different than running with the aforementioned Jefferson for three years.

It’ll be up to the Thielen and the Panthers offense to determine if his career resurges or if he tumbles into the Sosic prediction.

May 12, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) and wide receiver Jonathan Mango (15) talk during the Carolina Panthers rookie camp at the Atrium Practice Facility in Charlotte, NC. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Thielen joined The Rich Eisen Show last week and mentioned Young, “You know, first overall pick, with all the hype and all that, you know there’s gonna be a lot of potential, and you know he’s gonna have a lot of talent. But I think he just kinda surprised a lot of guys of how prepared he was for the NFL game.”

The yay or nay on FantasyPros’ prophecy probably boils down to how productive Young is out of the gate. Barring injury, Thielen will get his targets.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by