Purple Rumor Mill: Trey Lance Smoke Is Back, Why Za’Darius Left, Andrew Norwell

Robert Edwards-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 July 29th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Trey Lance Smoke Is Back, Why Za’Darius Left, Andrew Norwell

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: Trey Lance appears buried as the 49ers QB3, so the Vikings should trade for him.

Lance Smoke
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports.

This idea — Lance to the Vikings — was all the craze for a couple of weeks last spring.

The Vikings and 49ers reportedly discussed a Lance trade at the NFL Combine, but the story was later discredited by San Francisco’s leadership, which said there was no trade interest in the quarterback this offseason.

Now, Lance seems headed for a QB3 job behind Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold in The Bay, meaning his talent won’t be used after San Francisco traded the farm for him two years ago.

Lance-to-Minnesota had all but died, but The Viking Age reopened the case this week. TVA’s Adam Patrick wrote, “Minnesota acquiring Lance before the start of the 2023 regular season or by the 2023 trade deadline would allow him to come in without any immediate expectations and learn the offense from the sidelines while Cousins remains the starter.”

Lance’s trade asking price would be at an all-time low right now.

“There haven’t been any recent reports about Minnesota having an interest in trading for Lance, but if he continues to remain in the No. 3 spot on the 49ers’ quarterback depth chart, there’s no reason for the Vikings to not at least make a call to San Francisco about possibly making a deal for the young passer,” Patrick concluded.

Sending a late-round draft pick to San Francisco for Lance is probably worth it but unlikely to materialize.

Rumor: Za’Darius Smith left the Vikings over disgruntlement regarding Ed Donatell.

Smith Be Back
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Sources tell VikingsTerritory that Smith wanted 2022 Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell fired during the season in 2022, but the team obviously didn’t oblige.

Donatell was fired four days after Minnesota’s disappointing playoff loss to the New York Giants.

Ignoring Smith altogether set the tone for his 2023 offseason, and he later tweeted his way out of Minnesota in March. He now plays for the Cleveland Browns, and that’s that.

Rumor: The Vikings should sign Andrew Norwell

Former All-Pro OG Is Available if Vikings Want to Get Richer
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings employ Ed Ingram, Ezra Cleveland, Chris Reed, Alan Ali, and Jack Snyder at offensive guard.

The team should probably have a little more beef than that, and Norwell was released by the Washington Commanders this week. Here’s his Pro Football Focus resume from 2014 to present:

  • 2014: 74.9
  • 2015: 80.1
  • 2016: 77.3
  • 2017: 76.2
  • 2018: 70.5
  • 2019: 65.5
  • 2020: 67.9
  • 2021: 66.7
  • 2022: 59.8

Norwell even made 1st-Team All-Pro in 2017. If the Vikings aren’t interested in free-agent OG Dalton Risner — who has ties to current Vikings offensive line coach Chris Kuper — yes, the club should explore Norwell’s free agency.

The aforementioned Reed also lives on the non-football-injury list at the moment.

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.