Vikings Part Ways With Adam Thielen Before 2023 Free Agency
The Minnesota Vikings have officially ended their relationship with receiver Adam Thielen, who rose from obscurity as an undrafted free agent to become one of the team’s most productive pass-catchers.
Thielen leaves the Vikings with 534 career receptions, 6,682 receiving yards, and 55 touchdown receptions, good enough for third, fourth, and third in team history, respectively. He will be remembered fondly by the organization and its fans for his impressive accomplishments.
Adam Thielen's story as an NFL player is one of unlikely success. Hailing from Northwest Minnesota and Detroit Lakes, Thielen defied all odds by rising to the top of one of the toughest sports in the world. He is the only undrafted receiver in history to have three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Those numbers, accompanied by his humble career beginnings, earned him a legendary status among Minnesotans, from the North Shore of Lake Superior to the Mississippi River Bluff Country.
Adding to his legacy, Thielen was recently named the Vikings Community Man of the Year for 2022 due to the work he has done through the Thielen Foundation, established in 2018. This award serves as a recognition of his commitment to giving back to his home state.
Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah issued a statement in recognition of Adam Thielen, who left the team after eight seasons:
"Adam will remain an integral part of the Minnesota Vikings’ history and family. His skill on the field, selfless manner as a teammate, and contributions to the community will be remembered. We cannot thank him enough for the contributions he has made since joining the team in 2013. He was the embodiment of what the Vikings espouse and I am grateful for the time I worked alongside him. I wish Adam, Caitlin, and their family all the best in the future."
Adam Thielen first entered the NFL through a tryout at Minnesota's 2013 rookie minicamp. After predominantly playing on special teams and as a blocker from 2014-15 (31 targets, 20 catches, 281 yards and one touchdown), Thielen had his biggest season yet in 2016, recording 69 catches for 967 yards and five touchdowns.
Adam Thielen has consistently shown remarkable production throughout his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings. He started every game in each of the next two seasons and maintained his success despite changes to their offensive coordinator and numerous quarterback injuries from 2014-17.
In 2018, Thielen stepped up his game to a career-high with 113 receptions and 1,373 yards with Kirk Cousins as his quarterback. He made history by starting the season with eight-straight 100+ yard games. In 2020, he broke his own record for most touchdowns caught in a single season at 14. This is the fifth highest total by a Viking in team history.
In 2021, the former Minnesota State Maverick Adam Thielen had a stellar season, catching 67 receptions for 726 yards and 10 touchdowns over the span of 13 games. This marked the fourth time that an undrafted player has recorded 50 or more touchdown receptions in the NFL; a feat made more impressive given that it was in Kevin O'Connell's first season with the team. Thielen finished the season with 70 catches for 716 yards and six touchdowns.
"Adam's story is one that many are familiar with and find inspiring, showing what can be achieved when you set your sights on a goal and never give up," declared O'Connell in a statement. "For more than 10 years, Adam perfected his craft and became a prominent figure in the NFL. In that same time, he devoted a lot of his energy to his home state, which made it even more special when he was nominated for the 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year award. I personally relied on Adam for his work ethic, leadership and advice multiple times to support our team and get it to where we wanted to be last season. I'm very thankful for Adam's contributions and wish him, Caitlin and their kids all the best."
Adam Thielen has played an integral role in the Minnesota Vikings' offense since joining the team in 2013. With 101 starts over the course of 135 regular-season games, he has earned himself a place among the franchise's all-time greats. His impressive performances included a personal best of 202 receiving yards on 12 catches against the Green Bay Packers at the end of the 2016 season, the day after his team had been stranded on a runway for hours. Thielen was selected for two Pro Bowls thanks to his stellar efforts, and his reputation off the field is just as impressive.
Through the Thielen Foundation, Adam has donated millions of dollars to various community organizations and recently pledged another $1 million to be shared between eight Minnesota non-profits. His generosity is an inspiration, and serves to further the Foundation's mission of helping others reach their full potential.
Adam Thielen and his family have embraced philanthropy with a mission to make a difference in the lives of children. As a result, Thielen has funded the renovation of high school weight rooms and raised money to replace broken lights in Brooklyn Center, so the community could once again enjoy the Friday night lights atmosphere with friends and family.
Thielen and his wife, Caitlin, along with their children Asher, Hudson and Cora, have also focused on aiding youth struggling with behavioral issues. Through this work, they have sought to make a positive impact in their lives.
Mark Wilf and Zygi Wilf, owners of the Minnesota Vikings, released the following joint statement regarding Adam Thielen:
“Adam has had a tremendous impact that goes beyond the borders of the Vikings organization. He worked hard and earned his way from tryout player to one of the best players in franchise history, which is an inspiring example for young athletes everywhere. Even though he was highly competitive during games, he displayed a tremendous amount of grace, compassion and humility in his work with the community. Additionally, Adam and his wife, Caitlin, have been devoted to their foundation and making a real difference in Minnesota. His vibrant, energetic spirit will be missed, but we are thankful for the legacy he left behind. He was a Minnesota Viking at heart long before we signed him and he will always be part of this team. We wish Adam, Caitlin, and the whole family all the best in their future endevours.”