Adam Thielen: Full-Time Receiver & Part-Time Iced Tea Turkey Brine Spokesperson

NFL: Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers
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Admittedly, this wasn’t the story I thought I’d be writing and yet here we are. Credit to the Lipton marketing team for finding a unique angle.

Adam Thielen — the long-time Vikings receiver who is now helping Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers — is taking some time to promote the merits using Lipton’s iced tea as a brine for turkey. Personally, I find that to be a strange choice (not a sin, just odd), but my culinary preferences are neither here nor there. The NFL veteran is leveraging his platform into a chance to pickup some extra cash, so that means extolling the merits of a beverage/poultry crossover.

Adam Thielen Catching Turkey and Iced Tea

Thielen is joined by his wife, Caitlin, in the commercial.

Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8), wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18), and wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) celebrate the win against the New England Patriots after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Adam Thielen stood alongside Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson following their victory over the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving. Each got a chunk of turkey, but Thielen was fairly outspoken about his disdain for how dry the poultry was.

The Lipton ad even splices in a clip from that moment at the very beginning. Caitlin quips that “we all saw on national TV” when Thielen spat the meat out of his mouth.

Aug 12, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) shakes hands with quarterback Bryce Young (9) during the first quarter against the New York Jets at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The written text on Thielen’s Twitter post further plays into the moment: “Don’t get caught spitting out dry turkey on TV like I did last year—brine your turkey with the Official Iced Tea of the NFL, Lipton Iced Tea. Yes, Lipton Iced Tea makes a perfect bird brine so your turkey is juicy and flavorful, and we can all focus on family and football.

Ah, yes, finally something for the common man: a solution to the overwhelming urge to spit dry meat out of one’s mouth while on live TV. Folks, we’ve all been there.

A lot of the commercial involves Mr. Thielen putting his catching prowess to the test. First, it’s several bottles of iced tea (while reminding curious onlookers that they’ll need plenty to pull off the brine). Next up is a box of salt since we’re talking about a brine, not just an iced tea bath. Finally, a raw turkey is thrown by someone off camera; the receiver knows what to do, snatching it out of the air before plopping it into the waiting arms of the massive bowl (vase?) of salted iced tea.

(Thankfully, Thielen doesn’t recreate the famous scene from Friends when Monica wears a raw turkey on her head. This bird is destined for consumption, thank you very much).

2023 Thielen
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) makes a touchdown reception against the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

To conclude, there’s even an affirmation of how great the turkey tastes before everything gets washed down with a pair of iced teas.

Strange commercials aside, Adam Thielen is still a legend in Minnesota, a reality that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. The Vikings are a team with a long history of sensational play at wide receiver and yet the UDFA finds his name in a very prominent position. Thielen is 4th in all-time receiving yards, 3rd in touchdowns (receiving), and 3rd in catches.

In his first season as a Panther, Adam Thielen has been doing some good things. He currently sits at 68 receptions, 652 yards, and 4 TDs across his nine games. Continuing at his current pace will mean he exceeds 100 receptions and 1,000 yards, notable benchmarks for any receiver.

In August, Thielen turned 33. He’s playing on the first year of a 3-year, $25 million deal.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.