Familiar Foe Robs Vikings in Adam Thielen Trade Idea

Adam thielen

Getty Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen said his team has a target on its back after defeating the Packers 23-7 on September 11.

As the NFL offseason approaches, it’s important to address the absurd trade and free-agency scenarios that boil over blissful fan bases eager to cling to anything that could help make a run in the postseason.

Bleacher Report recently listed five trade ideas to create elite quarterback-wide receiver duos. Minnesota Vikings homegrown wideout Adam Thielen landed on the list as a departure from the team he grew up watching.

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 Thielen to the Browns? Unlikely…

Kristopher Knox speculated a trade idea where Thielen would land with the Cleveland Browns and reunite with former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski for a lowball offer. Knox’s trade idea does warrant some consideration, given Minnesota could find itself well over the salary cap and need to sever ties with its pricier players.

Here’s what he wrote:

The Vikings traded Stefon Diggs last offseason, so would they really consider dealing a standout receiver two years in a row? Perhaps. They are in a tough cap situation—they’re projected to be more than $17 million over the salary cap—and it’s becoming clear they’re not close to being a Super Bowl contender.

With rookie Justin Jefferson playing like a perennial All-Pro in 2020, Minnesota could view Adam Thielen as expendable. Moving him would also clear roughly $8 million in 2021 cap space.

The Browns, armed with more than $24 million in cap space, could afford to take on Theilen’s contract, though they likely wouldn’t be interested in doing so unless they traded Beckham.

In Cleveland, Thielen could reunite with Kevin Stefanski, who was Minnesota’s quarterbacks coach in 2017 and offensive coordinator in 2018. During those two seasons, he racked up 2,649 receiving yards.

Pairing Thielen with Jarvis Landry would give Mayfield a pair of savvy route-runners and reliable options perfectly suited for Stefanski’s play-action-based scheme. Mayfield took strides as a passer in 2020 and could potentially approach the ranks of the elite with Thielen on the roster.

Given the cap savings involved, Minnesota may consider a mid-round pick as fair compensation.

For the Browns to consider making an offer, Cleveland would have to be eager to move on from Beckham. Beckham’s name has been among trade rumors over the past few offseasons, but he appears to be in good standing with his team after suffering an ACL injury this season.

Beyond Beckham, there are larger issues with Knox’s trade scenario.

Thielen’s Likely is a Vikings Lifer

While national outlets tend to assess teams on paper, there are intangibles in player-team relationships that should be considered — especially in Thielen’s case.

Thielen, a native of Detroit Lakes, Minn., has deep roots in the state and likely would not be thrilled to uproot his family to another state. While the Vikings are in a bind financially, Thielen’s one of the last veterans whose salary would reach the chopping block — although taking a pay cut may come into consideration later in his career.

Thielen proved he hadn’t lost a step in 2020 after coming off the first serious injury of his career at 30-years old. He hauled in 74 catches for 925 yards and a career-high 14 touchdowns — good for third in the league.

Thielen showed he still has plenty of value to the Vikings, who are likely unwilling to trade Thielen for a mid-round pick that Knox suggested, however, he likely doesn’t have enough years left in his career to promise an early-round pick either.

A trade for Thielen would likely have to fetch at least a player included with a subsidiary pick if the Vikings are to consider moving on from the homegrown product who is the franchise’s sixth all-time leader in receiving touchdowns.


Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.

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