Adam Thielen Clears the Air about Vikings Exit Last Year

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Adam Thielen was truly never part of the Minnesota Vikings’ 2023 plans.

Adam Thielen Clears the Air about Vikings Exit Last Year

Source? Him.

Adam Thielen
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Thielen was asked by Forbes this week if the Vikings approached him about a reunion last offseason, and he replied, “They did not, no. It never really got to that point. At that point, it was, do you guys want me to come back this year?”

The veteran wideout later skedaddled to the Carolina Panthers, and he actually thrived early in the 2023 campaign. In the end, he notched 1,014 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns, a respectable statline on a poor team with a young quarterback.

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Thielen continued, “Obviously they’re building for the future. They really did some great things. They drafted a young receiver that did a great job. I think they had a very specific plan of what their time was for the future and they’re attacking that and going after it. It is what it is. Have nothing but respect for all those guys.”

Jordan Addison was the young receiver mentioned by Thielen, and he took off immediately in Minnesota. He might’ve fetched Offensive Rookie of the Year attention, but after Kirk Cousins fell injured in October, replacement passers struggled to target the rookie.

Offseason Grade Do
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Thielen added about his gratitude for the Vikings, “Obviously you look back at it — when I’m done playing — it’s a little bit of a bummer that I wasn’t able to finish my career there. There’s so many blessings that came out of it that are not going to show up in the wins and losses. I’m so blessed that this experience happened because it’s really shaped myself and my family for the future.”

The former Viking agreed to a three-year, $25 million deal in Carolina last March and will hope the Panthers’ fortune reverses in 2024.

Thielen will turn 34 this summer, and the Panthers were the NFL’s worst team in 2023. They fired their head coach, let Bryce Young develop, and will watch in one week as the Chicago Bears use their draft pick to select USC’s Caleb Williams.

Many believed Thielen was tapped on the shoulder for a pay reduction request during the 2023 offseason. Yet, after his explanation to Forbes, Minnesota apparently had a life-without-Thielen plan from the onset of the 2023 offseason.

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Thielen ranks third in Vikings history per receiving touchdowns (55) and fourth in yards (6,682). He remains beloved among fans.

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