Adam Thielen gets replaced in recent 2023 mock draft

(Photo by Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports) Josh Downs
(Photo by Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports) Josh Downs /

ESPN’s Matt Miller recently shared his early predictions for the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, including the Minnesota Vikings selecting a wide receiver.

Aside from being able to capture the ultimate goal, Adam Thielen has had himself a bit of a fairytale career during his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings.

Growing up in Minnesota, Thielen rooted for the Vikings, and just like many other kids around the state, he hoped that he could one day play in the NFL for the purple and gold.

Unlike most though, Thielen was actually able to achieve this goal. He defied the giant odds that were placed in front of him and the fact that he’s still playing at a high level entering the 2022 season is an impressive accomplishment on its own.

Minnesota Vikings prepare for life without Adam Thielen in recent 2023 mock draft

It’s not even August yet, and the 2023 NFL Draft is still more than nine months away, but that hasn’t stopped people from already sharing their predictions about what might happen during next year’s draft.

Most recently, ESPN’s Matt Miller revealed his early thoughts about how the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft might go down. For the Vikings, Miller has them using the No. 21 pick in the opening round to select North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs.

As a sophomore with North Carolina last season, Downs hauled in 101 catches for 1,335 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games. At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, he’s a little on the smaller side, but he’s already displayed exceptional speed and a great ability to get open during his college career.

If Minnesota were to select Downs or another receiver with their first-round draft pick next year, it would most certainly be a direct message to Thielen. Teams don’t draft wide receivers in the first round to sit them on the bench, so a pick like this would be the Vikings’ way of telling Thielen his time in purple and gold is very near the end.

It would be completely understandable, however, if this is a decision Minnesota ends up making. Two of Thielen’s last three seasons have been cut short by injuries and he will be 33-years-old by the start of the 2023 regular season.

Could he throw a wrench in the Vikings’ possible plans for him by playing out of his mind in 2022? Sure, it’s possible. But are the chances very high of this actually happening? Not really.

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