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Lunchbreak: Quick Reactions to Adam Thielen's Release

The Vikings announced the release of receiver and modern Minnesota folk hero Adam Thielen on Friday as the team continues efforts to become compliant with the NFL salary cap for 2023.

Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Head Coach Kevin O'Connell spoke glowingly about what Thielen meant to them in their first season with the team.

Owners Mark Wilf and Zygi Wilf expressed their long-term appreciation for what Thielen has accomplished on the field and in the community.

Thielen caught 70 passes for 716 yards with six touchdowns in 2022 and moved all the way up to third in team history for career receptions (534) and receiving touchdowns (55) behind only Pro Football Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Randy Moss. Thielen's 6,682 yards rank fourth in Vikings history.

The team and the receiver held discussions, but Thielen will now be a free agent for the first time since 2013 when an undrafted and unheralded player showed up at Winter Park on a tryout basis and made the roster as a reserve and special teamer in 2014.

Because of the reporting on contracts and Minnesota's position over the salary cap, Thielen's potential departure circled through reports and tweets. It became a reality Friday, capping a week that included Monday's release of another longtime Viking and incredible community ambassador, Eric Kendricks.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio referred to Thielen's time with Minnesota as "one of the best stories from the past decade of the NFL."

The Star Tribune's Ben Goessling posted an interesting thread on Twitter, going all the way back to featuring Thielen in 2012 while still a member of the 2012 Minnesota State, Mankato Mavericks football team:

Goessling's colleague Andrew Krammer noted when Thielen's career began ascending during joint practices in Cincinnati (It's still one of my personal favorites from when Bengals DBs disrespected Thielen and he smoked them on their practice field):

Although ESPN's Courtney Cronin has moved on to Chicago, she revisited her time covering Thielen and the Vikings beat:

The Athletic's Alec Lewis was new to the beat this year but appreciated Thielen's efforts to welcome him:

FOX 9's Dawn Mitchell referred to Thielen's career as a "magnificent journey":

Ben Leber considers Thielen not being a part of the Vikings to be short-term while he's with a different team but to resume in spirit (he's not the only one who thinks that):

Daniel Jeremiah's Biggest Gainers at Combine

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah annually ranks his top 50 prospects ahead of the draft.

Jeremiah recently updated his list after evaluating the performances of more than 300 draft-eligible players at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.

So which prospects impressed the former scout the most and by how much?

Iowa State edge defender Will McDonald IV rose 11 spots to 25th overall.

McDonald is listed at 6-foot-4 but only 239 pounds. He did not run the 40-yard dash, but he did record a broad jump of 11 feet.

View the best photos of WR Adam Thielen from the 2022 season.

Jeremiah wrote:

"McDonald is an undersized edge rusher with excellent bend and closing ability. He played defensive end in Iowa State's three-man front, often aligning on the inside shoulder of the offensive tackle. This isn't ideal for someone with his size/skill set. When he's loosened up on the edge, he is more natural and disruptive. He has an explosive first step and uses his hands to control the wrists of blockers before dipping and ripping around their outside shoulder. He is very fluid. He flashes some power, but his game is more speed-based. Against the run, he presses out blocks and plays bigger than his size. Overall, McDonald needs to add weight, but he has the tools to be a disruptive pass rusher at the next level."

Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks vaulted 14 spots to 28th overall.

Banks checked in at 6 feet and 197 pounds, which Jeremiah described as "excellent height, bulk and length for the position."

"He is very physical in press coverage, routinely staggering and re-routing wide receivers. He has average change-of-direction skills when he has to flip and open up. He does a nice job of staying on top versus go balls and he can locate the ball in the air. … He doesn't take plays off. He is a physical and reliable tackler in space. Overall, Banks doesn't have ideal fluidity, but he's tough and possesses ball skills."

Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee was the third player who made a double-digit leap, going from 46th to 34th overall.

"He moved up and down the line of scrimmage in Clemson's scheme. Against the pass, he generates pressures on slants and is an effective looper in pass-rush games. He has some shock in his hands but stalls out too often once he's engaged. He has some hip and ankle tightness. Against the run, he shows block awareness and utilizes his quick hands to keep blockers off his chest. He looked gassed at times this past season, which was likely the result of high snap counts while still recovering from injury. Overall, Bresee flashes on tape, but he needs to be more consistent."