The Minnesota Vikings are releasing wide receiver Adam Thielen, according to multiple reports. The cap-strapped Vikings are saving $6.4 million against the 2023 cap by cutting Thielen, per Spotrac. It represents the end of an era for Thielen, who enjoyed 10 illustrious seasons in Minnesota, totaling 534 receptions for 6,682 yards and 55 touchdowns. Thielen saw 6.29 targets per contest through 2022 however, which represented the lowest mark of his career since an injury-filled 2019 season.
The aging Thielen is past his prime, but can still help an NFL offense improve its passing game. Thielen is a sure-handed receiver that runs high-level routes. Thielen’s free-agent market should be met with fanfare and an abundance of potential suitors.
He likely wants to play for a contender. We’ve identified three potential landing spots for Adam Thielen.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs are equipped with $17.8 million in cap space. That’s scary given Kansas City’s lack of holes. Juju Smith-Schuster is an unrestricted free agent and may command a sizable pay rise via a multi-year extension. Mecole Hardman is also set to test free agency. The Chiefs remain in win-now mode and should add an immediate contributor to their transforming receiver room.
Travis Kelce will continue commanding attention from opposing secondaries. Andy Reid and new offensive coordinator Matt Nagy would place Thielen in advantageous positions via a secondary pass-catching role. Kansas City’s high-octane offense is capable of getting the most out of an aging Thielen.
The Gabriel Davis as Buffalo’s No. 2 receiver experiment will probably end this offseason. Davis failed to take advantage of an expanded role opposite Stefon Diggs. Expectations were sky-high for Davis following his legendary performance in Buffalo’s 2021 instant-classic AFC Championship Game defeat to the Chiefs, but Davis failed to carry that momentum over with him.
The Bills will be desperate to course-correct their premature divisional-round postseason exit. General manager Brandon Beane can’t afford to rely on too many starting rookies to carry Buffalo to the promised land. Veteran firepower is necessary to overcome the Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals, annual rivals that have continuously gotten the better of Buffalo when it matters most. Signing Thielen would immediately increase Buffalo’s chances of finally reaching expectations in 2023.
New Broncos head coach Sean Payton has been hired to salvage the flailing career of Russell Wilson. The Broncos aren’t in rebuild mode. Payton is expecting general manager George Paton to surround Wilson with as many weapons as possible. Payton’s receiver-friendly offense meshes well with Thielen’s savviness. Placing Wilson in fortunate positions is crucial to rehabilitating his stock as a starting quarterback.
The Broncos have also been rumored to reshape their receiving corps. Both Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton have been at the forefront of trade rumors. If even one of Sutton or Jeudy plays elsewhere in 2023, the Broncos should add a veteran pass-catcher as a replacement. Furthermore, Tim Patrick suffered a season-ending knee injury last August and may require additional time before reaching top speed again. Thielen should be an option in Denver.
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