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Podcast 166: Adam Thielen on Journey from Overlooked Division II Athlete to NFL All-Pro

March 30, 2022

Wide receiver Adam Thielen joins the WHOOP Podcast to talk about taking advantage of every small opportunity on his unlikely path to NFL stardom.

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Adam Thielen was a 4-sport star in high school, but didn’t get any interest from major college programs. He was offered a $500 football scholarship from Division II Minnesota State. It wasn’t even enough to cover books, but he took the scholarship anyway and became a standout player.

Still, Adam went mostly unnoticed. He wasn’t picked in the NFL draft, but his hometown Vikings offered him a spot at a rookie camp. Adam defied the odds, working his way onto the roster in a special teams role. Nine years later, he is an All-Pro receiver and is one of the most recognizable players in the NFL.

Adam discusses the mental side of performance and how he took advantage of every small opportunity he was given along the way, what he’s learned about injury prevention, and his approach to recovery. He explains what he’s discovered from WHOOP and also shares his definition of talent and why he thinks it goes far beyond physical ability.


Adam Thielen Podcast Episode Chapters:

2:32 – The dream to play sports.

5:16 – Picking the football path.

6:36 – “Good delusion” and pursuing football professionally.

9:51 – Mental side of performance.

13:55 – Proving yourself.

17:36 – Mindset.

21:28 – Injury prevention and overcoming setbacks.

25:17 – Preparing for Sunday.

27:36 – Using WHOOP.

33:43 – Importance of sleep.

34:51 – Defining talent and its many types.


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