Purple Rumor Mill: Christian Watson Better than Justin Jefferson, Cook + D-Hop, Hunter Update

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) celebrates scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears during their football game Sunday, December 4, at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. © Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK

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 June 24th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Christian Watson Better than Justin Jefferson, Cook + D-Hop, Hunter Update

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: Packers WR Christian Watson has a higher ceiling than Justin Jefferson.

Christian Watson
Dec 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland (8) attempts to tackle Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

You could tell it was the slow season on the June NFL calendar when they came up with this one.

Bruce Irons from Packers For the Win unveiled this nugget for the masses on Tuesday, “Christian Watson has a higher ceiling than Justin Jefferson.”

And he followed up the statement with this rationale:

This declaration appeared to be unprompted, so he ‘didn’t have to do this.’ But he did, and the tweet will live until Irons deletes it.

Packers fans are evidently excited about Watson’s potential — he truly blossomed in the middle and end of 2022, his rookie season — but we have no idea why someone would publish this on the internet with a straight face.

It’s as bold and zany as it gets.

Rumor: Dalvin Cook and DeAndre Hopkins could join forces via free agency on some NFL team.

Dec 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) reacts to a penalty against the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic.

Dalvin Cook and DeAndre Hopkins are free agents, released two weeks apart late in the offseason.

Cook said this week about the prospect of playing alongside Hopkins, “If we end up on the same roster, that would be something epic for the NFL.”

The ex-Viking also mentioned to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “The money is going to come, and that’s going to happen. But like as far as going to lift that Super Bowl trophy up, he (Hopkins) has the same mindset as me.”

The two would presumably seek a Super Bowl-contending team with ample cap space — that also needs an RB1 and WR1-WR2. Perhaps the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, or New York Jets could fit some of that criteria, but it’s a longshot.

Schefter joined The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday after the Cook interview and dumped cold water on the prospect of a Cook-Hopkins duo, “Cook was like, ‘I’d love to play with him. It would be epic.’ Now, do I think that’s going to happen? Ultimately, probably not.”

“But it’s not out of the question. It’s just a question of whether a team would be willing to pay both. Whether each guy might be willing to take a little bit less to be together. Again, not a likely scenario, but not out of the question,” Schefter told McAfee.

This is a neat idea but unlikely to materialize.

Rumor: The longer the Vikings wait to extend Hunter, the more likely a trade will occur.

One Viking Totally
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) following the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

The latest in the Danielle Hunter saga is a mixed bag, as some believe the silence regarding his situation is telling and that a trade is probable. Others maintain the Vikings simply can’t afford to let the best defender walk and improve a naughty defense at the same time.

KSTP’s Darren Wolfson spoke on the Hunter hoopla Sunday night and hinted a trade could be on the docket, “The Vikings have tried to extend him here or at least take care of him. They know he can’t play at $5 million. They’ve been trying to raise the base salary.”

Wolfson continued, “What is the happy medium? How much money is he seeking? How far are the Vikings willing to go? The longer this thing goes — this thing is pointing toward a trade at this point.”

Fast forward to the Vikings.com weekly mailbag, and senior editor Craig Peters opined about Hunter, “The defense is changing again this year under new Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores. I’m sure Flores would like to design some things to maximize what Hunter has shown he can do as an elite edge rusher.”

Hunter remaining a Viking is truly a coinflip. We still believe he’ll net the extension because we just can’t quite understand how a team could finish 30th in points allowed last year, seek improvement the year after (now) — and then trade the two best pass rushers as a part of the strategy.

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.