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Vikings officially bid farewell to hometown product Adam Thielen

Mike Florio and Chris Simms are joined by Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell to examine the new energy he instilled in Minnesota and how to get Kirk Cousins to play at his best in the biggest moments.

One of the best stories from the past decade of the NFL has ended. The Vikings officially have released receiver Adam Thielen.

A native of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Thielen played high school and college football in Minnesota. He was a standout at Minnesota State (formerly Mankato State), where the Vikings held training camp for decades.

Uninvited to the Scouting Combine and undrafted in 2013, Thielen was invited to audition on a tryout basis by former G.M. Rick Spielman.

Thielen spent 2013 on the practice squad before earning a full roster spot in 2014. He contributed mainly on special teams in 2014 and 2015 before becoming a regular contributor at receiver in 2016.

He had a career-high 113 catches for 1,373 yards in 2018, one of two 1,000-yard seasons. In 2022, Thielen had 70 catches for 716 yards in 17 games. Between tight end T.J. Hockenson and receiver K.J. Osborn, Thielen had begun to slide in importance behind superstar Justin Jefferson.

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

“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. “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.”

Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf perhaps put it best with this quote regarding Thielen: “He was a Minnesota Viking long before we signed him and he will be always considered a part of this team.”

Thielen immediately becomes a free agent, able to sign with any other team. While he could, in theory, return to the Vikings, it’s likely that: (1) the Vikings made a reduced offer for 2023; (2) Thielen’s agent shopped it; and (3) Thielen found something better elsewhere.

If that’s the case, he may not be a free agent for very long.