Purple Rumor Mill: Adam Thielen’s Desire, Dalvin Cook in 2023, a Free Agent Landing Spot

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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 February 11th 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: Adam Thielen’s Desire, Dalvin Cook in 2023, a Free Agent Landing Spot

Here’s the first batch of the week.

Rumor: Adam Thielen wants to retire with the Vikings.

Dalvin Cook in 2023
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Thielen said on ESPN’s First Take Thursday, “I want to retire a Viking. Will that happen? I don’t know. This is also a business. And I also want my opportunity to show that I can play at a high level. So, we’ll see what happens.”

He also said later in the day that his camp and the Vikings are “in the middle of” contract talks.

Here’s the deal: of course, Thielen wants to retire with the Vikings. But he probably wants to do so with his current contract, likely scoffing at any notion of paycuts because, well, why would he take a paycut? Would you want to take one at your job? Don’t lie.

It’s important that he has the desire to finish in Minnesota, but general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah must agree. That’s the kicker. We believe this one is firmly a 50-50 coinflip.

Rumor: Dalvin Cook is not interested in taking a paycut.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Darren Wolfson said on SKOR North this week, “I had a conversation this morning that leads me to believe that Dalvin is not inclined to take a pay cut.”

And this is the same deal as Thielen — why would Cook voluntarily accept less money when he just broke off 1,173 rushing yards and 10 total touchdowns? It seems like lunacy when you read stats like that.

Adofo-Mensah is a “value-oriented” and analytics-focused NFL executive, and those types tend not to prefer paying running backs the big bucks. Couple that with the idea Kevin O’Connell won a Super Bowl in Los Angeles with a running-back-by-committee setup, and it doesn’t seem like Minnesota will pay RBs fat contracts for the foreseeable future.

We believe Cook will leave the team.

Rumor: The Vikings are suddenly a prime free-agent landing spot on defense because of Brian Flores.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports.

This one switched in a hurry.

The Vikings limped by on defense in 2022, aided substantially by turnovers but generally struggling with yards and points allowed. When Minnesota’s defense didn’t force turnovers, it flatly was not good.

But now Flores is in the saddle as defensive bossman, and his name alone should draw free agents to the conversation table whereas Ed Donatell may not have.

Keep an eye on former “Flores guys” like Jonathan Jones (NE, CB), Cameron Sutton (PIT, CB), Devin Bush (PIT, LB), Nik Needham (MIA, CB), and Larry Ogunjobi (PIT, DE) in 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 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.