Will Dalton Risner Return for Minnesota?

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.

When the Minnesota Vikings signed Dalton Risner, the move came after weeks of fans clamoring for it to happen. Given Ed Ingram’s production, or lack thereof at the time, it seemed that a move was necessary. Now, having performed and being back on the free agent market, does Risner make sense to re-sign?

Will Dalton Risner Return for Minnesota?

The 28-year-old Dalton Risner wound up playing 15 games for the Minnesota Vikings last season, and he drew starts in 11 of them. Expected to slide in for Ed Ingram initially, it was Ezra Cleveland’s spot that he took over. With Ingram making quick strides following the deal, Kevin O’Connell opted to keep his young guard in the starting lineup. Cleveland was sent packing, and Risner’s role was cemented.

Dalton Risner
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.

After establishing continuity as the season went on in Minnesota, both sides are forced to determine whether the Vikings represent a long-term fit, as was the case for the past four seasons in Denver. Taken in the 2nd round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Risner played out all four seasons on his rookie deal with the Broncos. It was a short-term situation signed with Minnesota, but there seemed to be indications that something more long-term could be coming behind it.

Of course, after substantiating his play and being frustrated with free agency the first time, Risner could be looking for a deal sooner rather than later. It probably will come at a higher dollar figure, and the Vikings must weigh that. They are set to return the entire offensive line outside of the left guard position, and keeping Risner would allow the group to remain intact.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

A year from now, the Vikings will be tasked with providing Christian Darrisaw a gaudy extension at the left tackle position, and he will be paid handsomely as one of the best players at the position. Right tackle Brian O’Neill already has a substantial salary cap figure, and even on a more modest level, adding Risner to the mix could be a lot to ask.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will need to explore the open market if Risner isn’t the preferred option, and filling a hole up front with quarterback uncertainty isn’t an ideal scenario.

The Dalton Risner
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How much Risner gets and whether he wants to go through this process again should provide plenty of intrigue. There’s no denying Risner was as expected for Minnesota, but is that enough to get a deal done?

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.