ESPN Expert Predicts Adam Thielen’s Future

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In addition to the on-the-field auditions and activities, the NFL Combine is a grand get-together for NFL executives and head coaches. Whispers and rumors naturally emanate from the event, and 2023 is no different.

While C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richarson stole quarterback headlines with glittering performances in Indianapolis, ESPN analyst Jeremy Fowler examined the free-agent buzz, and the Minnesota Vikings weren’t left out.

ESPN Expert Predicts Adam Thielen’s Future

ESPN Expert Predicts
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And for long-time wide receiver Adam Thielen, Fowler hinted at a split with the Vikings. He explained, “Watch for the Minnesota Vikings to make some moves with veteran players, too. Receiver Adam Thielen’s $20 million cap hit must be reworked, and it wouldn’t surprise if talks resulted in a fresh start.

Thielen and the Vikings front office have engaged in contract negotiation talks for about a month.

“His role in the offense could be an issue after Thielen averaged 6.4 targets per game, down from 7.3 in 2021. He believes he has more to offer than that, and Minnesota very well could enter the receiver market in free agency or via trade. Safety Harrison Smith ($19.1 million) and linebacker Eric Kendricks ($11.4 million) are veterans to watch, as well,” Fowler continued.

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Fowler concluded about Vikings free agency, “The Vikings could ask them to restructure their contracts or take pay cuts. The sense here is Smith stays on, even if it’s at a reworked salary.”

A possible Thielen departure has been rumored since the Vikings lost at home to the New York Giants in the postseason. Thielen appeared to soak up U.S. Bank’s atmosphere right after the game, implying it may have been his last as a Viking.

However, Thielen hasn’t been shy in the last two months about his desire to remain with the club. He’s a Minnesotan through and through, so it’s rather unsurprising that he’d like to end a storybook career in the North Star State.

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Thielen said on ESPN’s First Take right before the Super Bowl, “I want to retire a Viking. Will that happen? I don’t know. This is also a business. And I also want my opportunity to show that I can play at a high level. So, we’ll see what happens.”

“We’re working through some stuff because I have a big cap hit. They’re gonna try to do something, but we’ll see,” Thielen replied on The Pat McAfee Show in the same week.

Thielen recorded 716 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns in 2022, numbers not quite equivalent to a $19.9 million pricetag on deck for 2023. He could end up back in purple, but ESPN seems to believe post-combine that it’s unlikely.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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