A fan commented on an Instagram post of Caitlin and her children, saying “Don’t ever let the business aspect of the league get in the way of the fact your family are Vikings for life!!”
The Vikings, currently in salary cap hell, are expected to cut several veterans in the next month. Caitlin replied that it hasn’t felt like family with those business decisions ahead.
“Not the business side necessarily! Adam wants opportunities to show what he can do and feel valued as a receiver so we’ll support him wherever that may be,” Caitlin replied.
According to Caitlin, Adam wants opportunities and to feel valued by the Vikings who may approach him to take a pay cut considering his nearly $20 million cap hit for the 2023 season. After averaging seven targets per game through the first 13 games of the season, Adam saw just 20 targets in the Vikings’ final five games, per Pro Football Reference.
Caitlin expressed her gratitude for the Vikings, recapping the 2022 season in the post that included the following message surrounding her husband’s future in the league.
“I can’t wait to see what’s next and watch him get opportunities whether here or wherever that may be!!! Competitors wanna compete and have chances to prove their worth!! Love our #teamthielen and love taking the kiddos to watch dad! These memories will last forever and the pictures will be so fun to look back on and show the kids someday.”
Kyle Rudolph Faced a Similar Struggle as Adam Thielen With Vikings
As pass-catchers age in the NFL, the explosiveness and abilities are bound to diminish — a trend Thielen is facing at the age of 33.
He’s not alone as a household Vikings star who could see his fall from grace. Kyle Rudolph, who spent a decade with the team, saw his role change in the final years before his release in the 2021 offseason.
Rudolph revealed on the Unrestricted with Ben Leber podcast that offseason that he saw his role in the offense change in 2019 when the Vikings started to ask him to block more.
“You go back to the beginning of last season and I’m like, ‘Okay I’ve got one or two [options] here. I can either get really good at the only thing I’m asked to do or I can complain about it and I can cause a scene, throw a fit. But what’s going to be more productive for our team and this organization,’ ” Rudolph said.
Rudolph, like Thielen, felt he still had plenty of gas left in the tank and didn’t want to squander his potential in a diminished role. He struck down the potential of a pay cut when asked by Leber.
“I can’t sign up for that again,” Rudolph added, saying he was “worth every dime of his contract.”
“Am I gonna all of a sudden derail my career with a lot of football left because, you know how it goes, you get into your early 30s [and] everyone just assumes you’re done. You’re old. You’re over 30. You can’t do it anymore. Well if I just block every play, the other 31 teams are going to assume that as well.”
Thielen, turning 33 this year, is in a similar situation as Rudolph with a backloaded contract that is unwarranted his current role in the offense.
Vikings WR Adam Thielen Reached a Career-High in Usage Last Season
While Thielen is unhappy with his involvement in the offense, he was active and played in every game this season for the first time since 2018.
Thielen surpassed 100 targets for the fourth time in his career and secured 70 receptions for 716 yards and six touchdowns. He ran a career-high 711 routes, per Pro Football Focus.
However, Thielen turned in a career-low 2.3 yards after catch per reception this season. That may have been a result of him seeing few targets beyond 10 yards but the eye test was not encouraging for Thielen who struggled to create separation on deep routes.
Theilen’s role diminished as tight end T.J. Hockenson took over as the de-facto No. 2 wide receiver and red-zone threat.
Over The Cap valued Thielen at roughly $12.5 million per year for his performance this season. A contract with that cap hit for the 2023 season would rank Thielen the 27th highest-paid wide receiver in the league compared to his current $19.9 million cap hit that ranks 13th at his position.
The Vikings likely don’t have plans to get Thielen more involved in the offense, so an offer near that $12.5 million may be the best Thielen could fetch from Minnesota or another team.