He accentuated the second half of that equation Wednesday, when he secured a new contract with Minnesota.
A source told ESPN that Thielen agreed to a three-year deal that could be worth $27 million with incentives, including $11 million guaranteed, with the Vikings, who had placed a second-round tender on the restricted free-agent receiver last week.
He would have made $2.75 million on the tender but assured himself of some long-term security with the extension the team finalized Wednesday.
The Minnesota State-Mankato product came to the Vikings on a rookie camp tryout in 2013, performing well enough that the team opened up a roster spot to sign him after the weekend.
He spent 2013 on the Vikings' practice squad, played mostly on special teams in 2014 and 2015, but broke out in 2016, catching 69 passes and leading the team with 967 receiving yards.
Thielen, 26, a native of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, fell just short of a single-game franchise record for yards on Dec. 24 in Green Bay, where he caught 12 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter contributed to this report.