Purple Rumor Mill: Saquon Barkley, Jefferson’s Comments at SB, McCarthy Week

The Folks Picking the Giants over Vikings
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

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 February 10th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Saquon Barkley, Jefferson’s Comments at SB, McCarthy Week

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

Here’s the first batch of the week.

Rumor: Saquon Barkley could be on the Vikings’ list of RB solutions.

Comments at SB
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Bleacher Report advanced this theory, and Barkley will cost the Vikings $10 million or more per season. “The Vikings have questions at quarterback going into next season. Kirk Cousins is set to become a free agent, and he missed the last half of the 2023 season with a torn Achilles. If Cousins comes back, Barkley could be the final piece for one of the best skill-position groups in the league. If the Vikings turn to a young quarterback, having a strong ground game will become even more important,” BR’s Alex Ballentine wrote about Barkley to Minnesota.

These are the Vikings’ running backs under contract in 2024:

  • RB1: Ty Chandler
  • RB2: Alexander Mattison
  • RB3: Kene Nwangwu
  • RB4: DeWayne McBride
  • RB5: Myles Gaskin

Ballentine continued, “The Vikings have opted for a ‘competitive rebuild’ approach over tearing things down completely. They face a serious quarterback dilemma this offseason, but signing Barkley would raise the floor of the offense. As long as the Vikings get competent quarterback play, it’s going to be hard to stop an offense that has wideouts Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, tight end T.J. Hockenson and Barkley.”

Anything is possible, but it might seem a bit weird for an analytics-focused general manager in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to spend big bucks on a running back.

“Bringing on the star back would give Minnesota flexibility at quarterback because the offense will be powered by a supercharged group of skill players,” Ballentine concluded.

This one’s a longshot.

Rumor: Justin Jefferson reaffirmed his desire to stay with the Vikings this week at the Super Bowl’s radio row.

all that matters
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson talked to Mad Dog Radio on radio row at the Super Bowl, and his opinion is the same about staying in Minnesota. The league’s 2022 Offensive Player of the Year told Adam Schein, “I’m definitely grateful for what Minnesota has done for me. I definitely wouldn’t be in this situation if they didn’t pick me, to be the fifth receiver taken. With everything that has happened and everything I have gave to the organization, of course, I would want to stay.”

This is basically what he’s said for a year. No real change. The Vikings will lock in his extension before too long.

Rumor: Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy is gaining steam as Minnesota’s possible rookie QB selection in April.

the QB to Avoid
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Iowa during the first half of the Big Ten championship game at Luca Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

Minnesota could identify and draft a successor to watch and learn for a year or two behind Kirk Cousins if the franchise reunites with the veteran passer. Recently, growing sentiment suggests that it could be Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz linked McCarthy to the Vikings this week and mentioned the prospect, “I like J.J. McCarthy a lot. His winning pedigree and elite athleticism should move the needle and help raise his stock as the draft process moves along as well.”

He called McCarthy a Brock Purdy-like “winner” and claimed the Wolverine could eventually slide into the Vikings’ offense and thrive.

McCarthy, for now, is considered “one of the other” rookie quarterback options behind Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), and Jayden Daniels (LSU), who are expected to fly off the draftboard in the first three or five picks. Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) and Bo Nix (Oregon) live in McCarthy’s tier, although the supremacy will change in the next 11 weeks, especially with the NFL Combine around the bend.

Last week, ESPN also tied McCarthy to Minnesota, predicting the Vikings would re-sign Cousins and scoop McCarthy out of Round 2.

This is a theory that would marry both worlds and feels realistic.


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.

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