Alexander Shun | @alexpshun
Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com
When the Minnesota Vikings slapped wide receiver Adam Thielen with a second-round tender before the free agency period began, the rest of the league took notice.
When the team rewarded Thielen with a sizable three-year, $27 million contract extension this offseason, the league took note again.
When the free agency period began, Thielen was seeking respect with his new extension. He got the extension and the respect from the Vikings organization, now his hope is that opposing defenses will respect him, though not for his contract, but for his play on the field.
"I don't think it has anything to do with the contract," Thielen said via conference call on Tuesday. "I hope, at least, that guys will see what I was able to do last year in the regular season and have a little bit of respect for my game and what I can do."
The undrafted wide out from Minnesota State Mankato certainly made the most of his opportunity last season as he finished the 2016 campaign with 69 catches for a team-leading 967 yards and five touchdowns. That includes a monstrous 12 catch, 202 yard, two touchdown performance in week 16 against the Packers.
"Obviously before last season I didn't have a lot of opportunities so you can't blame people for not respecting me or not thinking I can play," Thielen continued. "Until you prove it on game day, on Sundays, you don't really have anything to back it up. I think now I have at least some film and some things to kind of back up what people think about me."
Thielen has earned his contract extension, now he has to prove once again that he deserved it by playing well on the field next season.