The Vikings placed a second-round tender on the restricted free agent, according to a league source, meaning Thielen will be paid $2.746 million if he signs the tender this spring. If Thielen, whose breakout season saw him lead the team in receiving yards, were to sign an offer sheet with another club, the Vikings would have the right to match the offer or receive a second-round pick as compensation.
Thielen is coming off a 69-catch, 967-yard season, and the Vikings' tender doesn't guarantee he'll be back in Minnesota next year. He said last month at Vikings Winterfest that his goal is a long-term contract, adding he wants to continue to play in his home state. "This is my team. I love this team. I've put a lot of time and effort in to help this football team win games, and I want to be here," Thielen said. "But at the same time, I want to be respected for what I've done. I feel like I've proven I'm a starter in this league, so I want to be respected in that way."
He figures to attract interest from other teams, and the Vikings could have to make a decision about the 26-year-old's long-term future, either by getting a multi-year deal done with him or matching an offer made by another team. Given how Thielen has made himself into a solid downfield threat for Sam Bradford, and how little money they have wrapped up in their receivers, it figures the Vikings will try to keep him. The tender they placed on the former undrafted free agent shows how much progress he's made since his rookie camp tryout in 2013.