The Adam Thielen Rumor Mill Heats Up

The Minnesota Vikings released Adam Thielen last Friday after 10 seasons with the franchise, a cap-clearing measure granting the Minnesota native access to free agency for the first time since his undrafted status in 2013.

As of Monday, Thielen was free to sign anywhere in the league, but the WR market has been quiet through two days of free agency’s “legal tampering” period.

The Adam Thielen Rumor Mill Heats Up

Still, the 32-year-old will land somewhere, probably in the coming days, and a few landing spots have already been whispered inside the rumor mill.

the adam thielen
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

The most credible rumor so far is a relationship with the Carolina Panthers, who will almost certainly select a quarterback with the draft’s first overall pick in 43 days. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport¬†tweeted Tuesday: “This is interesting: The Panthers are expected to host former Vikings WR Adam Thielen on a visit tomorrow. The veteran has plenty left, and Carolina will get the first look.”

To acquire the aforementioned pick, Carolina sent a king’s ransom and wide receiver D.J. Moore to the Chicago Bears, so it needs all the help it can get in the WR room. Thielen could receive the targets he craves within a Panthers offense this September. Carolina currently employs Terrace Marshall, Laviska Shenault, and Shi Smith at wide receiver — not exactly a robustly talented group.

Vikings Comment on
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) is unable to catch a pass while defended by New York Giants cornerback Fabian Moreau (37) during the fourth quarter during a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Otherwise, the Kansas City Chiefs make all the sense in the world. NFLAnalysis.Net’s Evan Massey reported Tuesday, “Per source, the Chiefs and Adam Thielen have discussed a potential deal. Plenty of other suitors are interested, but Kansas City is a real team to watch.”

One of the reasons Thielen opted to depart the Vikings was the personal belief that he still had a lot of football left in the tank. What’s the best way to prove one is right following that statement? Join the best quarterback in football — possibly of all time when it’s all said and done. After trading Tyreek Hill last offseason, Kansas City affirmed it doesn’t really give a damn about high-priced WRs and can win Lombardi trophies without them. Thielen’s next contract won’t break the bank, and the ex-Viking is as dependable as gravity. He’d fit wonderfully in a Chiefs offense because, well, everybody would.

a pretty picture
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Adam Thielen and Minnesota Vikings players celebrate the win against the Indianapolis Colts after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Indianapolis Colts were also subtly linked to Thielen’s free agency, but that one, for now, is just in the shadows. Like the Panthers, Indianapolis will probably draft their quarterback of the future in April after habitually failed experiments with Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan. Life after Andrew Luck’s retirement has been brutal, and it’s time for the Colts to do what they do best — scout and draft a quarterback. Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck can tell you all about it.

Thielen can sign with 31 possible teams, assuming he doesn’t return to the Vikings, but the Panthers, Chiefs, and Colts are all the rage as of March 15th.


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).

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

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