Vikings players, coaches and staffers will pack up their bags later this summer for a 2-week or so stay in Mankato, Minnesota as the team will once again hold their training camp there. For the traveling contingent, it’s a couple of weeks away from the familiar setting of Winter Park and the comfortable amenities of home.
But for one Vikings player, the couple-week endeavor that is training camp will actually feel like home.
Quick and fast, the 6-1, 192-pound Thielen stood out in a position group that included 1st-round pick
Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Thielen stood out, though. He played in 46 games at MSU and after his 4-year career leaves the program with his name all over the record books. In 2012 he led the club in receptions with 74, which tied the program’s single-season record. He also led the Mavericks in receiving yards (1,176), receiving TDs (8), receiving yards per game (84.0) and he was 2nd in yards per catch (15.9). If the Mavericks exploded in the passing game, it was likely due in large part to Thielen – of MSU's 34 passing plays of 25 yards or greater, Thielen caught 21 of them.
Thielen’s impact wasn’t limited to the offense, as he was MSU’s primary punt returner, notching 239 return yards and 1 TD on 24 attempts.
Thielen left MSU ranked 2nd all-time in receptions (198), 3rd in receiving yards (2,802), 3rd in receiving TDs (20), 3rd in punt return yards (582), 3rd in punt returns (57) and 6th in all-purpose yards (3,503).
If Thielen can continue to impress and show improvement in his game, he may have the opportunity to return to the very same MSU fields that groomed him for a chance to compete for an NFL roster spot.