Purple Rumor Mill: Clearing the Books by $10M, Udoh’s Replacement, Will Risner Happen?

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell

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 September 17th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Clearing the Books by $10M, Udoh’s Replacement, Will Risner Happen?

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 second batch of the week. Yesterday’s can be read here.

Rumor: The Vikings restructured Brian O’Neill’s contract, clearing cap space for a free-agent signing on the way.

Overhauled Teams
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Indeed, the Vikings now own the fourth-most available cap space in the NFL after restructuring O’Neill’s deal, freeing up about $10 million. The total cap space as of September 15th was around $12 million.

But the O’Neill money wiggle occurred eight days ago when the Vikings felt close to Justin Jefferson’s contract extension. That money likely would’ve been used to pay for Jefferson’s signing bonus.

While the Vikings could still sign a free agent or trade for a player before the NFL’s deadline, the money wasn’t cleared for an imminent new-player move. The front office thought it was nearing closure of Jefferson’s long-term deal, according to sources.

Rumor: The Vikings will sign an offensive tackle to replace Oli Udoh, who was lost for the season to a torn quad.

Clearing the Books
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Right after Minnesota trimmed the roster to 53 players a few weeks ago, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah signed offensive tackles David Quessenberry, who saw action Thursday night when Udoh was injured, and Hakeen Adeniji, who currently lives on the practice squad.

Udoh’s season-ending injury “won’t matter” too much if Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill stay healthy. And if they’re nipped by the injury bug, the Vikings will turn to Quessenberry, Adeniji, and perhaps OG Blake Brandel, who played OT last season.

The Vikings planned for this and probably don’t need more OTs.

Rumor: Dalton Risner will eventually join the Vikings roster.

Other Free Agents
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Risner responded to Vikings fans’ requests for a contract signing last weekend, seeming to be all-in if his telephone rings. Have a look, and yes, these are from Risner’s X app account on Sunday:

Risner was coworkers with current Vikings offensive line coach Chris Kuper in Denver for three years, so the relationship angle is already evident. The Broncos drafted Risner in the 2nd Round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and the man was linked to the Vikings via the draft lead-up process. Now, four years later, there’s a practical path to bring him aboard as a free agent.

But no deal has materialized yet, and aside from Risner’s apparent desire to join the Vikings, it’s really just crickets regarding the Vikings interest.

Risner could still sign with the Vikings, but they probably would’ve done it by now.

It’s also weird, in general, that no team has plucked the veteran lineman from free agency.

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.