Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Vikings' Adam Thielen on record-setting pace as NFL's league-leading receiver

Coming off his first Pro Bowl season in 2017 — in which he caught 91 passes for 1,276 yards (fifth in the NFL) and four touchdowns — Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was expected to have a big year in 2018. And that was before the team spent $84 million to bring in quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Through six games, Thielen is not simply having a big year — he’s on pace for a record-setting season.

With 11 catches, 123 yards and one touchdown on Sunday in a 27-17 win over Arizona, Thielen already has nabbed a league-leading 58 passes for a league-leading 712 yards. That’s the most catches through six games in NFL history, putting him on pace for 154 on the season, which would easily surpass the single-season reception record of 143 set by Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison in 2002.

All those catches have helped Thilen surpass the 100-yard mark each week this season, which is the longest streak of 100-yard games to start a season in the Super Bowl era, per NBC Sports. The all-time mark of seven was set by Charley Hennigan of the AFL’s Houston Oilers in 1961.

On and off the field, life is good for Thielen right now. In July, he and his wife, Caitlin, announced that they are pregnant with their second child, a son who is due in January. And last month, Adam and Caitlin officially launched the Thielen Foundation. “With an overarching theme on youth development, the Thielen Foundation aims to create programs that serve, educate and inspire individuals so they’re equipped and empowered to reach their full potential in life,” says the foundation’s website.

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Adam, Asher, and I are so excited to announce the official launch of the Thielen Foundation! We are very blessed to have the platform we do and thankful to God for using us to help others! Both Adam and I have always had a passion for youth and we are pumped to have our first partnership with the @umnhealth Pediatric Behavioral Health Unit…a unit we feel is very overlooked in today’s world. We hope to continue to grow our foundation and impact as many lives as possible. Thanks to everyone for such amazing support so far!!! Check out our Instagram @thielenfoundation and website(in my bio) to learn more and stay up to date😊 #thielenfoundation #skol #helpothers #giveback #umnhealth #mnfam

A post shared by Caitlin Thielen (@mrs_t_19) on

“We are very blessed to have the platform we do and thankful to God for using us to help others,” Caitlin wrote on Instagram.

Using his platform for the Lord is something Thielen has been challenged by since gaining fame in the NFL.

“Another thing I think He’s teaching me through this time is how to use my platform,” Thielen told Sports Spectrum in an interview in December. “The more notoriety I get, [I’m] trying to use it for the right reasons, and try to spread the Word. Especially in the world today, try to do things in the community … and try to help those that are in need, and just trying to do Jesus-like things. I think one of those things is to use your platform for a positive.”

Raised in a Catholic church while growing up — he was born and raised and attended college in Minnesota, before signing with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent — Thielen says he “always believed in the Lord but I never really dug in. I tried to be the best person I could be, but I don’t know if I tried to be the best man of God.”

That was until college at Minnesota State University, when he started “questioning things.”

“A couple years into college I just kind of had a moment. I was just like, ‘I need to make a change. There’s something missing in my life.’ And that was when I started to go to the team Bible study,” Thielen said.

He met Caitlin soon thereafter, and one of his first attempts at asking her on a date was to suggest they go to church together.

“She was really into her faith, so she really helped push me in the right direction, and still holds me accountable to this day. I’m very thankful for her. And then ever since then, I’ve tried to dig in more and more, and tried to be the best man of God,” Thielen said.

RELATED STORIES:
— Football Sunday Feature: Adam Thielen’s Pro Bowl Perseverance
Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen’s remarkable journey from undrafted to NFL stud
Vikings QB Kirk Cousins uses ‘Christian conviction’ to prioritize giving over spending
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