Is a Hometown Favorite’s Time with Vikings Coming to an End?

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Adam Thielen’s career with the Minnesota Vikings has been nothing short of impressive, and it might be ending.

According to a recent post from Adam Schefter, Thielen and the Vikings will be having some hard and heavy conversations over the next few days, and the outcome of the discussions could determine the future of his career.

From the day the undrafted free agent out of Minnesota State Mankato received an invite to rookie minicamp to his career as a two-time Pro Bowler for the Vikings, Thielen established himself as one of the most reliable and productive wide receivers in the NFL.

Is a Hometown
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I’m not sure if you’ve heard this before, but Thielen grew up in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and played college football at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Despite impressive numbers in college, he went undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft. However, the Vikings signed him as a free agent, and he made the team’s practice squad.

Is a Hometown Favorite’s Time with Vikings Coming to an End?

Thielen’s hard work and dedication would soon pay off for a team devoid of wide receiver depth. Though he played sparingly in his first two seasons with the Vikings, Adam gradually earned more playing time, and in 2016, he had a breakout season, catching 69 passes for 967 yards and five touchdowns. That season he would become the first Viking since his childhood idol Randy Moss in 2000 to have multiple 100-yard receiving games in a season.

Thielen’s success continued in 2017, as he made his first Pro Bowl after catching 91 passes for 1,276 yards and four touchdowns. That year, he set a Vikings record by starting the season with eight consecutive games with at least five catches and 50 receiving yards.

PFF Sends Vikings Help
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Injuries limited Thielen’s production in 2018, but he still managed to catch 113 passes for 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns over the course of the season, including a memorable game against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12, catching eight passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, with a game-winning catch in overtime.

Thielen missed six games in 2019 due to injury but still managed to catch 30 passes for 418 yards and six touchdowns. He also had a strong showing in the playoffs, catching five passes for 50 yards and two touchdowns in a wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

In 2020, Thielen remained a reliable target for quarterback Kirk Cousins, catching 74 passes for 925 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had a career day in Week 11 against the Dallas Cowboys, catching eight passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

About the Forecasted Adam Thielen Decline 
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The last two seasons for the Vikings saw Thielen’s role drop slightly, but he remained productive, averaging 68 catches, 771 yards, and 8 touchdowns per season. However, following the 2022 season, some frustrations with his role started to boil to the surface.

Stemming from a handful of Instagram posts from his wife, the business side of the game began rearing its head, and the potential for his career to take him away from the hometown team became more of a reality.

Soon after these comments surfaced, Thielen joined The Power Trip Morning show on KFAN to share that his plans are not to retire and continue playing football into 2023 — and the reality that it may not be with the Vikings is possible.

https://www.iheart.com/podcast/139-the-power-trip-morning-sho-24992310/episode/hr-3-adam-thielen-on-107334354/

Now this Schefter tweet, the latest in a handful of events, that if the circumstances of a team-friendly restructure are not agreed upon, could push Minnesota’s hometown wide receiver away from the Vikings for the first time in his career.

While there’s nothing official yet, push is apparently coming to shove with this situation as the gaze for Minnesota is firmly planted forward onto the NFL Draft, Free agency, and the 2023 season. The free agent market for wide receivers is relatively thin this season, so there certainly could be demand out there for a 32-year-old Thielen, who is still productive but might not be in the budget for the Vikings. Can they pay him? Is Adam a part of their plans? Will a mutually agreed upon restructuring even be possible? Will Adam suit up in a different home locker room for the first time in his career?

We might be finding out the answers to all of these questions later this week — and then the market opens up next Wednesday throughout the league.


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