The Vikings and Thielen agreed to terms of a three-year contract Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Born and bred in Minnesota, Thielen developed a nice rapport with Sam Bradford in 2016, tallying three 100-yard outings en route to 69 catches (on 92 targets) for 967 yards and five touchdowns. Now back in the fold, he joins Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph to form a steady base for the Vikings' passing attack. What's missing is a deep threat, but Thielen gave the offense a fair alternative with his team-leading 16 catches of 20-plus yards last season.
The Vikings have placed a second-round tender on Adam Thielen, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com reports. Thielen emerged as a favorite target of Sam Bradford as last season wore on, finishing with a team-leading 967 yards. After Wednesday's move, the Vikings will have the right to match any offer Thielen may receive in free agency, or get a second-round selection as compensation if they allow him to bolt to another organization. Assuming he signs the tender -- or works out a long-term deal with his home-state team -- he'll bolster a receiving corps that's composed of Stefon Diggs (hip) and Kyle Rudolph.
Thielen had just one reception for seven yards on his only target in Sunday's win over Chicago. Thielen's season ended with a dud, but it doesn't erase a breakout campaign that could make him the team's No. 1 receiver next season. He began the season buried on the depth chart and seen as little more than a special teams star, but he worked his way into the starting lineup and his role grew nearly every week. Thielen had 69 receptions for 967 yards and five touchdowns while playing all 16 games. He's improved each of his three seasons in the NFL and has shown both good breakaway speed and outstanding route-running ability.
Thielen caught 12 of 15 targets for 202 yards and two touchdowns Saturday against the Packers. Thielen was unstoppable Saturday and easily posted a new career high in receiving yardage. Showing no evidence of a neck injury from Week 15, his day was highlighted by a 71-yard scoring strike down the sidelines in the second quarter. Thielen had only scored three touchdowns prior all season though, and no more than one in a single a contest, so while he may have emerged as the Vikings' top option in the passing game, don't count on this level of performance on a weekly basis.
Thielen (neck) was unlisted on the Vikings' injury report Wednesday. Typically, a cautious approach is followed with players only a few days removed from being ruled out of a contest, but Thielen's neck injury wasn't one of those circumstances. With a full allotment of practice reps under his belt Wednesday, he should be available for Saturday's game in Green Bay, barring a setback. Aiding Thielen's Week 16 prospects are an exploitable secondary and injuries to fellow wideouts Stefon Diggs (hip) and Laquon Treadwell (ankle), neither of whom participated in Wednesday's session.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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