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Adam Thielen

Adam Thielen

Adam John Thielen (born August 22, 1990) is an American football wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Minnesota State University, Mankato and signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Thielen holds several NFL records, including eight straight games over 100+ yards receiving, and 74 receptions in the first half of a season.[1]

Adam Thielen
No. 19 –Minnesota Vikings
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born:(1990-08-22)August 22, 1990
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Detroit Lakes
(Detroit Lakes, Minnesota)
College:Minnesota State Mankato
Career history
  • Minnesota Vikings (2013–present)
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
  • 2× Pro Bowl (2017, 2018)
  • Second-team All-Pro (2017)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 2, 2019
Receiving yards:4,015
Receiving average:13.3
Receiving touchdowns:20
Player stats at **NFL.com [68] **
Receiving yards:4,015
Receiving average:13.3
Receiving touchdowns:20
Player stats at **NFL.com [68] **

Early years

Born in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota to Pete and Jayne Thielen, Thielen grew up rooting for the Vikings and idolized Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter, trying to imitate his famous tiptoe sideline catches in his own backyard as a child.[2][3] He attended Detroit Lakes High School, where he participated in four sports (football, basketball, baseball and golf).[4] In football, he helped lead the Lakers to a 9-1 season and was an All-conference and All-state selection in his senior season. That same year, he also was a member of a Detroit Lakes golf team that won the 2008 2A state championship.[5]

College career

After redshirting the 2008 season at Minnesota State Mankato University, Thielen played in nine games and caught 21 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown as a freshman in 2009. As a sophomore in 2010, he started in all 11 games and was named Minnesota State's Offensive Player of the Year in addition to Second-Team All-NSIC South Division after he led the team with 41 receptions for 686 yards and six touchdowns.[6] In 2011, he started all 12 games and was a Second-Team All-NSIC South Division selection for the second-straight season as he hauled in 62 passes for 715 yards and five touchdowns on offense and also handled kick return (three kicks for 77 yards and a score) and punt return duties (22 punts for 217 yards). During the 2012 season, Thielen became the main target for Minnesota State's passing attack and was again the team's starting kick and punt returner, helping the Mavericks to a 13-1 record, as they advanced to the NCAA Semi Finals. He led the Minnesota State receiving corps with 74 receptions for a total of 1,176 yards (15.9 avg) and eight touchdowns. For his efforts, Thielen was named NSIC South Division All-NSIC First Team, the Daktronics Super Region No. 3 Second Team, and Don Hansen Super Region Second Team. Thielen finished near the top of several career receiving categories after his four years at Minnesota State including finishing second in receiving yards (2,802), second in receptions (198), and third in touchdown catches (20). As a Maverick, he notched five 100-yard receiving games, including a career-high of 167 against Southwest Minnesota State in 2012.[7]


SeasonTeamGamesReceivingRushingKick returnPunt return
2009Minnesota State Mavericks902122510.7421000.000000.000000.000
2010Minnesota State Mavericks11114168616.7716177.070000.0001112611.400
2011Minnesota State Mavericks12126271511.5455221.02037725.6341222179.9260
2012Minnesota State Mavericks1414741,17615.94083217.034011212.01202423910.0701

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
HtWt40-yard dash10-yd split20-yd split20-ss3-coneVert jumpBroad
6 ft118 in
(1.86 m)
192 lb
(87 kg)
4.49 s1.52 s2.54 s4.49 s6.77 s36 in
(0.91 m)
10 ft 0 in
(3.05 m)
All values from Pro Day[9]

Thielen did not receive an invitation to perform at the 2013 NFL Combine, but he did attend a Regional Combine in Chicago in March, where he performed well enough to warrant an invitation to the Super Regional Combine held in Dallas, Texas in April.[10] There, he showcased his athletic ability, completing the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds and impressing in the three-cone drill with a time of 6.77 seconds, a mark that would have placed him in the top-20 at the NFL Combine.[11]

2013 season

After going undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, Thielen attended a rookie tryout and evaluation session at Winter Park with the Minnesota Vikings. On May 6, 2013, the Minnesota Vikings signed Thielen to a three-year, $1.48 million contract as an undrafted free agent.[12] On August 31, 2013, the Minnesota Vikings waived Thielen as part of their final roster cuts (along with 18 others), but was signed to the practice squad the next day.[13] He saw some preseason action as a wide receiver and on special teams.

2014 season

Thielen with the Minnesota Vikings in 2014.

Thielen with the Minnesota Vikings in 2014.

In the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders, Thielen had one catch for 15 yards and three punt returns, including one 26-yard return.[14] After a strong preseason performance in both offense and special teams, Thielen earned a spot on the 53-man roster to start the 2014 campaign.[15]

Thielen made his NFL debut in the season opener in a road game against the St. Louis Rams on September 9.[16] In Week 5, he caught his first NFL pass in the Vikings' 42-10 road loss against the Green Bay Packers, finishing the game with four receptions for 57 yards that led the team in receiving.[17] He was named NFC Special Teams Player of Week 13 after he scored his first NFL touchdown on a special teams play in which he blocked Carolina Panthers' punter Brad Nortman's kick and returned the ball 30 yards to the end zone.[18] Thielen briefly held the record for the longest blocked punt returned for a touchdown in franchise history, but was beaten later in the second quarter with a 43-yarder from Everson Griffen as the Vikings had two blocked punts returned for touchdowns in the game.[19] In Week 17 against the Chicago Bears, Thielen scored his first receiving touchdown on a 44-yard pass from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, after which he promptly gave the ball to his wife (then fiancée) Caitlin.[20][21]

For the season, Thielen totaled eight catches for 137 yards (17.1 avg) and a touchdown on offense.[22] Also a special teams ace, Thielen was named to the All-Pro Special Teams Kick Return Unit and was named All-NFC North Special Team Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus (PFF) after he finished tied for second in the team in special teams tackles with 12 (9 of them solo).[23]

2015 season

In 2015, Thielen was honored as the Vikings Special Teams Player of the Year. His seven special teams tackles ranked tied for second on the team. In Week 4, he hauled in a career-high six passes for 70 yards in a road game at the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.[24] In the regular season finale road game against the Green Bay Packers on January 3, 2016 for the NFC North division, the Vikings executed a fake punt during the first drive of the game in which Thielen ran for 41 yards. He carried the ball another time for 26 yards, totaling 67 yards on two carries that tied for second in Vikings history for rushing yards in a game by a wide receiver with the effort. He also added a 16-yard catch as the Vikings ultimately clinched the NFC North title.[25] Thielen finished the season with 12 catches for 144 yards with a long of 30.[26]

2016 season

In the second preseason game, an 18–11 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Thielen led all Vikings receivers with four catches for 61 yards. With Stefon Diggs sidelined due to a groin injury, Thielen received the starting nod in his place and had one of the best performances of his career against the Houston Texans, breaking 100 receiving yards in a game for the first time in his career as he finished the game with seven catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.[27] In the Vikings' loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 10, Thielen caught his second touchdown of the season on a 3-yard toss from Sam Bradford and also carried the ball once for 11 yards.[28] Thielen had a career-day on December 24, 2016 in a Week 16 loss to the Green Bay Packers with a 202-yard, two touchdown performance at Lambeau Field.[29] His performance was just the fifth 200-yard receiving performance in Vikings history, and the third that saw a Vikings receiver have at least 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He had the most receiving yards by a Viking since Percy Harvin in 2011. Thielen needed only 40 yards receiving in the Week 17 Chicago Bears game to hit 1,000 yards on the season, and only once in the previous six games had he been held under 50 yards. However, he was targeted only once for a seven-yard gain to finish the season with 967 yards, giving the Vikings their first pair of Vikings receivers with 900 yards each since Randy Moss and Cris Carter accomplished the feat.[30][31]

After having entered the 2016 season as an underdog, Thielen ended up leading the Vikings with 967 receiving yards, while also adding a career-high 69 catches and five touchdowns.[32][33] His 10.0 yards per target and 75.0% catch rate ranked in the top five players among NFL wide receivers.[34] Thielen dropped only two passes on 92 targets according to Sporting Charts, and Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 18th best receiver in the league.[35] For his efforts, NFL.com named Thielen as their "Unsung Hero" for the Minnesota Vikings.[36]

2017 season

On March 15, 2017, Thielen signed a three-year contract extension with the Vikings.[37]

On September 11, 2017, in the season opener against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, Thielen started the season off strong with nine receptions for 157 yards.[38] In Week 8, Thielen scored his first touchdown of the season against the Cleveland Browns at Twickenham Stadium, London.[39] During Week 10 against the Washington Redskins, Thielen finished with 166 receiving yards and a touchdown as the Vikings won 38–30. The following week against the Los Angeles Rams, Thielen finished the game with six catches for 123 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown reception.[40] During the week 12 Thanksgiving matchup against division rival, Detroit Lions, Thielen had eight receptions for 89 yards in the Vikings 30–23 victory.[41] This put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He became the first Vikings receiver to surpass the 1,000-yard mark since Sidney Rice in 2009.[42] On December 19, 2017, Thielen was named to his first Pro Bowl.[43] The Vikings won the NFC North with a 13–3 record.[44] In the Divisional Round against the New Orleans Saints, he had six receptions for 74 yards in the 29–24 victory.[45] In the NFC Championship against the Philadelphia Eagles, he had three receptions for 28 yards in the 38–7 loss.[46] NFL.com rated him #36 in the top 100 players from the 2017-2018 season.[47]

2018 season

Going into the 2018 season, Thielen had a new quarterback in Kirk Cousins.[48] He started off the season strong with six receptions for 102 receiving yards in a 24–16 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.[49] He followed that up with a then-career high 12 receptions for 131 receiving yards and a touchdown in the 29–29 tie with the Green Bay Packers.[50] In Week 3, in a 27–6 loss to the Buffalo Bills, he recorded his third consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards with a career-high 14 receptions for 105 receiving yards.[51] In Week 4, in a 38–31 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, he had eight receptions for 135 receiving yards and a touchdown. With this fourth consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards to start the season, he joined Randy Moss and Isaac Bruce as the only players in the Super Bowl era to accomplish the feat.[52] In Week 5, against the Philadelphia Eagles, Thielen recorded seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. He became the first player in the Super Bowl era to record five straight 100-yard receiving games to start a season.[53] In Week 6, against the Arizona Cardinals, he had seven receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown.[54] In the following game, against the New York Jets, he had nine receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown for this seventh consecutive game topping 100 receiving yards.[55] As of Week 8, he had 100 yards in each of the first eight games of the year, which is tied with Calvin Johnson for the record for most consecutive 100 yard games in a year. By doing so, he also broke the record for most consecutive 100 yard games to start a season in NFL history.[56] In Week 9, against the Detroit Lions, the streak came to an end when he posted four receptions for 22 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown, which he managed to achieve for the sixth consecutive game.[57] In Week 12, against the Green Bay Packers, he recorded eight receptions for 125 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown in the 24–17 victory.[58] Overall, he finished the 2018 season with 113 receptions for 1,373 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns.[59]NFL.com rated him #33 in the top 100 players from the 2018-2019 season.[47]

2019 season

On April 12, 2019, Thielen signed a four-year $64 million contract extension with the Vikings with $35 million guaranteed, keeping him under contract through the 2024 season.[60]

NFL career statistics

Regular season

SeasonTeamGamesReceivingRushingKick returnDefensive


SeasonTeamGamesReceivingRushingKick returnDefensive

NFL records

  • Most consecutive games with 100+ receiving yards (8) (Tied with Calvin Johnson)[62]

  • Most consecutive games with 100+ receiving yards to begin a season (8)[63]

Personal life

Adam is married to Caitlin Thielen.[64] Thielen is a practicing Christian.[65]


Citation Linkwww.nfl.com"Adam Thielen records eighth straight 100-yard game". NFL.com. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
Sep 19, 2019, 4:02 AM
Citation Linkwww.duluthnewstribune.comMurphy, Chris (December 23, 2017). "'He always had a plan': The unlikely rise to NFL stardom for..." Duluth News Tribune. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
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Citation Linkpro32.ap.orgCampbell, Dave (August 6, 2013). "Vikings WR Thielen on rise despite D2 background". Associated Press.
Sep 19, 2019, 4:02 AM
Citation Linkwww.wday.com"Detroit Lakes High School shows love for Adam Thielen". WDAY. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
Sep 19, 2019, 4:02 AM
Citation Linkwww.startribune.comCraig, Mark. "Wide receiver Adam Thielen isn't just a Vikings spare part". Star Tribune.
Sep 19, 2019, 4:02 AM
Citation Linkwww.perhamfocus.comWilliams, Robert. "Detroit Lakes celebrates "Adam Thielen Day"". Perham Focus. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
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Citation Linksmsumustangs.com"No. 10 MSU rallies past SMSU in double overtime thriller -". SMSU Mustangs Athletics. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
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Citation Linkwww.msumavericks.com"Adam Thielen College Stats". Minnesota State University Mavericks. Minnesota State University, Mankato. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
Sep 19, 2019, 4:02 AM
Citation Linkwww.nfldraftscout.com"Adam Thielen - Minnesota State, WR : 2013 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". www.nfldraftscout.com.
Sep 19, 2019, 4:02 AM
Citation Linkwww.sbnation.comDator, James (October 8, 2018). "How Adam Thielen went from a $500 D2 scholarship to record-setting NFL star". SBNation.com. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
Sep 19, 2019, 4:02 AM
Citation Linkwww.foxnews.com"From prep to college to pro, receiver Adam Thielen stays in Minnesota in pursuit of NFL career". Fox News. August 7, 2013.
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Citation Linkwww.spotrac.com"Spotrac.com: Adam Thielen contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
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Citation Linkwww.dailynorseman.comHasan, Arif (August 31, 2013). "Minnesota Vikings Release Final 53-Man Roster, Final Cuts". SBNation. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
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Citation Linkwww.nfl.com"Oakland Raiders - Minnesota Vikings 10: Analyze". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
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Citation Linkwww.dl-online.comWilliams, Robert. "Adam Thielen officially on Vikings roster". DL-Online. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
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Citation Linkwww.pro-football-reference.com"Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams - September 7th, 2014". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
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Citation Linkwww.pro-football-reference.com"Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers - October 2nd, 2014". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
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Citation Linkwww.vikings.com"Thielen Named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week". Minnesota Vikings. Archived from the original on October 11, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
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Citation Linkkfan.iheart.com"Vikings Get 2 Blocked Punt TD Returns On Way To Victory - Vikings Blog - KFAN FM 100.3". KFAN.
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Citation Linkwww.sandiegouniontribune.comCampbell, Dave. "Bridgewater, Vikings get by Bears 13-9". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
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