Purple Rumor Mill: Vikings Secret Superstar, Anthony Barr’s DAL Flirtation, Moss’ Record

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Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) and defensive back Parry Nickerson (39) and cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) and safety Harrison Smith. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory‘s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the July 31st edition.

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Rumor: The Vikings have a ‘secret superstar’ in Cameron Dantzler.

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Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

This one is courtesy of Pro Football Focus. PFF‘s Sam Monson nominated a “secret superstar” from each NFL team. For the Vikings, that is Dantzler.

Opinion on Dantzler is split among Vikings fans, with some believing he’ll be a Pro Bowl-caliber long-term starter. His numbers — from Next Gen stats to PFF grades — indicate, indeed, Dantzler is on track to excel in the NFL.

However, his weird stint in Mike Zimmer’s doghouse last year cooled off his reputation. Why would Zimmer stubbornly cling to Bashaud Breeland, who wasn’t a good cornerback in 2021, while the young, upside-laden Dantzler wasted away on the bench? There was no good reason for it, at least not one made public by Zimmer, the Vikings, or Dantzler.

Regardless, monitoring the depth chart heading into Week 1 of the 2022 season should be an apropos signal about Dantzler’s future. Can he stave off rookie Andrew Booth and veteran Patrick Peterson to keep his job? If so, the PFF prediction is on the right track.

Rumor: Anthony Barr will eventually sign with the Dallas Cowboys.

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Sep 15, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This rumor is crazy on-again-off-again. And it has been that way for about three months.

Earlier this week, Calvin Watkins noted that Dallas had “no plans to sign” Barr despite months-long interest.

A few days later, another Cowboys reporter, Clarence E. Hill, seemingly reversed the Watkins announcement by writing, “And although they opened training camp without making a move on Barr, vice president Stephen Jones said the four-time Pro Bowler remains a viable option.”

Dallas’ front office and coaching staff want to see what they already have with the existing linebacking corps. If that is lackluster at training camp, perhaps Jerry Jones will make the call to Barr.

Stay tuned.

Rumor: Justin Jefferson didn’t care about Randy Moss’ single-season Vikings record on the line last year in Week 18.

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Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports.

Remember when fans flipped out about Mike Zimmer not “stepping on it” in Week 18 for Justin Jefferson to break Randy Moss’ single-season receiving yards mark for the Vikings? Well, it turns out that Jefferson didn’t really care. Either that or he’s fibbing now.

Jefferson told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press this week about failing to break Moss’ record, “I wasn’t even too much worrying about it then. It is what it is. At the end of the day, I was just going to break it the next year.”

Zimmer no longer works for the Vikings, but it’s fair to point out that hubbub over playcalling in Week 18 versus the Bears was manufactured — and evidently not bothersome to Jefferson.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).