Adam Thielen Not Confident His Future is With Vikings

Adam Thielen, a homegrown kid from Detroit Lakes who played his college football at Minnesota State – Mankato (in case you’ve never heard), has been a Viking for his entire NFL career.

But the 32-year-old local talent is due to count $20 million against the Vikings’ salary cap next season and general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, needs to find ways to save money wherever possible.

That is likely to mean a pay cut, trade or release for veteran favorites like Thielen, Dalvin Cook, Harrison Smith and Eric Kendricks. It’s already been reported that Cook is not open to a pay cut, so he could be one of the first to go.

Adam Thielen isn’t confident in a return to Minnesota

Thursday morning, Adam Thielen went on ESPN First Take, which is currently on site in Phoenix, AZ for the Super Bowl. When asked about a possible return to Minnesota, Adam didn’t seem confident he’d be playing an 11th-straight season in his home state (transcribed below).

“I feel great and I feel like I can play this game at a really high level. For me, I just want to be able to help a team win. And like I said, I feel like I can play at a high level so I want to be able to help a team and show them that I can play at a high level to help them win football games.

Will that be in Minnesota? I don’t know. I hope so. I hope to retire a Minnesota Viking. I grew up a Vikings fan watching Cris Carter and Randy Moss, and I want to retire a Viking. Will that happen? I don’t know. This is also a business and I also, again, want my opportunity to show that I can play at a high level. So, we’ll see what happens.”

Adam Thielen (First Take – ESPN)
Goodbye, old friend?

It’s probably true that Adam Thielen wants to finish his career with the Minnesota Vikings. But what one wants and what is reality are often two different things. And it appears Thielen is well aware of that possibly being the case here.

The NFL wide receiver market is on steroids these days. Great receivers break the bank, like Justin Jefferson will this offseason, good receivers get PAID and average receivers are overpaid. Thielen falls into one of those latter two categories.

His $19.97 million cap hit in 2023 is slotted to rank 13th in the NFL, among wide receivers. That’s a bit high, given his declining output. But Thielen’s $16 million average salary only ranks 24th, slotting him next to more comparable weapons like Allan Robinson, Hunter Renfrow, Robbie Anderson and Courtland Sutton.

adam thielen minnesota vikings
Photo: Ezra Shaw – Getty Images
Is Adam Thielen worth the money to the Vikings?

If the Vikings wanted to restructure Adam Thielen’s contract, they might be able to save $5 million against the cap this season. Would that kind of cap relief be worth pushing more guaranteed money into the future for a receiver on the decline and only getting older?

Unless you’re an Adam Thielen Stan, the answer is, “probably not”. I’d imagine that’s the way Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who’s looking in the TCO couch cushions for extra money to spend this offseason, sees things too.

There is some dialogue happening between Thielen and the Vikings, though. At least, that’s what Adam said on The Pat McAfee Show a bit later in the day, on Thursday. Thielen said, “They’re going to try and do something, but we’ll see”, and went on to talk about both his “big cap hit” and March 16 guarantee day.

Much like with Dalvin Cook, the exit interview may already be on the calendar for Adam Thielen and the Minnesota Vikings. Seems like he knows it, too.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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