Purple Rumor Mill: The Flacco Theory, A New Starter, Return of a LB

The Joe Flacco
Scott Galvin-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 December 16th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: The Flacco Theory, A New Starter, Return of a LB

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: One rumor suggested the Vikings should steal Joe Flacco off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad.

The Flacco Theory
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

One prominent radio show host out of Pittsburgh claimed the Vikings should pursue a Super Bowl champion. He’s 93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi, and he believes Minnesota should sign Joe Flacco from the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad.

“The Vikings have $10 million in cap space. If Minnesota offered Joe Flacco $8 million for the rest of the year to sign there. Would he leave Cleveland? I would,” Fillipponi tweeted on the X app Monday afternoon.

The theory could’ve made sense a month ago, around the time Kirk Cousins was injured. But the Vikings are set with Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall, and Joshua Dobbs.

What’s more, the Browns formally signed Flacco to the roster at the end of the week. He isn’t going anywhere.

Rumor: Alas, Ty Chandler will start at running back for the Vikings on Saturday.

Vikings Activate Rookie
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Alexander Mattison was ruled out of Saturday’s game with a bad ankle, promoting Chandler to RB1. It’s his turn.

Mattison had improved in recent games, so it’s a bummer the injury occurred at the peak of his 2023 powers. But running backs usually get hurt inside a regular season, and Mattison was no exception.

It will be the Ty Chandler show in Cincinnati, with Kene Nwangwu, Myles Gaskin, and fullback C.J. Ham also available. Chandler has played well in spots this season, showcasing his speed and playmaking acumen. He’ll especially please fans and coaches if he picks up defenders as a pass-blocker.

Rumor: Jordan Hicks’ injury recovery is ahead of schedule, and he could return as soon as Christmas Eve.

The Vikings Top Defensive Performers at Commanders, per PFF
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

Hicks was injured in a win over the New Orleans Saints one month ago, and undrafted rookie linebacker Ivan Pace slid into a full-time role accordingly. Troy Dye and Anthony Barr have manned other linebacking snaps during Hicks’ absence. Pace, in particular, has continued to take the league by storm in Year One.

But Hicks could indeed be back for Week 16 — the white-out Christmas Eve game at U.S. Bank Stadium versus the Detroit Lions.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell said this week about Hicks’ comeback, “Jordan is probably ahead of schedule when considering the severity of what we felt in the immediate aftermath of his injury.”

The Vikings’ defense hasn’t relented in Hicks’ absence, now ranking fifth leaguewide per EPA/Play. In fact, last weekend at the Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota pitched a shutout, its first since 2017.

“So where he’s at now is very, very positive, and I think Jordan’s getting really close to maybe being able to start officially practicing,” O’Connell added.

Hicks will be back soon.

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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.