Everybody knows the Adam Thielen story by now, and we know that Thielen has been one of the best receivers in recent Minnesota Vikings history. But Thielen also knows the nature of the business, and he understands that something is going to have to change if he’s going to remain in purple going forward.
On Thursday, he made it clear that he was working with the team toward that end.
Thielen told The Pat McAfee Show that he and the Vikings were “working through some stuff” because he has a big cap hit. How much progress has been made on that isn’t known at this point, but we’re about a month from the start of free agency, so it probably won’t take us long to find out.
According to Over the Cap, Thielen’s cap hit is just shy of $20 million next season. . .$19,967,674 to be (way too) exact. That’s the largest cap hit on the team for anyone on the roster not named Kirk Cousins and makes him one of three Vikings that is scheduled to have a cap hit north of $19 million in 2023 (along with Brian O’Neill and Harrison Smith).
Thielen still has some solid red zone abilities and caught 70 passes for 716 yards and six touchdowns the past season. But that’s not worth almost $20 million, particularly in light of the fact that T.J. Hockenson is now the clear #2 option in the passing game for the Vikings behind Justin Jefferson, and both of those guys are going to be getting lengthy (and expensive) extensions in relatively short order here.
The Vikings certainly need to get younger and cheaper at the wide receiver position, but if they think that Theilen still has a viable place on their roster, he’ll be back to mentor any youngsters that the team brings in as they continue their “competitive rebuild.” While it would be weird to potentially see Thielen in another uniform, that’s just the nature of the business in today’s NFL, and both sides appear to know that there’s a chance that could happen if the “stuff” that they’re currently working through can’t be ironed out to everyone’s satisfaction.