Source: Vikings Looking into Veteran Offensive Lineman

Dalton Risner of the Denver Broncos walks the red carpet before the NFL Honors awards special at the Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. © Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The 2023 Minnesota Vikings will probably showcase total offensive line continuity for the first time in a decade, but consider this a portent to the alternative.

A source tells VikingsTerritory that Minnesota is ‘taking a look’ at veteran guard Dalton Risner, formerly of the Denver Broncos.

Source: Vikings Looking into Veteran Offensive Lineman

Risner was the 41st overall pick (2nd Round) in the 2019 NFL Draft, evidently wasn’t a priority to re-sign for the Sean Payton-led Broncos, and now lives on the free-agent wire, at least for a while.

Looking into Veteran
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

As of May 22nd, the Vikings have about $9.5 million in cap space, which could balloon to $20 million if running back Dalvin Cook is traded after June 1st, a popular theory in Vikings-themed circles. And ‘this late’ in the free agency period, Risner likely wouldn’t break the bank for Minnesota — or any team.

Why would the Vikings sign an offensive guard, as they seem pretty well set in the trenches? Simple — improvement and depth. Left guard Ezra Cleveland’s contract expires at the end of the 2023 season. It is unclear if Minnesota is dying to have him back beyond a rookie deal. On the right side at guard, Ed Ingram fired up a topsy-turvy rookie season, succumbing to gaffes and poor performance early in the season before starting to right the ship down the stretch.

Other Free Agents
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Adding Risner, in theory, could be the Vikings solution for life after Cleveland or, to be blunt, put a better guard than Ingram on the field. Right now, Risner is a more productive football player than Ingram, and if the Vikings want to win now, the veteran could be a wiser bet than the second-year Ingram.

Risner is an offensive guard commodity that Vikings fans aren’t used to — he protects against the pass better than the run. For years, Vikings football has showcased the inverse. Perhaps the Vikings can, alas, end the Zimmerian mindset of run-over-pass offensive linemen in terms of skillset emphasis and enter a free-agent relationship with the ex-Bronco.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Here’s his Pro Football Focus resume since turning pro four years ago:

  • 2019 = 64.4
  • 2020 = 61.3
  • 2021 = 68.5
  • 2022 = 61.1

And the pass blocking versus run-blocking splits (red = pass | blue = run):

  • 2019 = 69.8 (P) | 60.3 (R)
  • 2020 = 61.3 (P) | 53.7 (R)
  • 2021 = 68.5 (P) | 63.2 (R)
  • 2022 = 61.1 (P) | 53.4 (R)
Top 5 Offensive FAs
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Risner should be attainable for $6 to $9 million per year. The 6’5″ 310-pounder is also incredibly durable, playing 62 games in his career — starting all 62 — and missing only four contests in four years. He played 94% of all eligible games in Denver.

The 27-year-old was teammates with former Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley at Kansas State.

For curious minds, Risner typically played left guard in Denver.


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.