Life after Thielen…

In his 10 seasons with the Vikings, Adam Thielen has worked his way up from a practice squad/special-teamer to a sure-fire member of the Ring of Honor. Now, his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings is officially over.

The Detroit Lakes native went undrafted out of Minnesota State in 2013. In four seasons with the Mavs, Thielen played in 46 games, catching 198 passes for 2,802 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is the greatest player in Maverick football history, and an inspiration to many who attend the university. His departure from his hometown team is devastating.

“It’s a damn shame,” said my roommate.

The 32-year-old Thielen’s future with the team hung in the balance this offseason, and their partnership eventually came to an end due to contract and role disputes. The Vikings will save $6.417 million by releasing the two-time Pro Bowl receiver, while also eating $13.55 million in dead cap by letting him go.

The Vikings’ organization moved on from a legend Friday, and Thielen has been so much more than just a wide receiver for the Vikings. In 2022, Thielen was the Vikings’ nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year. Mr. Minnesota, as he has been called, represents every Minnesota boy’s dream, and to see him live the life myself and many others wished for has been nothing short of amazing to watch.

“I have always felt a brotherly kinship with Adam from the day we met. So grateful I got to play with him. Lots of great football left up ahead in his career,” said Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.

The G.O.A.T. Cousins helped Thielen to some of his most productive seasons in his career, but his production saw a dip in 2022. Although it has been four years since his last 1,000 yard season, Thielen remained productive in the red zone and a good no. 2 to Stefon Diggs and Justin Jefferson. 

He earned every bit of the payday he received in 2019, and it is unfortunate that he had to be cut, but the sides seemed destined for a divorce since the team’s Wild Card round loss to the Giants. On that day, his wife posted an Instagram story hinting that they may be moving on from their time in Minnesota.

“Adam will forever be a part of the Minnesota Vikings family and history,” general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said in a statement. “Setting the standard with his play on the field, being a selfless teammate, and making a permanent impact in the community, Adam’s influence is significant. We are grateful for everything he brought to the Vikings organization since arriving in 2013, and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with him over the last year. He is the best representation of what the Minnesota Vikings should stand for. I wish nothing but the best for Adam, Caitlin and their entire family.”

Given that the wide receiver market is relatively slim this off-season, some team will come calling for Thielen’s services. Hopefully just not the Packers, Lions or Bears. 

The Vikings are ready to start a new chapter in 2023, with K.J. Osborn primed to take over the no. 2 role behind Jefferson. Linebacker Eric Kendricks was also cut earlier this off-season, Cameron Dantzler was waived and up next may be Harrison Smith, Dalvin Cook and C.J. Ham.

It sucks to see Thielen and the fellas leave, but I have hope that after these moves the Vikings can start to build up a new group of players that we can all grow to love and appreciate just as much. Skol.

Header Photo: If Adam Thielen signs with the Packers, I take back everything I said in this article. (Photo Courtesy of Vikings.com)

Write to Hayden Lee at hayden.lee@my.smsu.edu

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