Dalton Risner’s Postgame Comment Was Ultra-Revealing

Starting OG
Former Denver Broncos offensive guard Dalton Risner on Monday Night Football during his first start with the Minnesota Vikings. U.S. Bank Stadium, October 23rd, 2023. Risner started for an injured Ezra Cleveland.

The Minnesota Vikings knocked off the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football in Week 7, situating the purple team with a 3-4 record and 56% odds of reaching the postseason.

Dalton Risner’s Postgame Comment Was Ultra-Revealing

Minnesota was a seven-point underdog for the event, its largest home underdog status in the history of U.S. Bank Stadium. But the point spread ultimately didn’t matter, as the Vikings scored the upset and fundamentally turned their season around, at least for a week.

Meanwhile, free-agent newcomer Dalton Risner recorded his first start as a Vikings, filling in for left guard Ezra Cleveland, who was on the shelf with a foot injury. It was Risner’s first start since January in Denver, and he made the most of it, with no sacks allowed and a 65.0 Pro Football Focus grade.

Postgame Comment
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

After the game, visibly emotional, Risner talked about his team’s triumph over the high-flying 49ers, pointing out that this brand of Vikings doesn’t feel like a 2-4 team.

“I love this locker room. I love these guys. I said last week that this didn’t feel like a 2-4 team. And I’ve been on 2-4 teams for four years. This doesn’t feel like a 2-4 team. We just went and beat one of the better teams in the NFL tonight. Just feels really good, so I have a lot of emotions,” Risner told KSTP‘s Darren Wolfson.

Dalton Risner of the Denver Broncos walks the red carpet before the NFL Honors awards special at the Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. © Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Here’s what Risner means about the Denver days since he joined the league in 2019:

Denver Broncos,
thru Week 6,

2019 Broncos: 2-4
2020 Broncos: 2-4
2021 Broncos: 3-3
2022 Broncos: 2-4

Indeed, the Vikings mimicked the Broncos output from the last four seasons, so Risner probably felt like the standings were a twilight zone. But not emotionally.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

“Monday Night Football, getting showered with love by Brian O’Neill, Garrett Bradbury, Ezra Cleveland, and Ed Ingram, and Christian Darrisaw, and Kirk Cousins, and these guys, man — it was just the perfect night,” Risner continued.

He then spoke about not knowing if he’d play football again in the last few months. Risner’s free agency was surprisingly quiet, and the Vikings didn’t take the plunge until a little over a month ago. He wondered if his last start in Denver was the final of his career.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Risner concluded, “Justin Pugh said he was straight off the couch when he was playing for the Giants, and same with me, bro. Not straight off the couch, straight out of the training room, straight out of the weight room.”

Now, Risner awaits his fate on the Vikings starting offensive line. Cleveland shouldn’t be injured for too long and has played wonderfully this season. Risner could reasonably return to the bench, even if his starter’s pedigree showed on MNF.

And for a Vikings offensive line that has encountered treachery for a decade, it feels a little weird to have too much of a good thing.

Here’s the full Risner interview:

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.