Adam Thielen's hometown Cinderella story came to an end this offseason after the wideout was released by the Vikings back in early March. The wideout's rise in the NFL is one of the more improbable ones in recent memory as the Minnesota native signed on with the team after going undrafted and participating in a rookie tryout session. He'd make the team and eventually blossom into an All-Pro receiver that has multiple thousand-yard campaigns under his belt. 

However, that run came to an end this offseason and Thielen is now slated to play for a team outside of Minnesota for the first time in his life, inking a deal with the Carolina Panthers in free agency. 

"I think there are like two sides of it," Thielen told the "Daily Delivery" podcast about his exit from the Vikings, via "It was a bummer. I didn't want to leave Minnesota. I wanted to end my career there. Obviously, that would be the perfect fairy tale way to do it, right? But that's not reality. I'm so thankful for that organization, (general manager) Kwesi (Adofo-Mensah) and (Kevin O'Connell) and the staff. The way they handled this throughout the process was first-class."

Adam Thielen
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The crux of Thielen's tenure with the Vikings ending was a combination of diminishing production along with Minnesota's salary cap. The team was nearly $15 million over the cap before his release and Thielen had a cap charge of roughly $19.9 million for 2023. By releasing him, the club saved $6.4 million in space.

"You know, it's really hard to explain the entire situation," Thielen said. "I don't think there was ever a point where I was unhappy with what I was doing. It was just pretty clear that they had a different vision for me than maybe I had for a way that I could help the team win games. There wasn't a wrong thing. There wasn't disrespect on either side. I think it was just time for both sides to move on."

Thielen finished his career in Minnesota ranking fourth on the Vikings all-time receiving yards list and third in both receptions and receiving touchdowns. 

Following his split, Thielen has landed on his feet quite nicely. His contract with the Panthers is worth $25 million over three seasons and he'll now get to work in an offense with quarterback Bryce Young, who was just taken No. 1 overall at the 2023 NFL Draft