Purple Rumor Mill: Robert Woods as WR2, Danielle Hunter’s Future, Cameron Sutton

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 February 25th 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: Robert Woods as WR2, Danielle Hunter’s Future, Cameron Sutton

Here’s the first batch of the week.

Rumor: The Titans released Robert Woods, and the Vikings might be interested in a free-agent relationship.

Robert Woods as WR2
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Robert Woods (2) celebrates his touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. © George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Woods-to-Vikings is popular for one reasonKevin O’Connell.

O’Connell was Woods’ offensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams in 2020 and 2021, and Woods fired up a 936-yard season in 2020, followed by a 556-yard effort in 2021 (he played 9 games in 2021). Those numbers don’t scream WR2 material, but Woods, in his prime, was quite productive. He notched 1,100+ yard seasons in 2018 and 2019, so the history of success is there.

Coaches often like “their guys,” and some fans evidently feel Woods, who turns 31 in April, can be a key Vikings contributor in 2023.

This rumor will persist until Woods signs with the Vikings or elsewhere.

Rumor: Danielle Hunter could be released this offseason.

Cut Danielle Hunter
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) and Minnesota Vikings guard Ezra Cleveland (72) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

This idea is utter malarkey, but it was advanced this week by Forbes.

The Vikings would actually lose cap space if they released Hunter, making the probability of the occurrence extremely low — close to nil. If Minnesota released Hunter today, the cap space would fall from $-24 million to about $-30 million. No thanks.

Forbes’ Steve Silverman published an article this week recommending the releases of Adam Thielen and Hunter while keeping Dalvin Cook and Harrison Smith on the roster. He wrote about Hunter, “It’s a huge cap hit, but he can’t dominate a game the way he did in the past. Cut him.”

And full disclosure — Hunter’s scheduled 2023 cap hit is $13.1 million, the 25th-highest among NFL EDGE rushers. If anything, Hunter should be dismayed over his contract — not the Vikings contemplating a release.

The LSU alumnus was graded as the seventh-best EDGE rusher in 2022, according to Pro Football Focus. The Vikings will not cut him. The idea is fiscally foolish and borderline gridiron malpractice.

Rumor: Cameron Sutton should be the Vikings primary free-agent target in a couple of weeks.

PFF Predicts Steelers Free
Sep 12, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton (20) reacts to a defensive play against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings need a solid veteran cornerback, Sutton is a free agent, and defensive coordinator Brian Flores last coached on Sutton’s 2022 team, the Steelers.

Plus, Sutton will be quasi-affordable, expected to command around $8 million per season on his next contract. All of these reasons support a Vikings-Sutton union when free agency begins on March 13th.

Of course, Sutton has 31 other options and could land anywhere. But pencil the Vikings in as a frontrunner for his services because he really, really makes sense for Minnesota. That’s why so many Vikings fans are chirping about it.

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.