Purple Rumor Mill: Justin Jefferson’s Return, Kirk Cousins Update, KOC for 20 Years?

Justin Jefferson Extension
Brad Rempel-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 November 11th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Justin Jefferson’s Return, Kirk Cousins Update, KOC for 20 Years?

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: Justin Jefferson has been cleared to return but likely won’t play in Week 10.

koc for 20 years
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The good news regarding Minnesota Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson? He’s considered day-to-day recovering from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him since Week 6. The bad news? He likely won’t play this weekend against the New Orleans Saints.

“It’s a day-to-day. You can’t really put a date on it at this very moment,” Jefferson told reporters Thursday.

Jefferson is officially listed as questionable on the final Week 10 injury report, so Vikings fans should expect to have the “will he or won’t he?” discussion regarding Jefferson all next week, too.

He continued, “The training staff has been doing a phenomenal job with me. Making sure I’m feeling good. Making sure I’m getting the work that I need done, and the rehab and the treatment that I need […] I don’t want to go out there 80, 90 percent and have the chance of hurting it again. It’s day to day, like I said, and when that time comes, I’ll definitely be ready to step out on that field.”

Head coach Kevin O’Connell said Wednesday that it would be “aggressive” to think Jefferson would play versus the Saints. Jefferson’s return is likely a Denver thing.

Rumor: Kirk Cousins is eyeing a May 2024 return date from his ruptured Achilles.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Kirk Cousins was lost for the season at Lambeau Field in Week 8 to a torn Achilles and isn’t coming back in 2023. The Vikings will finish the 2023 campaign with some combination of Josh Dobbs, Jaren Hall, Nick Mullens, and Sean Mannion at quarterback.

And if Cousins re-signs in Minnesota — he’s a free agent in a few months — his soft timetable to return is around May 2024.

“Talking with Kirk, the way his mind works, he’s so process-oriented and so intentional, he’s talking about being back at OTAs and doing all the different things, where his schedule is going to be. That’s how his mind works,” Adofo-Mensah told reporters.

Get ready for KirkContractMania to engulf all things Vikings-related in a few months. It’s comin’.

Rumor: Former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum believes Kevin O’Connell could coach the Vikings for 20 years.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell has an 18-8 (.692) record since arriving in Minneapolis 21 months ago. The organization appears to have nailed the hire after cutting ties with Mike Zimmer following the 2021 season.

With the Vikings sudden turnaround, folks are noticing O’Connell’s role in righting the ship, too. This week, former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum sang O’Connell’s praises to high heavens via ESPN, “Minnesota has a superstar for the next 20 years.”

That superstar is O’Connell, at age 38, shining for 20 years, per Tannenbaum; it wouldn’t be totally unheard of considering O’Connell’s youth.

“They’re lucky to have him. He’s only going to get better and better. I think he has a chance to be really special. People will say he’s a McVay guy with a really good scheme. Kevin has a million more attributes to add to a program than scheme. He has relatability. He is a good listener. He has a really good demeanor,” Tannenbaum added.

Doesn’t get much better than that for head coach praise.


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.

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