Former Vikings WR Adam Thielen fires back at critics who think he's lost a step

Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen / Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It's going to be an odd experience for the Minnesota Vikings and their fans when the team takes the field for the first time next season and Adam Thielen won't be joining along. Instead, Thielen will be suiting up in a different uniform for the first time in his NFL career as a member of the Carolina Panthers.

With the veteran wide receiver just a few months away from turning 33-years-old, it's fair to say that his best seasons in the league are behind him. But don't tell Thielen that. In a recent interview with The Athletic's Joseph Person, the former Vikings pass-catcher fired back at some of the critics who have labeled him as old.

"How am I too old and too slow? At the end of the day, people don’t actually watch the tape. They just look at stats and look at what people are saying about someone, and they don’t actually look and see what you’re doing. Sometimes it can be frustrating as a player. But at the same time, it gives you a little chip on your shoulder."

Will former Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen prove his doubters wrong in 2023 with the Carolina Panthers?

With Minnesota in 2022, Thielen certainly saw a dip in his production. His 716 receiving yards were the fewest he's ever had during a season in which he logged at least 750 offensive snaps and his 65.4 percent catch rate was his lowest since 2019.

According to PFF, Thielen's 1.08 yards per route run also ranked 83rd in the NFL last season and his 2.3 yards after the catch per reception ranked 96th.

Thielen is clearly adamant that his recent production is not a reflection of his age though. Will he be proven correct during his upcoming season with the Panthers?