EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings have had a respectable season this year, currently sitting at the top of the NFC North with a 10-2 record. But even if Minnesota isn't able to make it all the way to the big game one, of their own has the chance to bring home one of the most prestigious awards in the NFL.
Announced Tuesday, Adam Thielen was named as the team's nominee for the 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. The award recognizes players who show not only excellence on the field, but also have a positive influence beyond the game, leaving legacies in their communities.
Thielen is well known in Minnesota for his charitable giving. He and his wife Caitlin started the Thielen Foundation in 2018 to create programs that serve, educate and inspire. To date, the foundation has donated more than $2.5 million.
"Adam and Caitlin’s commitment and willingness to give back and serve Minnesotans through the Thielen Foundation is truly inspiring,” said Vikings owner and president Mark Wilf. “We are proud of Adam for the impact he has made on the community and he is the best representation of what the Minnesota Vikings should stand for. We cannot thank him enough for his commitment to the organization, to the Twin Cities and to the entire state of Minnesota. He’s extremely deserving to be our 2022 nominee for this impressive honor.”
Thielen first entered the NFL as a free agent in 2013 and is currently in his 9th season with the Vikings. He has appeared in 130 games with 96 starts throughout his career, with a total of 520 receptions for 6,546 yards and 52 touchdowns to his name.
The wide receiver also was named to consecutive Pro Bowls in 2017 and 2018 and was a Second-Team Associated Press All-Pro in 2017.
In Week 12, when the Vikings defeated the New England Patriots 26-33, Thielen brought home his 52nd touchdown, tying wide receiver Anthony Carter for the third-most in franchise history.
“It’s such an honor especially when you’re voted on by your peers and teammates,” Thielen said. “It’s just so cool to have them vote me for this award and not only me but also my wife, our foundation and what we’re trying to do. The greatest thing about it is the guys who are voting for it, are also the guys who are helping me out at a lot of these events to raise money to help this community as much as we possibly can. It makes it that much more special when your teammates are nominating you for the award and I am so thankful to be named the Vikings 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year."
The Vikings held a private celebration to honor Thielen on Monday night.
As a nominee, Thielen gets to wear a "Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year" helmet decal through the end of the season. All 32 nominees, one from each team, will get a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice.
The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
Do you want to get involved in voting for nominees? Fans can vote on Twitter with the hashtag "#WPMOYChallenge" followed by their favorite nominees' last name or Twitter handle (like @athielen19). The player whose handle gets the most unique mentions between Dec. 6 and Jan 18, 2023, will get a $25,000 contribution to the charity of his choice. Second and third-place winners will get $10,000 and $5,000 donations.
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