One Newcomer Viking Really Fit in Wonderfully

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Remember when Minnesota Vikings fans demanded, tweeted, and yelled for the franchise to sign free-agent offensive guard Dalton Risner?

It happened, the wish was granted, and a few weeks later, Risner landed a starter’s gig on Minnesota’s offensive line. Folks rejoiced.

One Newcomer Viking Really Fit in Wonderfully

Well, that plan worked wonderfully, and now the same pro-Risner camp will hope the veteran lineman will return via free agency for 2024.

Newcomer Viking Really
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.

And the Vikings should welcome Risner with open arms. His performance was sturdy, and Pro Football Focus uplifted Risner’s performance this week with one tweet, “Dalton Risner hasn’t allowed a sack on 412 pass-blocking snaps for the Vikings this season.”

Here’s the full tweet:

Risner’s overall PFF grade of 57.6 didn’t break the Richter scale, but his 69.6 pass-blocking score is music to the ears of Vikings fans. For years โ€” arguably a decade โ€” Vikings enthusiasts asked for a competent pass-blocking guard or two, and the wish was granted in 2023 with second-year lineman Ed Ingram and Risner’s addition in September.

Entering Week 18, Minnesota has showcased this offensive line for most of 2023:

  • LT: Christian Darrisaw
  • LG: Dalton Risner
  • C: Garrett Bradbury
  • RG: Ed Ingram
  • RT: Brian O’Neill
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Unless the Vikings want to upgrade at center, that fivesome should return in 2024, assuming Risner intends to return to the Twin Cities and offer full offensive line continuity in consecutive years for the first time in ages. Minnesota has encountered a few struggles here and there this season, but on the whole, the offensive trenches have markedly improved, largely because of Risner’s steady pass protection.

“I love this locker room. I love these guys. I said last week that this didn’t feel like a 2-4 team. And I’ve been on 2-4 teams for four years. This doesn’t feel like a 2-4 team. We just went and beat one of the better teams in the NFL tonight. Just feels really good, so I have a lot of emotion,” Risner told reporters in October.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Whether in Minnesota or elsewhere, Risner should command about $4-$5 million annually via his next contract. All signs point to a Minnesota sequel.

Risner added about helping the Vikings defeat the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7, “Monday Night Football, getting showered with love by Brian O’Neill, Garrett Bradbury, Ezra Cleveland, and Ed Ingram, and Christian Darrisaw, and Kirk Cousins, and these guys, man โ€” it was just the perfect night.”

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings offensive line ranks 12th leaguewide per PFF entering Week 18. It’s battled injuries to Brian O’Neill, Ed Ingram, and Christian Darrsiaw at times this season.

Risner will turn 29 in July.

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