Purple Rumor Mill: AFC Team Hunting Hunter, Fans Evenly Split on Kirk, More Baker Mayfield Nonsense

Danielle Hunter
Nathan Ray Seebeck-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 25th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: AFC Team Hunting Hunter, Fans Evenly Split on Kirk, More Baker Mayfield Nonsense

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 second batch of the week. Yesterday’s can be read here.

Rumor: A frequent occupant of the Danielle Hunter rumor mill, the Jacksonville Jaguars could land his services once and for all in free agency.

Hunting Hunter
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Recent speculation suggests that if Hunter, a member of the Vikings since 2015, departs the franchise, the Jacksonville Jaguars could come calling with an alluring contract. “Voice of the Vikings” and KFAN radio show host Paul Allen said on-air this week, “Alec Lewis (The Athletic) dropped the Jaguars the other day because I can tell he’s getting his snoop on & that makes sense, & I happen to think he’s right … I’d bet here or Jacksonville.”

The rumor mill has connected Hunter to the Jaguars for a few years, so Jacksonville as his would-be next NFL home is not too surprising. The Jaguars have evidently coveted pass-rushing help for quite some time, and 2024 may be the year to finally land Hunter. We shall see.

Rumor: Almost down the middle, Vikings fans are split on their Kirk Cousins preference.

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports.

We polled Vikings faithful on X this week, and over 55% of respondents claimed they would be “genuinely downtrodden” if Cousins left the franchise in the next several weeks.

The poll was unscientific, and 2,365 people voted.

During the initial part of the offseason, Kirk Cousins told reporters that “structure” was the most influential factor in his forthcoming decision to re-sign with the Vikings. That is: the number of years perhaps outweighed the dollars attached to the contract. But the team may not be comfortable obliging a contract longer than a year. Cousins will turn 36 in August and is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon that ended his 2023 season at Lambeau Field last October.

The Vikings also had the opportunity to re-sign Cousins last offseason but curiously conceded, and now the veteran passer is a year older and coming back from a serious injury.

The Cousins choice could go either way and the reaction — no matter the outcome — will be mixed.

Rumor: Some folks still believe Minnesota could sign Baker Mayfield to a large “bridge quarterback” deal.

Mayfield to Vikings
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

This week, Bleacher Report sized up five possible free-agent destinations for Baker Mayfield, and lo and behold, Minnesota made the list. BR’s Alex Kay wrote about the possibility of Mayfield to the Vikings, “With Cousins hitting the open market at the age of 35 after his 2023 campaign was cut short with a torn Achilles tendon, Minnesota’s brass should think twice before offering the aging passer any sort of contract extension—especially one in the $40 million per year neighborhood. Rather than paying Cousins top dollar for flashy regular season numbers and inevitable playoff disappointments, the Vikings should instead consider Baker Mayfield for the job.”

Kay added, “Mayfield’s ceiling may not be as high as Cousins’ when it comes to regular season stats, but he’s a gritty, tough signal-caller who has displayed poise and command in every offense he’s run. He’d be a popular teammate and leader in Minnesota who could help this team contend for several seasons if he opts to sign there as a free agent.”

Generally speaking, if Minnesota wants quarterback performance on par or better than Mayfield’s, well, it will simply re-sign Cousins. That’s how this works.

Cousins’ and Mayfield’s 2024 paydays won’t be too far apart; Cousins over Mayfield seems substantially more likely than any Mayfield agreement as a patchover quarterback.

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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.