One Viking Has a Revenge Game on Sunday Night

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Oddly, oddsmakers believe the (4-5) Denver Broncos will take down the (6-4) Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football by a field goal.

To the naked eye, some might argue the point spread should be flipped — the 6-4 team favored by three over the 4-5 squad. But no cigar.

One Viking Has a Revenge Game on Sunday Night

Betting lines be damned, one Viking has the revenge-game angle at Denver on Sunday evening. He’s Dalton Risner.

Viking Has a Revenge
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Risner spent four seasons with the Broncos from 2019 to 2022 and then, curiously, wasn’t welcomed back during free agency. In fact, no team wanted Risner until the regular season when Minnesota took the plunge and signed Risner for depth. At the time, second-year right guard Ed Ingram was struggling, and signing the former Bronco seemed to suggest Ingram’s days were numbered.

Then, though, Ingram finally hit his stride and has actually performed quite well for about a month and a half. On the other side of the line, left guard Ezra Cleveland was injured, Risner was inserted, the Vikings began winning games, and Cleveland was shipped to the Jacksonville Jaguars at the NFL’s trade deadline.

Former Denver Broncos offensive guard Dalton Risner on Monday Night Football during his first start with the Minnesota Vikings. U.S. Bank Stadium, October 23rd, 2023. Risner started for an injured Ezra Cleveland.

Since Risner’s climb to the starting lineup, the Vikings have not lost a game, and because his talent is more skewed toward pass protection, plus the obvious development that Minnesota is a pass-first team, Risner has served as a better fit than Cleveland (or so says the Vikings brass).

Risner said this week about his return to Colorado, “It’s great to be back on. It’s weird to be back on as a guest and not someone who’s on there every week, but I sure am grateful to be back on here. Thank you for having me, and ‘hi’ to everyone back there in Colorado.”

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Per his words, he isn’t necessarily hellbent on revenge, but Risner is a class act and probably wouldn’t take shots at the Broncos given the opportunity.

Risner added about the waiting game of free agency, “Oh, it was very frustrating. It was probably one of the toughest times in my life. Not just for football but a lot of reasons. It was one of those deals where you live, and you learn. You learn how to handle different situations, and you wished things had worked out a different way, but part of life, and what I’ve learned, is embracing the journey, and I’m grateful to be where I’m at.”

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Risner’s showdown with his old team will mark his 30th career game at Empower Field at Mile High. The Vikings offensive line ranks No. 1 in the NFL per pass protection, according to Pro Football Focus.

Minnesota hasn’t won a game in Denver since 1999.


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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