Adam Thielen Named Minnesota Vikings Choice for 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

Maverick Alum Continues to Impress On and Off the Field

CAST YOUR VOTE: Now until January 8th, 2023, is the voting period to elect the official NFL’s WPMOY recipient. Voting for Adam Thielen is done by posting the hashtag #WPMOYChallengeThielen on the specific social channel of your choosing. Voting can be done across all social media platforms with those specific hashtags. Each post/repost equals one vote.

During the NFL Football season, hardly a week goes by when Minnesota State Mankato isn’t mentioned with one of its best-known alums, Adam Thielen, All Pro wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings.

Thielen’s latest in a long list of accolades is his selection as the Vikings nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. The league’s most prestigious award recognizes qualities of respect, integrity, resiliency and responsibility. The 2022 recipient from among the 32 nominees will be announced on Feb. 9, 2023, the Thursday before Super Bowl LVII.

The winner receives a $250,000 donation toward a charity of choice. The remaining nominees each receive a $40,000 charity donation.

Thielen and his wife, Caitlin, also a Minnesota State alum, are recognized for their own charity, the Thielen Foundation, launched in 2018. With more than $2.5 million in donated funds, the foundation’s various programs support the Masonic Children’s Hospital, the Salvation Army Christmas, a youth football camp and a high school academic achievement program for under-served student-athletes.

Adam Thielen racked up impressive stats as a Maverick wide receiver. (Maverick Athletics photo)

Thielen’s personal Cinderella story is well documented. Coming to play for Coach Todd Hoffner and the Mavericks on a $500 scholarship, Thielen proved to be one of the best receivers in Maverick history. Wearing #9 for the Mavericks, Thielen left behind his own Maverick football legacy. According to the 2018 biography, From Small Town To Football Star: Adam Thielen, the Detroit Lake, Minn., finished his Maverick career in 2012 with the following stats: tied for first for receptions in a season, 74; second in career receptions, 198; third in career receiving yards, 2,802; third in career receiving touchdowns, 20; fourth in receiving yards in a season, 1,176; an sixth in career all-purpose yards: 3,503.

Determined to play in the NFL, Thielen participated in a regional combine after being overlooked for the NFL’s large Invitational Combine. According to his biography, Thielen’s performance was enough to impress the Vikings and the Carolina Panthers. The choice was easy for this life-long Vikings fan. Maverick-turned-Viking, he continued to wear purple as he joined the Vikings practice squad as an undrafted, unrecruited free agent.

Thielen’s drive and determination led to a two-year Vikings contract in December 2013. During the 2014 season, he shared duties on special teams and as a wide receiver. Among that year’s highlight reel was his blocked punt against the Carolina Panthers that he returned for a 42-yard touchdown. Thielen was later made a Vikings starter. The rest is history.

As his personal story of success continues, Thielen’s 2018 biography concludes with his own words penned for The Players’ Tribune: “Every day I feel like I’m writing another chapter in my story and living another piece of my childhood dream.”

That dream is fulfilling dreams for other youth as Thielen continues to impress both on and off the football field.

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