By Robert Williams, Editor
Detroit Lakes’ Adam Thielen had his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings end on Friday, March 10, when the team released him.
While not a big surprise, Thielen and the Vikings discussed a possible restructure of his contract while Thielen reiterated he wanted to retire a Minnesota Viking in the weeks leading up to his release.
“To go from a kid growing up in Detroit Lakes to playing for the Minnesota Vikings has been a journey beyond what I could have dreamed of,” Thielen said in a statement. “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 0 and always will be – home to us.”
Thielen, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, will be a 33-year-old free agent who will certainly garner attention from multiple teams after leaving a big mark on his now former club.
“Adam will forever be a part of the Minnesota Vikings family and history,” general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said in a Friday 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.”
Last season, Thielen made 70 receptions for 716 yards and six touchdowns. A down year by his standards, but he created a legacy of his own over the past decade joining the all-time Vikings greats in team records and production.
Thielen ranks third in team history in receptions (534) and third in receiving touchdowns (55) behind Cris Carter and Randy Moss and fourth in receiving yards (6,682) behind Carter, Moss and Anthony Carter.
A major factor in Thielen’s release was the fact the Vikings needed salary cap room and Thielen’s cap hit of $19.97 million next season made a salary agreement difficult. The Vikings will save more than $6 million off the cap with his release.
“Adam’s story is one many know and admire and an incredible example of what a relentless pursuit of a goal can ultimately accomplish,” 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.”