Purple Rumor Mill: Russell Wilson to Vikings, Hockenson’s Return, Gardner Minshew

Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson

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 30th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Russell Wilson to Vikings, Hockenson’s Return, Gardner Minshew

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about about the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Here’s the first batch of the week.

Rumor: The Vikings are the odds-on favorites to sign Russell Wilson in the offseason.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Oh, it’s true. It’s damn true.

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton benched Wilson this week in favor of veteran passer Jarrett Stidham, and some reports indicate that’s a wrap for Wilson in Colorado. The Athletic’s Dianna Russini tweeted Wednesday, “Russell Wilson is expecting to be cut by the Denver Broncos in March, per league sources. For almost two months, the quarterback has been starting knowing the organization was most likely going to move on him from after this season.”

And according to BetOnline.ag, the Vikings are the odds-on favorite to land Wilson when the time comes, likely in two to three months. These are the living betting odds for Wilson’s services:

  • Minnesota Vikings: 5/1
  • New England Patriots: 6/1
  • Washington Commanders: 7/1
  • Las Vegas Raiders: 7/1
  • Chicago Bears: 8/1
  • Atlanta Falcons: 8/1
  • New York Giants: 8/1
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: 8/1
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 10/1
  • Arizona Cardinals: 10/1
  • New Orleans Saints: 11/1
  • Seattle Seahawks: 33/1

While anything is possible as the Vikings enter the 2024 offseason, retaining Kirk Cousins, drafting a 1st-Round quarterback — or both — feel like a more predictable outcome than signing Wilson.

Rumor: T.J. Hockenson is out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL, and his recovery could affect the 2024 season, too.

Wilson to Vikings
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

This is the play that knocked Hockenson out indefinitely:

The injury is akin to Kyler Murray’s in 2022, and Hockenson’s return may not be scheduled for Week 1 of 2024. In fact, Vikings fans should brace for his return bleeding into 2024’s midseason, not the beginning. From all perspectives, the timing of the injury stinks. Hockenson won’t be available if the Vikings reach the postseason, and no clear timetable will be available for 2024 until months from now.

Just know that Hockenson back on the field in Week 1 of 2024 is a longshot.

Rumor: Gardner Minshew could quarterback the 2024 Vikings.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger (4) and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew II (10) sit on the sideline Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, during a game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. © Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Bleacher Report published a recommendation for the Minnesota Vikings to sign Gardner Minshew of the Indianapolis Colts, who will hit free agency in less than three months.

Its collective staff summarized the Vikings’ current quarterback situation entering the offseason, “The quarterback situation in Minnesota is going to be one of the early storylines to watch during the offseason. Kirk Cousins’ contract expires at the end of the year, and he will be a 36-year-old who is coming off a torn Achilles, so it’s not a slam dunk that he’s retained. But, the Vikings are also likely going to be out of range for drafting one of the top passers in this year’s class, barring a trade-up.”

At the moment, the Vikings would choose 14th in the 2024 NFL Draft, a draft spot that could climb as high as eighth or dive in the mid-20s, depending on the outcome of the next couple of games. If the Vikings miss the postseason, they’ll draft somewhere between 8th-16th. A playoff trip would shove the pick into the 20s.

“If Kwesi Adofo-Mensah doesn’t want to re-sign Cousins nor give up a ton of assets to go after a quarterback prospect, Minshew would be a solid option in free agency since he’s done a good job of filling in for Anthony Richardson this season. The five-year veteran had a 63.3 completion percentage, nearly 2,800 yards and 14 touchdowns heading into this weekend while keeping the Colts in the playoff hunt,” BR added about exploring Minshew’s free agency.

If Kirk Cousins were about to retire or refused to re-sign in Minnesota, adding Minshew would potentially make sense while general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah drafted a rookie in April. He’d be a solid patchover quarterback, not unlike his assignment for the 2023 Colts. But the Vikings have Jaren Hall, Nick Mullens, and possibly Cousins for bridge-quarterback duty, and it’s unlikely for them to sign an extra veteran just for depth.

Kevin O’Connell’s third season in Minneapolis will probably involve more Cousins, a rookie quarterback, or both. Minshew would be a little weird.

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.