EAGAN, Minn. — A year after launching his first football camp, Adam Thielen went even further this time around.
The Vikings All-Pro wide receiver hosted two different camps over two days this past weekend at TCO Stadium for more than 300 total kids, with each day geared toward a specific audience. Proceeds from the camps benefitted the Thielen Foundation.
Saturday’s session was more of an elite camp, with about 75 high school skill-position players from around the state taking part in a four-hour training program with Thielen himself.
Thielen teamed up with ETS Performance to host the first day of the camp. The Minnesota native trains at one of its gyms in the offseason and is also a partner with ETS.
Thielen said his hope was that those in attendance could take what they learned and apply it to their own games so they could potentially get noticed by colleges in the upcoming season.
Aidan Bouman has already committed to Iowa State. The Buffalo High School quarterback is the son of former Vikings quarterback Todd Bouman, who played in Minnesota in 2001 and 2002.
Check out pictures from Vikings WR Adam Thielen's offseason workout with TE Brian Leonhardt and longtime trainer Ryan Englebert at his ETS Thielen Gym.
The younger Bouman said during Saturday’s camp that he was enjoying the speed and agility drills that could help him in the pocket.
“I just want to get better. I got an email a couple weeks ago, and they wanted me to come out here,” Bouman said. “It’s a great opportunity and a beautiful day, so I’m excited to be out here.
“Speed is huge for me, too, even though I’m a pro-style quarterback,” Bouman added. “Obviously I don’t run a lot, but any tips I can get on speed, arms, any of that … it’s huge.”
While Saturday was a bit more serious, Sunday’s camp for more than 250 kids had a light-hearted atmosphere for campers in grades 1-8.
“It’s going to be more about having fun and enjoying being with them,” Thielen said Saturday. “There’ll be a ton of kids, so it’ll be chaos, but it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Regardless of the day and the tone of the camp, Thielen said he was happy to be able to give back to those in his home state. The two-time Pro Bowler said he attended a camp in high school put on by former Vikings quarterback Brooks Bollinger, and he wanted to give high schoolers a similar experience.
“This is a small piece of it,” Thielen said. “I’ve always envisioned helping athletes and football players become better at their positions. It’s not just football stuff, but it’s helping guys become better athletes.”
But no matter what day Thielen was giving instructions or tips on the field, each kid on the field could draw inspiration from his journey to the NFL.
Bouman said he’s followed Thielen’s story closely. And Ryan Englebert, the founder of ETS, said there are plenty of kids who look up to No. 19.
“It’d be hard not to, right? With the story he has and the success he’s had, I think it’s very motivating and eye-opening,” Englebert said. “But it’s also relatable for all these kids. They have the same background he did, and I think it’s got to motivate kids 100 percent.’
Added Thielen: “That’s why I’m kind of excited about this camp … it’s so fun for me to share my knowledge. I enjoy doing it on the professional level with other receivers that are on our team. It’s something that comes natural for me. I love to teach the game, I love to teach things that have helped me. And I love learning.”