The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious awards an NFL player can win. It recognizes players that have done exceptional work in their community on top of the feats they accomplish on the football field. Each NFL franchise nominates one player from their teams, fielding 32 nominees.
For the 2022 season, the Minnesota Vikings have nominated WR Adam Thielen for the award. The star wide receiver is a well deserving nominee for the award given all the work that the Thielen Foundation has done over the years with schools, football camps, and children’s hospitals. The link above is to the website where you can learn more about the Vikings wide receiver’s foundation.
Since its origin in 2018, the foundation has donated more than $2.5 million to local organizations, and Thielen pledged another $1 million this fall to nonprofit organizations including:
- V3 Sports
- Nexus-Gerard Family Healing
- Children’s Minnesota Hospital
- Urban Ventures
- Second Harvest Heartland/Minnesota Central Kitchen
- The Salvation Army, Twin Cities
- Masonic Children’s Hospital
- Northside Achievement Zone
By now, everyone has heard Thielen’s story of growing up in Minnesota, playing college football at Minnesota State-Mankato, going undrafted, and eventually becoming a Pro Bowler with his hometown Vikings. These accomplishments by themselves are impressive enough, but Thielen’s dedication to Minnesota communities is even more impressive than anything accomplished on the football field.
For the rest of the season, we’ll see Thielen wearing a special helmet decal in recognition of his nomination for the award. All nominees also receive a $40,000 donation to the charity of their choice, and the winner will receive a $250,000 donation. The WPMOY winner will be announced on the Thursday prior to the Super Bowl during the NFL Honors.
In franchise history, two Vikings players have won this prestigious award. The first was Cris Carter in 1999, and then Madieu Williams also won in 2010. We’ll see if Adam Thielen becomes the third Minnesota Vikings player to win the award in 2022.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.