Homegrown WR, Linked to Adam Thielen, Signs With Vikings

Travis Toivonen

Getty Travis Toivonen signed with the Vikings on September 1, 2022.

A native of Red Wing, Minnesota, Travis Toivonen likens his NFL journey to a path carved by Minnesota Vikings wideout Adam Thielen.

Toivonen, like Thielen, received just one college offer coming out of a small-town high school.

Toivonen, like Thielen, went undrafted and was preparing for life after football coming out of college.

And Toivonen, like Thielen, will have to defer the backup plan for now.

Toivonen signed to the Vikings practice squad on September 1, per a team release. It’s the latest stop in his professional football career, which he admitted is special after growing up a Vikings fan.

“This one hits a little different,” Toivonen tweeted in response to his signing.

Toivonen Lands on Vikings Roster With Help of Thielen’s Agency

Travis Toivonen: From One-Star Prospect to The Seattle SeahawksFormer North Dakota WR Travis Toivonen recently signed a contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He walks us through the process to get to that point as well as who helped him along the way and his journey from limited offers in HS to an NFL player2021-07-19T23:13:35Z

Receiving just one college offer to play for Division I FBS school North Dakota, Toivonen carved out an illustrious career with the Fighting Hawks.

The 6-foot-4, 212-pound receiver caught 137 passes for 1,705 yards and 13 touchdowns in those four years, including a career-high 48 receptions for 684 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior in 2019. He tests in the 87th percentile for his height among NFL wide receivers, per Mockdraftable.

Toivonen admitted he knew he wasn’t going to be drafted but had hoped to make a good impression at a pro day.

Then COVID-19 hit, shuttering pro days across the country.

“Scouts got pulled off the road and that was it. Pro day canceled. For somebody like me – didn’t really have incredible college film, wasn’t going to run a 4.4 (probably closer to 4.7), it was really just a tough time,” Toivonen wrote in a personal 33rd Team essay.

Toivonen didn’t garner any interest in the league but stuck to his dreams of playing professionally by participating in the Fan Controlled Football League in 2021. Playing against a wide variety of talent levels from former NFLers to hopeful prospects, Toivenan became the league’s most prominent player.

“I was a late addition to the league, and they had me rated as the top receiver after like two weeks. And that was against some guys who have had pro experience, whether it was the NFL or the XFL. I went out there and they really didn’t have anyone that could stop me, so that just built up my confidence. It was really a matter of time for me before I would get that chance to prove myself,” Toivonen wrote.

He garnered enough attention to sign with the same sports agency that represents Thielen, Institute of Athletes (IFA).

IFA landed Toivonen a spot at the Minnesota pro day in the spring of 2021. Toivonen spoke with. a few teams but didn’t hear from anyone for months until the Seattle Seahawks signed him to the 90-man roster.

Toivonen didn’t make the final 53-man roster but was signed to the New York Giants practice squad last October. He didn’t make the final cut in New York this summer, leading to Minnesota taking a chance on the Red Wing native.

Toivonen Hopes to Follow Similar Path That Thielen Took

Toivonen is on a similar path Thielen took at the start of his professional career.

Starting as a practice squad player, like Thielen, Toivonen knows his path to playing in the NFL will come with his special teams contributions — a role he’s willing to embrace after seeing how far it took Thielen.

From Toivonen’s essay:

I’ve always believed that if you want something bad enough, you’ll make it happen. If you think you can do it, there’s not really anything that can get in the way. If you have a goal, if you have a dream, then definitely chase it. It’s hard to give up on something that means that much. If you want it, just go get it.

That’s what Adam Thielen did. His story isn’t lost on me – undrafted guy from Minnesota, just like me. Small school. And now that we’re repped by the same agency, we’ve been working out together the last few weeks. He’s definitely someone that I’ve look up to. And now, to have a chance to make it in the NFL like him, I couldn’t ask for anything else.

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