For the first time in the minds of many, Adam Thielen will report to Minnesota State University, Mankato for Verizon Vikings Training Camp enshrouded with a roster spot all but guaranteed.
Thielen, however, doesn't quite see it that way.
The multiyear contract extension that the receiver signed in March isn't about to tempt the Minnesota native with complacency.
"I think it adds responsibility," Thielen said. "Now that I've had success in the past and signed a contract and know I'm going to be here for a little while, it adds responsibility for me. It adds a little bit of pressure to perform at a high level, and I love that. I love to take that head on, and I have to make sure I'm doing the things that got me here."
After increasing his production each season for the Mavericks in Mankato, Thielen arrived at Winter Park on a tryout basis as an undrafted rookie in 2013. He spent that season on the practice squad, then cracked the lineup in 2014.
Thielen totaled 20 receptions for 281 yards and one touchdown and contributed significantly on special teams, starting four of 32 games played in 2014-15.
After flying virtually under the radar in his first two seasons, Thielen spread his wings on some fly patterns in 2016, starting 10 of 16 games played and totaling 69 receptions for a team-best 967 yards.
Thielen's best outing was a 12-catch, 202-yard, two-touchdown day at Green Bay in Week 16. The yardage total tied Paul Flatley for the third-highest yardage in a regular-season game in Vikings history and included diving catches as well as a double-move that resulted in a 71-yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford.
Thielen and Bradford quickly established rapport last season on multiple types of routes, but their success when taking deep shots occurred in spite of Bradford joining the team just eight days before the season started.
Thielen led the Vikings with 16 receptions of 20 or more yards last season, and according to analytics site Pro Football Focus, Thielen produced the best passer ratings for a quarterback of any receiver in the NFL on "go" routes. Out of 39 receivers who were targeted 15 or more times on go routes, Thielen generated a wide receiver rating of 142.8, which was more than five points higher than Amari Cooper (137.2).
Stefon Diggs, a 2015 fifth-round pick who led the Vikings with 84 receptions and added 903 yards and three touchdowns, said Thielen's success resulted from hard work and that he's seen him continue that this offseason.
"Adam's a by-the-book guy," Diggs said. "He comes in, he works hard, he puts the time in, he commits himself to everything he's doing."
Thielen said he appreciated the opportunities last season, but his goals always will be continuing to improve and doing whatever he can to help the Vikings win games.
"For me, I don't really like to reflect too much on past seasons," Thielen said. "It was a good year and I got a lot of opportunities, which is awesome. At the same time, I know there's a lot of things I need to work on."
Personal statistics are one thing, but they are not nearly as enjoyable to Thielen as team success. After failing to defend the NFC North title that Minnesota won in 2015, Thielen and the Vikings want to vie for the division's top spot this season.
For him, it's all about "just taking that next step as a team."
"[It's about] getting to the playoffs and then taking it one game at a time and making sure we're going to be the football team that we're supposed to be," Thielen said. "If we can do the little things right and stick together, I think we can go a long way."
Thielen and Vikings veterans are scheduled to report for camp on July 26.
The multisport star from Detroit Lakes High School was able to use some free time this week to play in a prestigious golf pro-am at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course on the southeastern shore of Lake Tahoe.
Thielen is paired Wednesday with Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and women's professional golfer Paige Spiranac.