Having worked his way from the ground up himself to get to the NFL, what does the Minnesota Vikings receiver think about the opportunities offered by the XFL?
When it comes to starting at the bottom, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen knows all about it.
Thielen began his career on the Vikings’ practice squad, worked his way onto their special teams, was given a shot to be a starter on offense, and he is now one of the top receivers in the entire NFL.
So when the Minnesota pass-catcher sees something like the XFL giving guys the opportunity to continue pursuing their dreams of playing professional football, it’s hard for him to not reminisce about the times when he was doing whatever he could to get noticed out on the field.
Thielen recently appeared on Minnesota’s WCCO radio and he shared some of his thoughts on the return of the XFL this past weekend.
"“It was fun to watch. I thought it was a really good start for that league. Obviously, (given) where I came from and how I got to where I am, I think it’s a great thing. I think it’s a great thing for the NFL. I think it’s a great thing for guys that are just right on that bubble and just need a little bit of development before they get an opportunity in the NFL.”"
These comments from Thielen shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. If the XFL were around when he was trying to make it into the NFL, there’s a decent chance that he might have joined one of the eight teams just to get an opportunity to prove his worth out on the field.
But the XFL wasn’t around when Thielen graduated from Minnesota State, so he had to figure out different ways to get noticed by NFL scouts. Ultimately, he decided to pay for a spot in a Regional Combine and after running the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds, the attention from pro scouts started to grow larger.
He ended up getting invited to the Vikings’ rookie mini-camp and it resulted in the team signing him to a small, three-year deal. The rest, as some like to say, is history.
If it seems like Thielen had to pretty much jump through hoops to get to where he is today, it’s because he did. If there was something around like the XFL when he was coming out of college, he might have been able to make an impact in the NFL much quicker.
However, Thielen might also not be the player he is today if not for everything he experienced during his football career. It seems safe to say Minnesota is happy with how his journey has turned out so far.