Purple Rumor Mill: UDFAs to Make Team, Thielen’s Reluctance, a Kirk Extension

Sep 24, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (0) runs onto the field prior to the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-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 May 7th 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: UDFAs to Make Team, Thielen’s Reluctance, a Kirk Extension

Here’s the second batch of the week. Yesterday’s can be read here.

Rumor: Two undrafted free agents, Ivan Pace Jr. and Andre Carter II, could make the Vikings active roster.

Dec 10, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Army Black Knights outside linebacker Andre Carter II (34) reacts after a play against the Navy Midshipmen during the first half of the 123rd Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA Today Sports.

Indeed, both men are fan favorites to earn a regular season roster spot at the end of August. They still have a long way to go in making the prophecies true, but based on the money invested by Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Pace Jr. and Carter II are in a good place.

In fact, both men were expected to be drafted in the mid-to-late rounds last weekend. But no such luck, as general managers evidently believed Pace Jr. was too short and Carter II wasn’t refined as a pass rusher.

Both defenders received more money than usual for UDFAs, so you should tentatively pencil them in as dark horses to make the 53-man roster at the end of the summer.

Rumor: Adam Thielen never wanted to leave the Vikings this offseason.

PurplePTSD: 5 Questionable Vikings, Get to Know IND, Thielen's 2022 Campaign
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) meets with family before the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Thielen stopped by the Daily Delivery podcast this week and explained his Vikings departure, “I think there are like two sides of it. It was a bummer. I didn’t want to leave Minnesota. I wanted to end my career there. Obviously, that would be the perfect fairy-tale way to do it, right? But that’s not reality.”

“I’m so thankful for that organization, Kwesi and Kevin and the staff. The way they handled this throughout the process was first-class,” he said on the show.

Thielen said during the whole offseason before getting released that he adored the Vikings and wouldn’t just walk away for the heck of it. The reality? Minnesota likely had Thielen pegged for a diminished role while he valued himself as a WR2.

Rumor: With no early-round rookie QB selected by Minnesota in the draft, Kirk Cousins could still get an extension.

Kirk Cousins
Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) reacts during the second quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports

Reporters asked Kirk Cousins on Wednesday, “You are now a year from free agency, a year away from having options — does that change anything there at all?”

He replied, “No, I want to be in Minnesota. That’s kind of a no-brainer. So, hopefully, you know, we can earn the right to do that.”

And a few days before that exchange, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah told reporters, “Kirk doesn’t need to show anything to me. Kirk has played football at a high level before I got to the Minnesota Vikings. Last year, we won 13 games. I don’t know what he would need to prove to me or anybody else.”

“Sometimes you come to a place [in contract talks] where you decide, ‘Hey, let’s talk later. This is a solution for now.’ That’s all that’s happened,” he added.

Because the Vikings used the 5th-Round to draft a quarterback — and not Rounds 1 or 2 — indeed, Cousins is more likely to earn an extension before the 2023 season begins. Teams rarely let productive passers become lame ducks. Had Adofo-Mensah drafted Will Levis or Hendon Hooker, allowing Cousins’ contract to play out this season was probably on the agenda.

But now, a Cousins extension by a year or two could happen at any moment. It’s significantly more likely than two or three weeks ago.

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.