Vikings take care of Thielen with extension
New deal will be worth at least $64 million
MINNEAPOLIS – After posting numbers that made him one of the NFL’s most productive wide receivers the past two seasons, Adam Thielen is about to become one of the league’s richest.
The wide receiver has agreed with the Vikings on a four-year contract extension worth at least $64 million, his agency announced on Friday. Thielen’s new deal, which could be worth up to $73 million, keeps the wide receiver under contract through the 2024 season while resolving questions about his immediate future before the Vikings begin offseason workouts on Monday.
The Vikings signed Thielen to a four-year extension in March 2017, after he caught 69 passes for 967 yards while heading into restricted free agency. Thielen quickly outplayed the four-year deal, however, boosting its value by $4.1 million in its first two years by triggering incentives and base salary escalators after a pair of Pro Bowl seasons.
He finished fourth in the NFL with 113 catches last season, posting 1,373 yards and tying Charlie Hennigan’s NFL record by starting the season with eight consecutive 100-yard games.
Thielen’s unlikely rise to stardom – by way of a $500 scholarship to Minnesota State and a rookie camp tryout with the Vikings – has become a well-worn tale by now, making him perhaps the state’s most popular athlete in the process.
Though Thielen’s existing deal – which made him the NFL’s 30thhighest paid receiver, in terms of average annual value – ran through the 2020 season, it had become obvious the receiver was due for a raise. The Vikings took care of the 28-year-old, with a deal that was also expected to lower Thielen’s salary cap figure (which had been $8.1 million) for the 2019 season and provide the team some much-needed breathing room.
Hogan lands with Panthers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Wide receiver Chris Hogan was given the nickname “7-eleven” at Miami Dolphins training camp in 2012 by his teammate at the time, running back Reggie Bush.
Why “7-eleven”? Because he was always open.
Signed Friday by Carolina to a one-year deal, Hogan wants to show he’s “open” in a different way, too – open to any type of receiving position offensive coordinator Norv Turner has in mind, that is.
“(D.J. Moore, Christian McCaffrey and Cam Newton), those three guys are a bunch of playmakers,” Hogan said. “I think this team has a lot of weapons on the field at all times ... Any new system, new team that I come into, my expectations for myself are really just to come in, take advantage of the opportunity that I have been given and any opportunities I’m given on the field, work as hard as I can.”
Prior to his last three years in New England, Hogan played three seasons for Buffalo (2013-15), where he had 87 catches for 959 yards and six touchdowns. He was used in a variety of receiving positions, and played special teams.
This spring was Hogan’s first time as an unrestricted free agent, and he admitted the experience at times was a bit perplexing.
“We didn’t think it was going to last as long as it did,” he said, laughing. “But I enjoyed my family time, and time spent with the kids has always been nice.
“When I had the opportunity to come down here and sign with Carolina, I was just really excited about the opportunity.”
In Carolina, Hogan will likely get most of his snaps as an outside receiver, complementing the versatility and rotation of second-year receiver Moore and third-year receiver Curtis Samuel, and getting looks as a middle-to-deep range threat.
Hogan averaged 15.3 yards per catch during his years in New England and tied with Desean Jackson in 2016 for the league lead in yards per catch with 17.9.
Packers great Gregg dies
Green Bay Packers great Forrest Gregg died on Friday at the age of 85, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced.
Gregg, a favorite of legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi, was a standout offensive tackle during Green Bay’s dynasty in the 1960s. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.
Despite being undersized, Gregg played in 188 consecutive games between 1956 and 1971, winning five championships with the Packers along the way.
He spent his final season in Dallas, winning his sixth title in Super Bowl VI.
Gregg went into coaching after his playing days ended, guiding the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Packers over 11 seasons.
Minnesota’s Adam Thielen has turned into one of the top receivers in the NFL. He had 113 catches in 2018.