Vikings May Be Looking To Pay Adam Thielen What He Is Worth

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If you ever wanted proof that timing matters, look no further than the current contract situation for Minnesota Vikings Adam Thielen. The undrafted wide receiver proved his value over the first four years of his career. So, the Vikings rewarded him, on the following season of 2016, with an appropriate contract extension: four years for $19.246 million.

He responded the subsequent season, in 2017, as every team hopes a player responds after getting a new contract extension—he played even better.

Then last season he took his game a step further by having his first 100+ reception year, his second with 1000+ yards and nine touchdowns (both career records). Talk about earning his keep, right?

It is easy to say that he was and he is an absolute bargain for the Vikings. After one good season in 2016, his contract was more than fair. But considering how his game has progressed the last two seasons despite all the quarterback changes, do the Vikings owe him? Clearly, he has outplayed his contract.

However, the team is under no obligation to renegotiate. Thielen’s contract was fair at the time. But what pushes the ‘new contract’ narrative forward for Thielen is the contract Stefon Diggs signed the year after Thielen signed his.

Following the 2017 season, and his incredible catch against the Saints in the playoffs, Diggs signed a five-year extension for $72 million. To be fair, the three seasons before his extension were better than Thielen’s. But they were also nothing special (200 total catches for 2472 yards and 15 touchdowns).

By his numbers, he appeared to be more deserving of the kind of deal Thielen got than Thielen was. But coming after his big catch against the Saints in the playoffs, his name was hot. It was the perfect time to shoot for the stars, and it worked.

The only problem now is that his deal makes it look like the Vikings are not doing right by Thielen.

It would be well within the Vikings rights to just wait and pay Thielen accordingly in his next extension. But then they run the risk of him becoming disillusioned with the team and feeling underappreciated—which could lead to a desire to switch teams.

But, according to some recent media reports, it doesn’t sound like the Vikings are going to wait. They have extended players contracts in the past before they were due for an extension and it looks like Thielen could be getting an extension this year.

“This team has a lot of really good things in place for it, and I know they want to take care of Adam, and I know they want Adam there and I know they want to reward Adam,” his agent, Blake Baratz said during a recent media appearance.

He went on to say that he doesn’t know what the Vikings are going to offer, but that he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ the Vikings will give Thielen the kind of raise he deserves. If the offer isn’t good, he could just hold out, right?

Yes, he could. But Baratz told Courtney Cronin from ESPN that isn’t the kind of thing his client would do; he’s not that type of person.

Of course, the willingness to extend a player everyone deems worthy and actually doing so are two different things. The Vikings could just be talking the talk right now; that doesn’t mean they will absolutely walk it later. However, history tells us that they most likely will.

So, then the next question will be whether Thielen’s intensity and production slacks off after he gets paid. It is not an uncommon phenomenon among professional athletes. But it is more likely that his numbers will go up in his second season with Kirk Cousins rather than down.