One Hint Suggests Dalton Risner Could Be Back in Purple

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Just because the Minnesota Vikings haven’t re-upped with Dalton Risner yet doesn’t mean his future in the Twin Cities is sealed.

One Hint Suggests Dalton Risner Could Be Back in Purple

That’s the word from Star Tribune this week after Andrew Krammer subtly cracked the door open for Risner’s return.

Dalton Risner
Minnesota Vikings guard Dalton Risner addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Dalton Risner: “We All Know We Have A Great Culture But We Came Up Short This Season.”

Krammer wrote, “The Vikings did not move to bring back Risner, who started 11 games last season after signing in September. But that doesn’t mean they won’t after seeing how the left guard spot shakes out this summer. The most experienced options are currently Blake Brandel and Dan Feeney. Outside of using a second-round pick on right guard Ed Ingram in 2022, this Vikings regime has not allocated big resources to the interior O-line.”

When the 2023 season concluded, and former left guard Ezra Cleveland was long gone via trade to the Jacksonville Jaguars, most Vikings fans believed Risner would re-sign with the purple team after a successful first campaign. But then March and April hit — with crickets. Risner even hired powerhouse sports agent Drew Rosenhaus as his representation two months ago, to no avail through May 7th.

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Risner helped solidify the Vikings’ pass protection in 2023, a welcome trait among the team’s fans. During the Mike Zimmer era, guards notoriously struggled to protect quarterbacks, so when Risner did so with relative ease, he became an instant fan favorite. Now, of course, those fans want him back for a sequel. Risner’s overall PFF grade of 57.1 didn’t set records, but his 67.4 pass-blocking score was music to the ears of Vikings fans.

According to The Athletic’s Alec Lewis, money is evidently the sticking point for Minnesota’s front office and Risner’s free agency. Lewis wrote last week, “Until free agent Dalton Risner lowers his monetary ask (he recently switched agents to Drew Rosenhaus, with whom the Vikings have a great relationship), it’s difficult to see a path toward his return.”

Judgment Day
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Risner’s price demands are unclear, but they must be significantly higher than his September addition last year to Minnesota’s roster.

“Otherwise, Minnesota could turn to Brandel at left guard. The coaching staff has raved about him for a couple of years, but he does not have much experience. His $3.1 million fully guaranteed deal is a signal of that belief, and it helps that Minnesota drafted Jurgens in the event of an injury on the interior,” Lewis added.

On his contract desires, Risner personally tweeted on March 12th, “Just In case anyone was wondering … I’ve started 73 games over 5 years in the league … missing only 4 games due to injury… earning the starting spot amongst 3 different coaching staffs … I’ve never asked for a bag, simply just a starting guard contract.”

Starting OG
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.

Six days after the Risner tweet, KFAN’s Paul Allen asked Adofo-Mensah about the chances of Risner returning in purple, and the young executive replied, “Where we’ve wanted to be is best available. That’s where we’ve tried to set ourselves up both in a draft and acquisition standpoint. So every option is on the table. That’s all I can say about that.”

The takeaway? If Krammer is correct, Minnesota could explore Risner in the next couple of months if a) He’s still available b) Blake Brandel struggles at training camp.

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).

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