Purple Rumor Mill: ETA on Jefferson, Jonathan Taylor Nearly in NFC North, Nwangwu’s Grim Forecast

Justin Jefferson appears to
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-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 2nd edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: ETA on Jefferson, Jonathan Taylor Nearly in NFC North, Nwangwu’s Grim Forecast

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: The Vikings extension with Justin Jefferson should be done in the next week.

Taylor Nearly
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) dives for the end zone as New York Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (22) defends during the first quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The call on the field was a touchdown but was changed after review. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

‘Tis the season.

The Vikings extended T.J. Hockenson this week by four extra years, attaching him to the roster through the end of the 2027 season. “These things” tend to arrive in batches as most general managers prefer contractual housekeeping before the start of a regular season.

SI.com’s Albert Breer wrote this week, “No one’s talking much about it, but the Vikings are making an effort to get wide receiver Justin Jefferson signed before the season starts. Jefferson’s kept a pretty low profile about this one, and talks, as far as I can tell, have gone fine. When I visited with him a few weeks back, he told me his absence from parts of the offseason were about endorsement opportunities, not the contract.”

The deal is coming just like the feeling about Hockenson’s impending extension at this time last week and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will deliver.

Rumor: The Green Bay Packers, for some reason, attempted to trade for Colts RB Jonathan Taylor.

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted on the X app Wednesday, “The ‘mystery team’ that had trade discussions with the Colts about All-Pro RB Jonathan Taylor was the Green Bay Packers.”

And that’s the same Packers club that employs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon at RB1 and RB2.

We have no idea why Green Bay would need or want to pay another running back, but to each their own. So far, no deal has materialized, and it also kind of works out that the Vikings won’t have to face Taylor twice annually.

Of note: Taylor, now, cannot play until Week 5 if a trade comes together. The deadline passed.

Rumor: Kene Nwangwu’s injury could be his end of the road in Minnesota.

Vikings Overdue for Some Special Teams Magic at Home
Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu (26) in action against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Regrettably, Nwangwu has hit Injured Reserve with no clear timetable for return. He might be back for Week 5; he may miss most of the 2023 regular season.

The problem, though, is running back Ty Chandler will fill in via kick-returning duties. And if he does an admirable job, do the Vikings really need Nwangwu back? It’s a harsh reality, but it cannot be ignored.

Nwangwu is an incredibly dynamic kick returner, but the NFL changed kick-returning rules this offseason, diminishing the position’s relevance. Couple that with Chandler’s possible emergence, and Nwangwu might be the odd man out. The injury does not help.

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.