Purple Rumor Mill: Brakes Pumped on Hunter, Davenport’s Ankle, K.J. Osborn and Texans?

Hunter Is a Litmus
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 October 21st edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Brakes Pumped on Hunter, Davenport’s Ankle, K.J. Osborn and Texans?

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.

Here’s the first batch of the week.

Rumor: The Vikings are not interested in trading Danielle Hunter, even if the NFL masses suggest so daily.

Brakes Pumped on Hunter
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter leads the NFL in sacks and tackles for loss through Week 6 and has served as Minnesota’s most consistent defensive piece amid a six-game span when Brian Flores’ new defense has matured on the fly. Meanwhile, the Vikings also placed Hunter’s pass-rushing teammate Marcus Davenport on injured reserve this week, making a Hunter trade even less likely.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowled noted this week about the Hunter trade sweepstakes, “Here’s my understanding on Minnesota and Hunter: The Vikings gauged trade interest in the offseason when they didn’t have a new deal, as a contingency if they couldn’t re-sign him. Lately, they have not been exploring a trade for Hunter, despite some external interest. And there’s a sentiment in the building that Hunter, who leads the league in sacks, is valuable for a team that isn’t out of it yet.”

On the whole, a Hunter trade is unlikely.

“So, the sense is it would take a sizable deal to pry him. One league exec who’s very high on Hunter said he’s not in position to give up a first-rounder for him, suggesting that might be what it would require. Jacksonville was linked to Hunter in the preseason, though that was before pass-rusher Josh Allen decided to have a career year with seven sacks in his first six games,” Fowler added about Hunter’s trade feasibility.

It’s probably a likelier outcome for Hunter to sign an extension in March than to experience a trade in the next 11 days.

Rumor: Marcus Davenport may need surgery for a high ankle sprain, signaling a longer absence than four games.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Davenport injured his ankle last Sunday at Soldier Field — not the ankle that hampered him to start the season; that was the other ankle — in the Vikings 19-13 dogfight win over the Chicago Bears.

Three days later, Minnesota placed Davenport on IR, and that was that — until Thursday. Speaking to media members, head coach Kevin O’Connell hinted at a longer absence if Davenport requires surgery on the ankle.

“I think he’s still getting some opinions. High ankle sprain, kind of the severity of it sometimes can require a procedure, but I don’t have that information right now,” O’Connell said Thursday.

“We’ll get that timeline when we figure out what’s best for him,” O’Connell added about Davenport’s injury status.

High-ankle sprains typically take 4-6 weeks to heal in sports, so fans should expect a Davenport determination to occur closer to Thanksgiving. Surgery for Davenport’s injury is somewhat rare but is evidently on the table, according to the Vikings skipper.

Rumor: K.J. Osborn is in the trade rumor mill, and the Houston Texans could be a fit.

K.J. Osborn Does It Again
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

For about a month, Osborn was on tap for uncontested WR2 duty in March and April, but then Minnesota selected Addison in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, totally changing Osborn’s 2023-and-beyond trajectory with the Vikings.

Seven months later, he’s the subject of trade rumors.

He’s the Vikings WR2 in title and WR3 per workload, and some believe he could shipped elsewhere in the next week and a half. KSTP’s Darren Wolfson said this week about a possible Osborn deal on SKOR North’s Mackey & Judd Show, “We knew the second Jordan Addison was drafted that K.J. Osborn wasn’t coming back, that this is the final year for K.J. Osborn here in Minnesota. Go make that move — if it’s for a four, three, a five. To me, that is very logical.”

The Athletic also nominated Osborn as a Vikings trade component. Alec Lewis explained, “He has multiple qualities that teams covet, and he can become a free agent at the end of the season. Osborn is dynamic after the catch. Among the 28 receivers this season who have run 200 routes, only three average more yards after the catch than Osborn: D.J. Moore, Ja’Marr Chase and A.J. Brown.”

“Additionally, Osborn is a willing blocker whom Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell has used as a quasi-tight end in the run game. Then, there’s the contract situation. Free agency looms for the 26-year-old, which is part of the reason the team drafted Jordan Addison in the first round last spring,” Lewis added about Osborn’s trade stock.

And the Texans were named a potential landing spot for Osborn.

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.