Per Pro Football Talk, Thielen had been set to have a $16.8 million cap hit this year, and the restructure will “likely bring that number down significantly.”
NFL insider Tom Pelissero subsequently added additional context to the restructure.
The 31-year-old signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in May 2013 and has racked up 464 receptions for 5,966 yards and 49 touchdowns in 118 career regular-season games. Thielen didn’t miss a game from 2014 to 2018, but has been limited to 10, 15 and 13 contests over the last three years.
After seeing limited targets in 2014 and 2015, the Detroit Lakes, Minnesota native and Minnesota St. product, Thielen went for 69 catches, 967 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 201 before making back-to-back Pro Bowl rosters in 2017 and 2018. His best season came in 2018 when he produced career highs in targets (153), receptions (113) and receiving yards (1,373), among other categories, while scoring nine receiving touchdowns as well.
While he hasn’t surpassed 75 receptions or 1,000 receiving yards since 2018, Thielen has become one of the game’s biggest red-zone weapons in the last two years, scoring a career-high 14 touchdowns in 2020 and providing 10 more last season.