Done Deal: Vikings Fans Finally Get Their OL Wish

Even National Voices
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It took seven weeks, but a deal is reportedly in the books.

The Minnesota Vikings signed offensive guard Dalton Risner on Monday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Done Deal: Vikings Fans Finally Get Their OL Wish

Rapoport tweeted, “The Vikings are signing FA G Dalton Risner, sources say. The former Broncos starter — and one of the top free agents available — lends valuable experience to Minnesota’s line.”

Vikings Fans Finally
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The deal is said to be for one year and $4 million.

Risner, who usually plays left guard, could perhaps switch to right guard, Ed Ingram’s spot, or live on the bench in case the offensive line struggles persist. In either case, Vikings fans rejoiced Monday, as they’ve called for Risner’s addition to the roster since early August.

Minnesota’s brass and Risner met seven weeks ago Monday, but no deal materialized. But with two weeks of the regular season in the books, it was evidently time.

Other Free Agents
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Risner was coworkers with current Vikings offensive line coach Chris Kuper in Denver for three years, so the relationship angle was already in place. The Broncos drafted Risner in the 2nd Round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and the man was actually linked to the Vikings via the draft lead-up process. Now, four years later, they’re signing him as a free agent.

Why would the Vikings sign an offensive guard, as they seem pretty well set in the trenches? Simple — improvement and depth. Left guard Ezra Cleveland’s contract expires at the end of the 2023 season. It is unclear if Minnesota is dying to have him back beyond a rookie deal. On the right side at guard, the aforementioned Ingram fired up a topsy-turvy rookie season and suspect first two games in 2023, succumbing to gaffes this year and last. Signing Risner proves the Vikings sincerity in improving the offensive line after years of mediocrity and, in some years, downright tragedy.

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Moreover, Risner is an offensive guard commodity that Vikings fans aren’t used to — he protects against the pass better than the run. For years, Vikings football has showcased the inverse. Perhaps the Vikings can, once and for all, end the stale mindset of run-over-pass offensive linemen in terms of skillset emphasis and enter a free-agent agreement with Risner.

Here’s Risner’s pass-blocking versus run-blocking splits (red = pass | blue = run) per Pro Football Focus:

  • 2019 = 69.8 (P) | 60.3 (R)
  • 2020 = 61.3 (P) | 53.7 (R)
  • 2021 = 68.5 (P) | 63.2 (R)
  • 2022 = 61.1 (P) | 53.4 (R)

And the overall grades:

  • 2019 = 64.4
  • 2020 = 61.3
  • 2021 = 68.5
  • 2022 = 61.1
Dalton Risner of the Denver Broncos walks the red carpet before the NFL Honors awards special at the Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. © Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Risner turned 28 two months ago.

The Vikings play the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3, but it is unclear if Risner will be ready by then.

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