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NFL

Vikings release Adam Thielen

Adam Thielen has spent his entire career in Minnesota, but will now be searching for a new home after being released by the Vikings.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 01: Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings talks with Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers after the game at Lambeau Field on January 01, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.   Kayla Wolf/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Kayla Wolf / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)
KAYLA WOLFAFP

The Minnesota Vikings have decided to release wide receiver Adam Thielen, according to multiple media reports. The move will effectively end the 32-year-old’s decade-long stint with the team.

Additionally, it is expected to save the Vikings $6.4million towards the 2023 salary cap, but the franchise will absorb Thielen’s scheduled salary of $13.5 million as dead money. Thielen and the Vikings had discussed a renegotiated contact that would have kept the player in Minnesota, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, but the sides were unable to reach an agreement.

Local hero

A native of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Thielen starred for Division II Minnesota State-Mankato and earned a spot on the Vikings’ practice squad after going undrafted in 2013. He broke out in 2016 and went on to become a local hero, ending his stint in Minnesota third in franchise history in receptions (534) and receiving touchdowns (55), trailing only Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Randy Moss. Thielen was voted to two Pro Bowls in his time with Minnesota and was an All-Pro Second Team selection in 2017.

Starting all 17 games last season, Thielen finished with 70 catches for 716 yards and six touchdowns, but his role in the offense dwindled down the stretch, catching just seven passes in the Vikings’ final four games.

New blood

Thielen had previously said he hoped to play his entire career in Minnesota, but the Vikings’ offense has shifted towards younger players such as T.J. Hockenson and K.J. Osborn to support All-Pro Justin Jefferson.

“When you have the receiver that leads the league in yards and receptions and have three other guys with 60-plus, you feel really strong about that group,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters last week at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Adam is one of those leaders that I speak of. His team-mates voted him as a captain - for what he means not only to our organisation but the Twin Cities. I think there’s a conversation to be had to really see what that looks like: playing time and roles and responsibilities so that all of our players feel like not only it’s a fair compensation for them, but we’ve got the kind of players where they care a lot about their role and their responsibilities and how they help us win.”

Thielen has developed a friendship with Aaron Rodgers in recent years, playing together in numerous celebrity golf events, and some have speculated that the pair may try to team up wherever Rodgers ends up playing in 2023...