Vikings to release WR Adam Thielen; Should Patriots pursue him in free agency?

Vikings to release WR Adam Thielen; Should Pats pursue him in free agency? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Minnesota Vikings are releasing wide receiver Adam Thielen on Friday, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, in a move that adds another quality pass-catcher to the NFL free agent market.

Should the New England Patriots, who need more talent at wide receiver, pursue Thielen in free agency?

It's definitely worth considering.

Thielen is no longer an elite wideout, but he's still a productive player. He tallied 70 receptions for 716 yards and six touchdowns in 2022. Thielen has caught 67 or more passes in six of the last seven seasons.

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The Patriots' top wide receiver is Jakobi Meyers, who is able to become an unrestricted free agent when the market opens March 15. If he does not return to New England, signing Thielen as a slot receiver and then adding a rookie WR in the first couple rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft wouldn't be a bad plan for the Patriots.

Thielen will be 33 years old in August, so he's not a long-term solution for the Patriots. He also wants to play for a contender, according to Pelissero, and you could argue the Patriots are not a contender in the AFC.

We also cannot ignore his history with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Thielen and Belichick got into a heated verbal exchange during a Patriots-Vikings game at Gillette Stadium in 2018. That was years ago, so maybe it's not an issue anymore.

Either way, the Patriots have to surround quarterback Mac Jones with more talented and reliable options in the passing attack. Thielen remains a dependable wide receiver after nine seasons.