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Minnesota Vikings release receiver Adam Thielen

The Detroit Lakes native caught 534 passes for 6,682 yards and 55 touchdowns. He was twice named to the Pro Bowl (2017, 2018) and a second-team All-Pro (2017).
Credit: AP
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) runs a route during an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in London. The Minnesota Vikings won 28-25. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings are cutting ties with former All-Pro receiver and Minnesota native Adam Thielen.

The team confirmed the move Friday morning, after Thielen and the Vikings attempted to reach a deal with a restructured contract.

The move doesn't come as much of a surprise given the cap hit that Thielen's contract would have had on the cap-strapped Vikings, however, there were reports Thielen was open to restructuring. Ultimately, the two sides failed to reach a deal. According to Over The Cap, Thielen's contract would have had a hit of $19,967,647 against the cap.

“Adam will forever be a part of the Minnesota Vikings family and history," said Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah 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.”

Thielen, a native of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, signed with the Vikings back in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota State-Mankato. He cut his teeth as a special teamer before making his first start in 2014. He went on to make 534 catches for 6,682 yards and 55 touchdowns. He was twice named to the Pro Bowl (2017, 2018) and a second-team All-Pro (2017).

His production declined in 2022 as he finished the season with 70 catches for 716 yards and six touchdowns. It was the lowest yardage of any season where he played in 11 or more games.

“Adam’s story is one many know and admire and an incredible example of what a relentless pursuit of a goal can ultimately accomplish," Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said in a statement. "For over a decade, Adam honed his craft to become one of the most well-recognized wide receivers in the NFL. Over that same time, he poured so much of his time into his home state, which made it even more special for him to earn our 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year nomination. I personally leaned on Adam for his work ethic, leadership, and counsel multiple times to help get our team where we wanted it to be last season. I appreciate Adam’s contributions and will be pulling for continued success for him, Caitlin and their children.”

Thielen also played a major role in giving back to the community with his foundation — the Thielen Foundation — which he started back in 2018. The foundation went on to raise more than $2.5 million to go to community organizations, including a $1 million pledge to go toward eight Minnesota nonprofit organizations.

His contributions helped renovated high school weight rooms and replaced damaged lights in Brooklyn Center.

“Adam’s tremendous impact goes well beyond the Vikings organization," said VIkings owner/chairman Zygi Wilf and owner/president Mark Wilf in a statement. "His rise from a tryout player to one of the best players in the history of our franchise has encouraged so many young athletes and is a testament to hard work and perseverance. While Adam had a competitive fire on the field, he showed grace, compassion and humility within his community. The commitment he and his wife, Caitlin, have shown to Minnesota through the Thielen Foundation has and will continue to provide real change. Adam’s energetic, contagious personality will be missed inside the facility, but we are grateful for the foundation he built. He was a Minnesota Viking long before we signed him and he will be always considered a part of this team. We sincerely wish Adam, Caitlin and their entire family continued success.” 

Thielen posted on Instagram:

"To go from a kid growing up in Detroit Lakes to playing for the Minnesota Vikings has been a journey beyond what I could of dreamed of. I want to thank everyone within the Vikings organization - coaches, teammates, the @Wilf family and fans - for all the love and support I have received over the years. I poured everything I had into these last 10+ years in representing and playing for this team and state. My family and I will always cherish the memories we created on and off the field. Minnesota is - and will always be - home to us."


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