Purple Rumor Mill: Ezekiel Elliott, Good News for Jaren Hall, a Nwangwu Disadvantage

Jan 8, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) gestures during warmups prior to the Cowboys' game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-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 May 28th 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: Ezekiel Elliott, Good News for Jaren Hall, a Nwangwu Disadvantage

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

Rumor: Some believe the Vikings would be a good fit for Ezekiel Elliott.

Ezekiel Elliott
Jan 22, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs past San Francisco 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (51) during the fourth quarter of an NFC divisional round game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.

This came from a suggestion by Bleacher Report and is unlikely to materialize.

BR’s Kristopher Knox nominated eight players that strangely haven’t signed anywhere yet, and when he got to Elliott, he decided the former Dallas Cowboy would fit nicely on the Vikings roster. Knox also mentioned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a fit.

“Elliott could make sense for the Minnesota Vikings, who appear to be on the verge of parting with star running back Dalvin Cook. The Vikings have “come close” to trading Cook, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. The social-media team also recently replaced Cook with Alexander Mattison in its Twitter banner (h/t Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk),” Knox wrote.

He concluded, “Naturally, Minnesota would clear Cook’s salary from the books before signing a back like Elliott to pair with Mattison.”

Cook is still on the Vikings roster — and they have Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, and DeWayne McBride, too. We don’t buy the Elliott hullabaloo.

Rumor: The NFL approved a rule change, which is good news for Jaren Hall.

The Alluring Factor
Sep 24, 2022; Provo, Utah, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) drops back to pass the ball against the Wyoming Cowboys in the first quarter at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports.

Effective now, a QB3 can be active on regular season gamedays and not use a gameday roster spot. This should be known as ‘The 49ers Rule,’ as San Francisco was victimized by four injured quarterbacks in 2022, canceling their chances of winning the NFC Championship over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Mike Zimmer and Kevin O’Connell versions of Vikings generally carry(ied) two QBs over to the gameday roster. Now, Hall can get exposure as QB3 if Minnesota is in the mood. He doesn’t have to live on the practice squad or be deactivated on Sundays.

Rumor: On the other hand, kick returner Kene Nwangwu could be the odd man out with a kick-returning rule tweak.

Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu (26) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

A decision not loved by everybody, kick returners can now throw their arm in the air and declare a fair catch anywhere (not just the endzone) behind the 25-yardline, and his team’s offense will get the ball on the 25.

But this is optional.

The spirit of the new rule is to diminish player concussions — a noble objective. If the Vikings totally lean into this rule change, yes, Nwangwu’s importance dwindles. He really only returns kicks — what would he do if the Vikings opt for the ball on the 25-yardline every kickoff?

Perhaps teams will ‘risk’ kick returns in the 4th Quarter and whatnot. We shall see.

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce said about the rule change, “I think this is absolutely stupid. I don’t think this is making the game safe. I think it’s making it more boring and taking a lot of excitement out of the game’s opening play. This is whack.”

He’s not a fan. Nwangwu probably doesn’t enjoy it, either.

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.