MANKATO, Minn. - Vikings receiver and Minnesota native Adam Thielen has become a breakout start in the NFL this season, and he's got the jersey sales to prove it.
Thielen's jersey jumped into the top four of all NFL players on Sunday, according to Fanatics, an online retailer that operates NFLshop.com. Thielen's jersey had risen to #8 in sales the week before, marking a 300 percent increase week to week.
Just two years ago, the Scheels sporting goods store in Mankato, where Thielen played football for the Minnesota State University Mavericks, had to special order his Vikings jersey for an autograph signing.
"The only thing we had available was some little prints of him and actually some stuff that he brought with him to help with the signing," said Brandon Scheel, Scheels Mankato store leader. "But we were able to special order some jerseys to have it in stock for the signing. He was surprised by the amount of product we had with his name on it when he showed up."
Now Scheel says the store gets regular orders, but still struggles to keep it in stock.
"Adam is our number one jersey seller this month. Number one of all the product we sell actually," Scheel said. "The better he performs, the better the product sells. We're completely sold out of (kids) jerseys, so the only thing we have in stock right now is the Adam Thielen T-shirts."
With a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving this week, Thielen might continue that sales surge. In Mankato, it's already leading to demand beyond his purple jersey. The brightly colored gloves he's been wearing during games may be the next must-have product.
"We made a note today to try to get those yellow gloves before next season but we don't have them right now," Scheel said with a laugh.