Purple Rumor Mill: Barr & Cowboys, Joining Deion Sanders, Flores as an HC

Brace Hemmelgarn-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 December 9th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Barr & Cowboys, Joining Deion Sanders, Flores as an HC

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 Cowboys could steal Anthony Barr from the Vikings’ practice squad.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Barr currently lives on the Vikings’ practice squad, and in theory, any NFL team could steal him if it were willing to add the veteran defender to its active roster.

And according to ex-Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus, Dallas is entertaining precisely that possibility. The Cowboys were recently in the free-agent mix for former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard, but Leonard swerved and joined the hated Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. Dallas evidently still needs linebacking depth, so the working theory suggests it could spitefully add Barr from the Vikings as a diet Leonard plan.

“Name I heard was Anthony Barr. Just reporting what I heard,” Broaddus said Monday.

Barr joined the Vikings’ roster three weeks ago when linebacker Jordan Hicks was injured with compartment syndrome. Vikings fans universally applauded the transaction, but right after Barr arrived, Minnesota hit road bumps with back-to-back losses against the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears.

Another Cowboys podcaster, Bobby Belt, floated the Barr-to-Dallas theory, as well. Belt said on his show about two weeks ago, “Anthony Barr was recently signed to the Vikings practice squad. And he was actually a practice squad elevation, played in the Vikings game last Sunday after they had been dealing with some injury issues at linebacker themselves. But he is on the practice squad.”

Barr played for the Cowboys in 2022.

Of course, to end any Cowboys-themed rumors, the Vikings could sign Barr to the active roster, disqualifying any potential Dallas pilfer. But it remains to be seen if they’ll do that.

Rumor: Former Vikings RT Phil Loadholt is joining Deion Sanders’ coaching staff at the University of Colorado.

Joining Deion
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

BuffZone’s Brian Howell reported this week, “Former NFL lineman Phil Loadholt is coming to Boulder to work with Coach Prime. BuffZone confirmed Wednesday night through multiple sources that Colorado head coach Deion Sanders has hired Loadholt to coach the Buffaloes’ offensive line. The former Oklahoma analyst and Minnesota Vikings starter is replacing Bill O’Boyle, who left this week to coach the linemen at San Diego State.”

Loadholt played for the Vikings — and only the Vikings — in his NFL career from 2009 to 2015. He was Minnesota’s starting right tackle until T.J. Clemmings took over in 2015.

Colorado ranked 80th in the nation per yards gained on offense in 2023, so the program will need all the help it can get in 2024 and beyond. The Buffaloes also placed second worst in the country in sacks allowed to opponents, only ahead of Old Dominion on the list of 130 schools. In that regard, anything Loadholt can do to help will be welcomed.

Rumor: Brian Flores understands the HC chatter about himself but won’t oblige it, for now.

1 Primary Position
Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores chatting with Tatum Everett on February 15th, 2023. The Vikings hired Flores from the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was a linebackers coach for one season.

Flores could become a hot commodity as early as next month when the NFL kicks off its annual coaching carousel. The 42-year-old head coached the Miami Dolphins for three seasons between 2019 and 2021 before a mysterious dismissal after the 2021 campaign.

Now, because Flores has rectified Minnesota’s defense with the snap of two fingers — and because he absolutely deserves another HC gig — the man could take the big job somewhere in about two months.

At the moment, however, he doesn’t care about those opportunities. “My message to our guys yesterday was we’ve got 35 guaranteed days. That’s all we got that’s guaranteed. I asked them to put everything into these 35 days,” Flores told reporters on Wednesday when asked about his 2024 plans.

The New England Patriots may move on from Bill Belichick soon, and Flores spent 15 years in New England. It wouldn’t be weird one bit if he became the Patriots’ next skipper.

“I can’t give that message and not heed that message. My focus is on these guys, this team, these next five games because that’s all we really have. I understand the question, but that’s where my focus is,” Flores added.

The Vikings’ 2024 defense may suffer a major blow if Flores departs.

Flores continued, “All the other stuff, I asked them to block it out, and I’m blocking it out myself because I think you got to lead by example. I know that that’s out there. I’m not blind to any of that.”

“But I’m really focused on the task at hand. Like I said, my message to those guys was: We got five weeks. Let’s put everything into these five weeks and not come out of it with any regrets and saying, ‘Hey, my focus is on this, so it wasn’t on you guys,’” Flores added. “I think these guys work too hard. They’ve put a lot into the season already. I understand the question, but that is really not where I’m at right now.”

Therefore, the coaching carousel speculation won’t stop — it never does at this time on the calendar — but until the Vikings are eliminated, Flores isn’t interested in the what-ifs.

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.