The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

September 6, 2013

Thielen survives, in 'good spot' with Vikings

Adam Thielen knew he was likely going to be waived by the Minnesota Vikings last Saturday. He also knew he was probably going to be signed to the practice squad Sunday.

But until you sign the paperwork, you never know what’s going to happen.

“I kind of saw (my release) coming, but I wasn’t sure,” Thielen said earlier this week, finally settled in with his new job and new address. “(Vikings coaches) called me Saturday and told me to come in and bring my playbook. That’s when I knew for sure. But I knew I still had a chance for the practice squad, and they told me they’d sign me if I cleared waivers.

“It was nice to make it official (on Sunday) and have something in writing and be there for practice on Monday.”

Thielen has survived. His was a long, unlikely path to the NFL, one that easily could have been derailed several times. Despite a standout career at Minnesota State, he wasn’t invited to the NFL’s draft combine, instead working his way through less-publicized workouts. He didn’t get drafted but was invited to the Vikings rookie tryout and emerged from the pack to earn an invitation to training camp.

He was one of 12 receivers at the start of the summer, that purple 19 not really standing out that much in limited opportunities. As an undrafted free agent, he had to work his way up the list, not with flashy plays but with consistent effort and improvement in daily drills, which look mundane to most observers.

He watched former Mavericks teammate LaMark Brown get released in the first wave of cuts two weeks ago, yet he persevered. He’s now a professional football player, making about $6,000 per week, with the chance to make much more should he be added to the 53-man roster.

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