EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings receiver Adam Thielen's 2021 season ended this week when he was placed on Injured Reserve, but the recognition for his sportsmanship is continuing.
Thielen is one of eight finalists from across the NFL for the 2021 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, the league announced Thursday.
Each NFL team nominated one player for the award that was created in honor of Steelers Founder Art Rooney, Sr. Thielen's former Vikings teammate, Teddy Bridgewater, was named the winner of the leaguewide award in 2020.
Thielen's nomination by the Vikings was announced earlier this month. He is joined as a finalist by the following players:
Buffalo QB Josh Allen
Houston WR Brandin Cooks
Miami DB Jason McCourty
New England WR Matthew Slater
Tampa Bay LB Lavonte David
New Orleans DE Cameron Jordan
San Francisco FB Kyle Juszczyk
Thielen, Allen, Cooks, McCourty and Jordan are first-time nominees. Slater is a finalist for the third consecutive year and fourth time overall. Juszczyk is a finalist for the second year in a row. David has been nominated in each of the past four seasons.
View photos of WR Adam Thielen from the 2021 season. Thielen was named a finalist for the 2021 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community — Warrick Dunn, Larry Fitzgerald, Curtis Martin and Leonard Wheeler — selected the eight finalists from the 32 nominees.
Players on each team submitted a consensus vote for a finalist when they cast their Pro Bowl ballots. Like Pro Bowl voting, players can't vote for their teammates.
The winner will be revealed as part of NFL Honors on the eve of Super Bowl LVI.
"I've had the honor of competing with many of the nominees on the list," Fitzgerald said. "More importantly, I've had the blessing of knowing and building relationships with several of them off the field. The legacy of Mr. Rooney lives on through these men. They represent teamwork, competitiveness, hard work, optimism, and integrity. Congratulations to each of the nominees for this year's Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award."
Patrick Peterson, a former teammate of Fitzgerald who was nominated by Arizona for the 2017 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, said Thielen is "a perfect person for this award."
"He always has great sportsmanship, has always been a standup guy in the community and the locker room, just does everything the right way," Peterson said. "For me, that's what I believe sportsmanship stands for."
Peterson also has a deep appreciation for the award's namesake that was developed from his tight connections with cousin Bryant McFadden, William Gay, Ike Taylor and Deshea Townsend. Peterson trained with those Steelers when he was in high school.
"Mr. Rooney, and what their family history stands for and what they've been able to do, not only for the Steelers, but the league and minority coaches, has been remarkable, so to have your name in the same company as the Rooney family is special in itself," Peterson said.