Vikings release wide receiver Adam Thielen

On Friday, the Vikings released wide receiver Adam Thielen. The nine-year veteran and Minnesota native, who signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2013 out of Minnesota State, left his mark on the Vikings.

He is third in team history in receptions(534), receiving touchdowns(55), and fourth in receiving yards(6682).

The Vikings reportedly tried to get the 33-year-old Thielen, who had a reduced role with the team and finished 2022 with 70 receptions for 716 yards and six touchdowns, to take a pay cut to stay, but the two-time Pro Bowler declined.

Minnesota cleared some cap space with the move as, according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, Thielen had a $19.97 million cap hit for 2023.

After his release became official, Vikings ownership, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, and head coach Kevin O’Connell talked about impact of Thielen in Minnesota.

“Adam will forever be a part of the Minnesota Vikings family and history. Setting the standard with his play on the field, being a selfless teammate, and making a permanent impact in the community, Adam’s influence is significant. We are grateful for everything he brought to the Vikings organization since arriving in 2013, and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with him over the last year. He is the best representation of what the Minnesota Vikings should stand for. I wish nothing but the best for Adam, Caitlin and their entire family.”

-Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

“Adam’s story is one many know and admire and an incredible example of what a relentless pursuit of a goal can ultimately accomplish. For over a decade, Adam honed his craft to become one of the most well-recognized wide receivers in the NFL. Over that same time, he poured so much of his time into his home state, which made it even more special for him to earn our 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year nomination.I personally leaned on Adam for his work ethic, leadership, and counsel multiple times to help get our team where we wanted it to be last season. I appreciate Adam’s contributions and will be pulling for continued success for him, Caitlin and their children.”

– Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell

“Adam’s tremendous impact goes well beyond the Vikings organization. His rise from a tryout player to one of the best players in the history of our franchise has encouraged so many young athletes and is a testament to hard work and perseverance. While Adam had a competitive fire on the field, he showed grace, compassion and humility within his community. The commitment he and his wife, Caitlin, have shown to Minnesota through the Thielen Foundation has and will continue to provide real change. Adam’s energetic, contagious personality will be missed inside the facility, but we are grateful for the foundation he built. He was a Minnesota Viking long before we signed him and he will be always considered a part of this team. We sincerely wish Adam, Caitlin and their entire family continued success.”

– Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf and Owner/President Mark Wilf

Vikings name Brian Flores defensive coordinator

The Minnesota Vikings have named Brian Flores defensive coordinator, the team announced Monday.

In 2022, the Vikings struggled on defense. The Vikings recently parted ways with defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after one season with the team.

The 41-year-old Flores will join Kevin O’Connell’s staff after spending the 2022 season as the senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In one season with Pittsburgh, Flores led a defense that gave up just seven rushing touchdowns, which tied with New England for the fewest allowed in the NFL in 2022. Pittsburgh’s opponents also had the league’s sixth-lowest completion percentage (61.3%).

Before his time with Pittsburgh, Flores served as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019-21. Flores helped the Dolphins post back-to-back winning seasons (2020-21) for the first time since 2002-03. In 2021, Miami became the first team in NFL history to snap a seven-game losing streak with a seven-game winning streak. Flores led the Dolphins to a 10-6 record in 2020, marking only the second time the franchise has won 10 games in a season over the past decade. Miami’s defense finished sixth in the NFL that season, allowing 21.1 points per game, and led the league with 29 takeaways. 

Flores got his start in the NFL with the New England Patriots, coaching in all three phases of the game – offense, defense, and special teams – and helped the franchise win four Super Bowls – XXXIX, XLIX, LI, and LIII. He spent eight seasons (2011-18) coaching defense and seven (2012-18) as a position coach. The Patriots advanced to the AFC Championship game in all seven seasons with Flores as a position coach and won three of the club’s four Super Bowl Appearances.

In 2018, Flores helped New England win Super Bowl LIII in his first season as the defensive play-caller. Under his direction, the defense went from 17th to seventh in the league in passer rating, holding opponents to a 85.4 rating. 

Eagles DC Gannon talks 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Linc

The last time the Philadelphia Eagles made it to the NFC title game was in the 2017 season, and in that game, the Eagles routed the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 at Lincoln Financial Field to go to the Super Bowl. 

Ultimately, Philadelphia would win the first Super Bowl in franchise history two weeks later against the Patriots. 

Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was there when the Eagles faced the Vikings in the NFC title game. At the time, he was Minnesota’s assistant defensive backs coach. On Wednesday, Gannon recalled the energy in the building that day.

“In warmups, a guy that I was coaching, he looked at me with a look in his eye like, whoa. [Minnesota Vikings S] Harrison Smith. I said, whoa, back,” Gannon said. “You could feel the energy, and it’s awesome. This is one of the best atmospheres that you’re going to get in the National Football League, and obviously, being the championship game, it’ll be heightened.

“Yeah, I thought the energy in the building was just phenomenal. Before kickoff, as the game got going, and it’s a tough place to play, and it’s a big advantage for us.”

Playing the Vikings in Minnesota is always challenging, and they have a great fan base. However, according to Gannon, Philly is more electric.

“You know, you kind of think that’s an external factor that you kind of block out, but in ’16 and ’17 in Minnesota when that new facility got built, that new stadium got built, that was a really good atmosphere, too,” he said. “That was the Minnesota miracle, that game, to come here(Philadelphia) to play, and I was like, wow, I don’t know if there will ever be a stadium more electric than that that I’ve been a part of after [former Minnesota Vikings WR Stefon] Diggs has a walk-off. When we were here in warmups, that’s what it was. When we were here in warmups, it was like, whoa, this is as electric — it’s more electric than that place was.

“I always joke about it with Mr. Lurie [Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie] and [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman]; I’ve always wanted to be a part of a Philly team to play in playoff games at that stadium because that’s how it stood out in my mind.”

San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy will experience this environment on Sunday. Will he be ready? We’ll find out soon enough.

Giants’ Barkley on Jones: ‘I know we have an elite quarterback’

For the first time since 2016, the New York Giants were in the playoffs, and for the first time since 2011, the New York Giants got a playoff win as they defeated the Vikings 31-24 in the Wild Card round of the playoffs on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

With the win, the Giants advance to a divisional round game at Philadelphia next Saturday night.

New York lost to the Vikings on Christmas Eve in Minnesota when kicker Greg Joseph hit a 61-yard field goal at the buzzer, but this game was a different story because of the play of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.

In his playoff debut, Jones was outstanding. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 78 yards(team record for a quarterback in the postseason) on 17 carries. He is the fifth quarterback in the Super Bowl era with 200-plus pass yards, two-plus touchdown passes and 70-plus rushing yards in a playoff game.

After the win, Saquon Barkley, who ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns, including a 28-yard scamper in the first quarter and the game-winning two-yard touchdown run in the fourth, was impressed by Jones.

“I would say I’m impressed,” Barkley said about Jones. “I’m not shocked. He’s been doing it all year. He’s really a special player. You know what a way to start it off. I’m happy for him and proud of him, and we’re going to need him and keep leaning on him.”

Giants head coach Brian Daboll was proud of Jones.

“Daniel, I’ve said it all year; he’s been good for us,” Daboll said. “Continues to be good for us. He played a good game. I think there was a lot of other people that played good games to help him play a good game, and he’ll be the first to admit it. But as a leader on our football team, I’m proud of him.”

Barkley believes the Giants have an elite quarterback.

“I know we have an elite quarterback,” Barkley said. “I think he’s shown that most of the time. But we’ve also got amazing players around, too, so we”ve got his back no matter what.”

The fourth-year quarterback is happy with the win but knows more work needs to be done.

“I think it’s a big win for us,” he said. “Obviously, a big playoff game. I thought we played well in all three phases and did enough to win the game. We’ll enjoy it tonight, but we have a lot of work to do moving forward.”

The Giants were swept by the Eagles this season, including a 48-22 beatdown at MetLife Stadium; Jones is excited to get another crack at Philadelphia.

“We’re excited,” he said. “They’re a good team. A divisional opponent. We’ll prepare this week like we do any week and be as prepared as we can going in.”

The Giants continue to play with house money. No one expected them to win a playoff game when the season started. However, many believed the Vikings were a beatable team in this spot, and New York took advantage of it.

Back to Jones, he was exceptional against Minnesota, but Philly will be a bigger test, and we will see if Jones and the Giants can pass it.


-This was the Giants’ first victory this season against a team in the NFC playoff field; they had been 0-6 vs. Dallas, Philadelphia, Seattle and Minnesota.

-The Giants totaled 431 offense yards, a figure they exceeded just twice in the regular season – 445 against the Vikings here on Dec. 24 and 436 yards at Jacksonville on Oct. 23.

-The Giants’ 31 points are their second-highest total of the season and the second time they exceeded 30 points

Giants’ Jones: ‘I think we’re definitely not satisfied just to have made the playoffs’

For the first three years of his career, the Wednesday after the end of the regular season has been when Giants quarterback Daniel Jones would be prepping for the offseason, but things are a little different for Jones this time.

Jones will get his first playoff start on Sunday when the Giants travel to Minnesota to battle the Vikings in the Wild Card Round of the NFC Playoffs. The fourth-year quarterback is looking forward to the opportunity and is happy to be preparing for a playoff game.

“I think it means a lot to all of us – a lot of guys who have been here these past few years,” Jones said Wednesday about preparing for the playoffs. “And to be on the other side of it, it means a lot. It’s about what we do now, from this point on, and how we handle this opportunity, how we prepare, and ultimately how we play how we execute on Sunday. We’re certainly happy we are where we are. But there’s a lot more. We got to do a lot more work left for us.”

The 25-year-old Jones can be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, so a playoff win could earn him some more money in the offseason, and while he’s never been to the playoffs, Jones knows what’s at stake. It’s win or go home. 

“I think everyone understands where we are now,” he said. “We’re in the playoffs. We’re past the regular season. The games mean more from the sense that you lose; you go home. So, people understand that. They understand what’s at stake. But the only way we’re going to play as well as we want to play is to prepare how we have all year, to trust our process, and stick to that. So, that’s largely been the conversation amongst the guys.”

The first three seasons for Jones were not pretty. He struggled with turnovers, and New York lost ten or more games in each of those seasons, but through all the struggles, Jones knew things would turn around for New York.

“I think I was always confident this would happen, and we would have this chance, largely because the guys we have in the locker room, the type of guys they are, and how close we are as a group,” he said. “We had some tough years, but I think we learned a lot. That’s helped us get to where we are now. I think (I’ve) just always been confident in the group, the type of guys that we have, and ultimately that that would lead to success.”

Not many people expected the Giants to make the playoffs, so to some, the season is a success, and New York should be satisfied to just to make the postseason, but like his teammates, Jones wants more.

“I think we’re definitely not satisfied just to have made the playoffs,” he said. “That’s not how we see it as a group. We were confident in our team dating back to training camp and knew what we were able to accomplish. We’re by no means satisfied just to be in the playoffs. We expect to play well and to win. And that’s our expectation every week; that doesn’t change this week.”

The Giants have defied the odds to this point, so maybe they will keep defying the odds this week and beyond.

Eagles led the way with eight Pro Bowl selections

The Philadelphia Eagles, who have the best record in the NFL at 13-1, led all teams with eight Pro Bowl selections as the NFL announced on Wednesday night the AFC and NFC rosters for the 2023 Pro Bowl Games.

Thirty teams had at least one player selected to the 2023 Pro Bowl Games roster.

The players from each conference will compete in a series of exciting Pro Bowl Skills competitions throughout the week and the first-ever AFC vs. NFC Flag football games on Sunday, February 5, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

The 2023 Pro Bowl Games will begin with both new and fan-favorite Skills and continue on Sunday with Skills and Flag games

There will be a lot of youth in the quarterback rooms in this Pro Bowl. Four of the six quarterbacks selected to the initial roster – Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts(first time), and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes – are age 27 or younger.

Seattle quarterback Geno Smith, who is having the best season of his career, was chosen for his first Pro Bowl in his 10th career season

The Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs each had seven players chosen. Three additional teams – the Baltimore Ravens(six), Minnesota Vikings(five) and San Francisco 49ers (six) – each placed at least five players on the Pro Bowl roster.

Twenty-five of the players selected to the Pro Bowl today are first-time All-Stars.

Roster selections are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 88 All-Star players.

Below are the complete Pro Bowl rosters for the NFC & AFC:


 (*First-time Pro Bowl selection; Bold/Italic: Starter)






Josh Allen, Buffalo

Mark Andrews, Baltimore

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati

Travis Kelce, Kansas City

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City



Terron Armstead, Miami

Davante Adams, Las Vegas

Orlando Brown, Kansas City

Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati

Laremy Tunsil, Houston

Stefon Diggs, Buffalo

Tyreek Hill, Miami


Joel Bitonio, Cleveland


Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis

Nick Chubb, Cleveland


Joe Thuney, Kansas City

Derrick Henry, Tennessee

Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas



Creed Humphrey, Kansas City



Mitch Morse, Buffalo

Patrick Ricard, Baltimore






Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas

C.J. Mosley, N.Y. Jets

Myles Garrett, Cleveland


Roquan Smith, Baltimore

Trey Hendrickson, Cincinnati




Sauce Gardner, N.Y. Jets

Chris Jones, Kansas City

Xavien Howard, Miami

Jeffery Simmons, Tennessee

Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore


Quinnen Williams, N.Y. Jets


Pat Surtain II, Denver



Matthew Judon, New England

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh

Khalil Mack, L.A. Chargers

T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh




Derwin James, L.A. Chargers



Jordan Poyer, Buffalo




* Tommy Townsend, Kansas City Devin Duvernay, Baltimore
Justin Tucker, Baltimore * Justin Hardee, N.Y. Jets
Morgan Cox, Tennessee



(*First-time Pro Bowl selection; Bold/Italic: Starter)




Kirk Cousins, Minnesota

T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota


Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia


George Kittle, San Francisco


Geno Smith, Seattle





Lane Johnson, Philadelphia

A.J. Brown, Philadelphia


Trent Williams, San Francisco

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota


Tristan Wirfs, Tampa Bay

CeeDee Lamb, Dallas



Terry McLaurin, Washington




Landon Dickerson, Philadelphia



Chris Lindstrom, Atlanta

Saquon Barkley, N.Y. Giants


Zack Martin, Dallas


Tony Pollard, Dallas



Miles Sanders, Philadelphia




Jason Kelce, Philadelphia




Frank Ragnow, Detroit


Kyle Juszczyk, San Francisco






Nick Bosa, San Francisco


Demario Davis, New Orleans

Brian Burns, Carolina

Fred Warner, San Francisco

Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas



Jaire Alexander, Green Bay

Jonathan Allen, Washington

Trevon Diggs, Dallas

Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams

Darius Slay, Philadelphia


Dexter Lawrence, N.Y. Giants


Tariq Woolen, Seattle



Micah Parsons, Dallas

Quandre Diggs, Seattle


Haason Reddick, Philadelphia

Za’Darius Smith, Minnesota


Budda Baker, Arizona


Talanoa Hufanga, San Francisco






Tress Way, Washington


KaVontae Turpin, Dallas





Jason Myers, Seattle


Jeremy Reaves, Washington



Andrew DePaola, Minnesota

Vikings’ Peterson: ‘What we have in this locker room is very special’

After 30 minutes, it appeared the Minnesota Vikings(11-3) were on their way to one of the most disappointing losses of the season as they trailed the Colts(4-9) 33-0 at halftime. 

However, Minnesota methodically worked its way back, and after a Dalvin Cook 64-yard touchdown reception and a T.J. Hockenson catch on a two-point conversion try, the Vikings tied the game at 36 and sent the game to overtime.

In the extra session, Greg Joseph’s 40-yard field goal with three seconds left gave the Vikings the improbable 39-36 win at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday.

With the win, the Vikings completed the greatest comeback in NFL history(the previous comeback record was 32 points by the Bills over the Oilers in the wild-card round of the 1992 playoffs), and they won the NFC North.

“When you got the right kind of guys, and we’ll continue to improve and stress the importance of individual offense, defense, special teams, group improvement, then our team understanding how we can avoid setbacks like we had early on,” Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said after the win. “We can list those. The list is very large from the things we did poorly in the first half. But I will never discount this team’s ability to overcome and continue to play, play for each other.”

O’Connell also gave credit to Kirk Cousins.

“How about your quarterback?” O’Connell said. “You cannot win the football game the way we had to go win it without your quarterback playing at an incredibly high level.”

Like everybody on the team,  Cousins got off to a slow start. He completed only six passes for 43 yards in the first half, including a pick-6. The second half and OT were a different story; he completed 28 passes. Cousins finished the game with a season-high 34 completions for a career-high 460 yards and four touchdowns. 

These comebacks are nothing new for Cousins, as he leads the NFL in game-winning drives (7) and fourth-quarter comebacks (7).

“Great to win,” Cousins said. “Great to come back. I had no idea it was the largest in NFL history. Something like that doesn’t happen to average people. I’m proud of the way the group did that. Just got to keep building from here.”

Vikings corner Patrick Peterson told the team at halftime that they needed five touchdowns. Those comments resonated with O’Connell.

“Patrick Peterson, I’ll never forget it as long as I live,” O’Connell said. “I addressed the team before we went back out there. I overheard him walk over towards the offense; We’re going to get stops; you just need five touchdowns. That’s nothing. It was a nice little moment for me to lead right in off of. I said, “Pat, you’re exactly right.” That’s what we needed at the time.”

Peterson said the Vikings are a resilient bunch.

“We are just resilient,” he said. “We are a locker room full of guys that believe in one another. What we have in this locker room is very special. We do not want to waste any moment. We continue to make the best of our opportunities.”

Unfortunately, Colts quarterback Matt Ryan knows what it feels like to blow big leads. Ryan was on the wrong side of history in Super Bowl LI when his Falcons blew a 28-3 lead against the Patriots, which is the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.  

He knows more than anybody that anything can happen in the NFL.

“I’ve played in this league a long time to know that a lot of different things can happen,” Ryan said. “Anything can happen. You just have to keep your head down and keep going and find ways to make plays when they present themselves. It’s not much. It’s a handful of plays in a game. It’s three or four plays from an offensive perspective that we’ve got to find ways to execute, and it’s a win. We just didn’t make them.”

No one should come back from 33-0, but weird things happen in sports, and what happened on Saturday in Minnesota was very unusual.


Vikings WR K.J. Osborn notched his first career 100-yard game with 157 yards on the day. Osborn (1,112) has now reached 1,000 career receiving yards.

Justin Jefferson caught 12 passes for 123 yards and one touchdown. Jefferson (1,623) joins Hall of Fame WR Calvin Johnson and WR Antonio Brown as the only players to record at least 1,600 yards in consecutive seasons. In addition, Jefferson (111) became the fifth player ever to record at least 100 receptions in two of his first three seasons, joining Anquan Boldin, Brandon Marshall, Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas.

Week 14: Chiefs, Vikings, Eagles can clinch playoff sports

As enter Week 14 of the NFL season, three teams have put themselves in a position to clinch a playoff spot. Two of those teams can clinch division titles.

Below are playoff scenarios for Week 14:


KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-3) (at Denver (3-9), Sunday, 4:05 PM ET, CBS)

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:
1)    KC win + LAC loss


MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10-2) (at Detroit (5-7), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Minnesota clinches NFC North division title with:

  1. 1)    MIN win or tie

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (11-1) (at N.Y. Giants (7-4-1), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Philadelphia clinches playoff berth with:

1)    PHI win or tie OR

2)    SF loss + SEA loss

Eagles, Vikings can clinch playoff spots this weekend

We’re getting late in the NFL season, and some teams might be able to punch their tickets to the playoffs. 

The two top teams in the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings, could be in the playoffs at the end of Sunday’s play. The Vikings could clinch the NFC North, while the Eagles can clinch at least a wild-card spot.

Below are the playoff scenarios for the Eagles and Vikings:

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (9-2) (vs. N.Y. Jets (7-4), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Minnesota clinches NFC North division title with:

1) MIN win + DET loss or tie OR

2) MIN tie + DET loss

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-1) (vs. Tennessee (7-4), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Philadelphia clinches playoff berth with:

1) PHI win + WAS loss + SF loss or tie + SEA loss or tie

(as long as both SF and SEA each don’t tie) OR

2) PHI win + WAS tie + SF loss + SEA loss

Vikings acquire Hockenson from Lions

The 6-1 Minnesota Vikings are off to a great start, and before the NFL trade deadline, they added another piece to their roster.

Minnesota traded a second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Detroit Lions in exchange for TE T.J. Hockenson, a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the teams announced Tuesday. 

After placing tight end Irv Smith Jr(ankle) on injured reserve, the Vikings needed a tight end, and Hockenson fits the bill.

Hockenson has 26 receptions for 395 yards, the most receiving yards in his career through the first seven games of a season, and three touchdowns. Among tight ends, the 25-year-old Hockenson is first in yards per receptions, first in yards in a game, and fifth in receiving yards.

In Week 4 vs. Seattle, Hockenson set a career-high with 179 receiving yards (the most by a tight end this season and the most ever by a Lions tight end), including a career-long 81-yard reception, the second-longest play from scrimmage in the NFL this season. In the contest vs. Seattle, Hockenson totaled 109 yards after the catch, the most in a single game in the NFL in 2022 and the most for a tight end since 49ers TE George Kittle had 136 vs. Denver on Dec. 9, 2018.

The fourth-year tight end spent his entire career in Detroit. The eighth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Hockenson has appeared in 47 career games with 42 starts, collecting 2,068 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns on 186 receptions in his career. After a career-high 67 catches for 723 yards and six touchdowns in 2020, Hockenson earned Pro Bowl honors.

Minnesota added Hockenson to an offense with many weapons, including Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook. The Vikings are trying to win now, and adding Hockenson will help.