Thank You, Adam Thielen
Word on the street is that this may be the end. If it is, we have much to be indebted to you, Adam Thielen. What you gave to this organization, fanbase, and state is unparalleled. Ten years of outperforming expectations on and off the field have cemented your name and legacy in the halls of Valhalla.
For a Detroit Lakes kid who grew up idolizing Randy Moss and rooting for your hometown team, we know it was a dream come true for you to suit up in purple and gold. But it was also a dream come true for us. To see one of our own rising above expectations to produce at the level that you did for so many years gives us incredible gratitude that you could do it while staying home.
You nearly didn’t make it. In year four, you were told that your future on the team was dependent on your performance in joint practices with Cincinnati. Just like the rest of your career, you rose to the occasion and put your God-given talents and drive to work, and began one of the most storied careers in Vikings history.
Thank You, Adam Thielen
Not only did you make the team that year, but you turned in a 69-catch, 967-yard season. Not too bad for the guy who was supposed to get cut.
Your story has not only provided a true, feel-good story about a hometown kid, but it has also inspired the next generation of Minnesota athletes to follow a dream to fulfillment, no matter the odds or where they grow up. Detroit Lakes, MN, isn’t supposed to produce one of the best wide receivers any NFL franchise has ever seen, let alone the one just a couple of hours south.
We’ll never forget the first time you were privileged to participate in a game with high stakes –- 2015 Week 17 with the division on the line in Green Bay -– you burst onto the national scene with a fake punt conversion that had Al Michels looking at his box score to make sure he had your name right.
For a franchise that has been graced with Moss, Carter, and Jefferson, it was you, that skinny kid from Minnesota State, who still holds the NFL record for most consecutive 100-yard receiving games to start a season. By the time his Minnesota career is over, Adam Thielen will rank 3rd in franchise history in receptions and receiving touchdowns. That isn’t supposed to happen.
No matter where the Thielen family calls home next, I’m sure you will take some unforgettable memories with you. Returning from injury in time for the playoffs, you turned in one of the great playoff performances we have seen in recent memory. Overcoming an early fumble, your 129-yard game in New Orleans punctuated by the 43-yard tumbling reception to set up an improbable victory will be ingrained in this generation of Vikings fans’ minds for years to come.
As if your performance on the field wasn’t enough, Minnesota and its kids can’t thank you enough for the work you and Caitlin have done through the Thielen Foundation. A Walter Payton Man of the Year nomination doesn’t do justice to all the lives you have impacted. You have been given so much, and to see you give it right back speaks volumes about your gratitude and selflessness.
This may very well be the end of the road for us. And if you feel you have games left in you, you have earned the right to keep pursuing that dream, either here or elsewhere.
Just be assured that even years from now, after your NFL playing career has ended, No. 19 jerseys will still be seen scattered across U.S. Bank Stadium, bars, and Minnesota homes on game days. The hope, excitement, and charity you gave us while wearing purple will never be forgotten. Nor will you be.
Don’t be a stranger, AT.
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Will is a husband, father of two, and earned an undergraduate degree in Economics (just like Kwesi Adofo-Mensah). Will’s favorite pastimes are water skiing, Minnesota sports, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. He is the co-host of the Load the Box Vikings Podcast with Jordan Hawthorn. Follow him on Twitter (@willbadlose) and find his other sports content at Twins Daily and his very own Bad Loser Blog.
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