Purple Rumor Mill: A Thielen Repeat, Dalvin ‘Open to a Fresh Start,’ ‘No Plan at QB’
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 May 21st 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.
Purple Rumor Mill: A Thielen Repeat, Dalvin’ Open to a Fresh Start,’ ‘No Plan at QB’
Here’s the second batch of the week. Yesterday’s can be read here.
Rumor: The Vikings added a hometowner on offense eerily similar to Adam Thielen.
His origins are like Thielen’s, but on the field, he’s close to a Jim Kleinsasser redux.
His name is Zach Ojile, and he made the Vikings 90-man roster this week after a tryout. The FB-TE has a long way to go in making the regular season roster — he probably won’t — but the story is fun, especially after Thielen just left in March.
The University of Minnesota Duluth alumnus played four seasons collegiately and tallied 61 catches for 702 yards and 10 touchdowns in 40 games. Ojile also rushed 87 times for 418 yards and 14 TDs, playing some running back for the Bulldogs.
C.J. Ham — another wholesome story — stands in Ojile’s way for playing time, but perhaps the newcomer can make the practice squad.
Rumor: Dalvin Cook loves the Vikings but is open to a fresh start elsewhere.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said this week, “Cook’s future in Minnesota appears up in the air right now. The Vikings, for now, have been willing to hold on to his $14 million cap hit, but once June 1 hits, they can save $9 million on the cap if they do release him. Now, I know Cook is training in South Florida right now. He’s been cleared off that torn labrum surgery to start to do some running and explosive work.”
“He loves Minnesota, but if they do move on, he’s open to a fresh start. Miami could be one to watch. He’s from Miami. They were linked to Dalvin Cook once upon a time in the offseason,” Fowler concluded.
The Vikings can save between $9 and $11 million via cutting or trading Cook after June 1st, and that feels like a likely outcome. The depth chart already hosts Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, rookie DeWayne McBride, and Kene Nwangwu for running backs not named Cook in 2023.
A split is likely, although, yes, it sounds like Cook still loves the Vikings.
Rumor: Minnesota has ‘no plan’ at quarterback after 2023.
Kirk Cousins is under contract until the end of the 2023 season and is scheduled to hit free agency next March. He can re-up with the Vikings, bring every talker to fruition by joining the San Francisco 49ers, or find another club.
Recently, ESPN’s Dan Graziano posed this question to himself — How much longer for Kirk Cousins in Minnesota? And what’s next for the Vikings? — and then answered it.
“For the first time since he got to Minnesota, the Vikings don’t have any contractual mechanism that binds them to Cousins beyond the current season. His contract voids after this season, and they’ll carry a $28.5 million dead-money cap hit for him in 2024 no matter what. So, depending on what happens this year, the Vikings could re-sign Cousins, or they could move on from him. Their options are open,” Graziano wrote.
He continued, “Cousins will be 35 when the season starts, so there’s no reason to think this will be his final year playing football. The Vikings don’t have a young guy on the roster screaming for a chance, the way the Packers did. Minnesota’s current GM and coaching staff inherited Cousins from their predecessors, so questions about whether he’s really ‘their guy’ are understandable.”
The Vikings drafted QB Jaren Hall from BYU in Round 5 last month.
“Just don’t assume this is his final year in Minnesota. There is no post-Cousins plan in place for the Vikings, and depending on the way this season goes,” Graziano finished.
Yes, if the Vikings don’t extend Cousins’ contract after 2023, there is no QB1 contingency plan outside of the 25-year-old Hall.
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 Viking obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).
All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.
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