There’s no better rags-to-riches tale in Minnesota sports. The kid from Detroit Lakes goes undrafted out of Minnesota State, then makes the Vikings as a practice squad scrub. Through hard work and sheer force of will, he becomes one of the best receivers in the NFL. This is the story of Adam Thielen. Yet hometown-boy-made-good is only part of the tale. Thielen also sets the gold standard for the working life at any job. He runs exquisite routes, the kind only perfected through relentless practice and attention to detail. And he’s arguably developed the best hands in the game, allowing him to overcome the lack of lights-out speed or 6-foot-5 frame preferred by general managers. Yes, Thielen is Minnesota’s feel-good story. But the best part is that he earned every last bit of it.
Readers’ Choice: Adam Thielen