Purple Rumor Mill: Start Engines on Akiem Hicks, Kirk and Gronkowski, Risner + Akers

Kamil Krzaczynski-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 September 23rd edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Start Engines on Akiem Hicks, Kirk and Gronkowski, Risner + Akers

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: Former Bears DT Akiem Hicks acknowledged Vikings fans’ requests and could join the team as a free agent.

Start Engines
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings fans doggedly asked the team to sign offensive guard Dalton Risner after Risner visited the team’s facilities seven weeks ago. Then, this week, the Vikings indeed signed Risner to a one-year deal expandable to $4 million.

Freshly equipped with a feeling of influence, the get-Risner crowd turned to Akiem Hicks on the X app, calling for the Vikings to add the former foe.

And fans were so loud that Hicks heard. He tweeted very early Friday morning, “That Viking love has been nice all day, I appreciate the interest. Always had fun strappin it on against you. As a competitor you hope to receive the respect of your opponent. The respect of the fan base is a very nice bonus. skol.”

Hicks would be a welcome addition to the interior of Minnesota’s line, but just because he was flattered by people’s tweets doesn’t mean a deal is on the way.

Rumor: Rob Gronkowski thinks Kirk Cousins will actually be traded if the Vikings fall into an 0-3 hole on Sunday.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski wasn’t shy about sharing his trade thoughts involving Kirk Cousins this week.

“For the Vikings, if they go 0-3, there’s going to be some serious change at the quarterback position. They have a good team, but they can’t finish, they can’t win games. Their head coach is going to be staying there, he’s only in his second year, but I feel like Kirk Cousins will be shipped out. Somebody’s going to want to trade for him that’s a playoff contender,” Gronkowski spitballed on the Up and Adams Show Wednesday.

“He’s a good player, he’s putting up the stats, he’s playing well. Kirk Cousins will get shipped out, and they’ll be building for the future, hopefully, tank for Caleb Williams out of USC next year,” he added.

At the 2023 NFL Combine, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah called tanking, defined by Gronkowski, as “unconscionable.”

Minnesota could explore trading Cousins if its record were 1-6 or 1-7 around the NFL’s trade deadline on Halloween, but until then, it’s an extreme longshot.

Rumor: Newcomer free agents Dalton Risner and Cam Akers will play this Sunday.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

“It’s a little too soon to ask him to go this week,” Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said about Cam Akers on Friday. The Vikings fired up a 2026 late-round pick-swap trade for Akers on Wednesday evening. Per the coach, he’s not expected to play this Sunday.

Risner, on the other hand, has been in the building in Eagan since Monday or Tuesday and could perhaps see some action if Ed Ingram struggled or another offensive lineman fell injured.

We’ll say it’s unlikely either man plays, with a slightly more likely trajectory for Risner.


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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