By Chad Courrier
Free Press Staff Writer
Adam Thielen felt he had done pretty well during the Minnesota Vikings’ free-agent tryout camp last week, but there’s still something special about hearing it from team officials, including head coach Leslie Frazier.
“They said they were impressed, and they looked forward to signing me to a contract,” Thielen said Monday, moments after passing a team physical and filling out the necessary paperwork. “It was awesome. I was pleased that all the hard work paid off. It’s what I wanted when I went into this, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Thielen, a former Minnesota State receiver, was among 34 unsigned free agents who tried out with the Vikings over three days last weekend, and only Thielen and tackle Brandon Keith were signed. The Vikings made room on the roster by cutting another receiver, and Thielen is reunited with former teammate LaMark Brown..
“It’s kind of surreal,” Thielen said. “I was just excited to get an opportunity. Now, I’m ready to get back to work.”
Thielen, 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, left Minnesota State in second place with 198 receptions and third with 2,802 yards receiving and 20 touchdown catches. Last season, he made 74 catches for 1,176 yards and eight touchdowns, leading the Mavericks to a 13-1 record and a trip to the national semifinals.
“I’m very excited for Adam, especially with the local franchise,” Minnesota State interim coach Aaron Keen said. “It’s a great opportunity, and I’m happy that things worked out for him. I know he’ll continue to work hard.”
Thielen said there were nine free-agent receivers at the tryout, but he just tried to do his best, hoping the coaches would notice.
“I’m a confident player, and I felt like I did pretty well,” he said. “It’s up to the coaches to decide if they want to keep you.”
Thielen reports back to Winter Park on Monday to start working out with the team. There will be a mandatory minicamp and other optional team practices through the end of June. Then if he’s still with the team, he reports to Minnesota State in late July for minicamp.
“You just have to keep working hard,” Thielen said. “Everybody is trying to get better, whether you’re a rookie or a veteran. I learned a lot about football from one of the best receivers coaches (George Stewart).”
Thielen said he’ll be back in Mankato this week as he goes through graduation.