Purple Rumor Mill: A QB Trade, Frontrunner for WR3, Notable Position Change

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s Vikings rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the June 22nd edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: A QB Trade, Frontrunner for WR3, Notable Position Change

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

Here’s the first batch of the week.

Rumor: The Vikings could look to trade Sam Darnold before the deadline this season, recouping some draft capital and paving the way for J.J. McCarthy to start.

Purple Rumor Mill
Minnesota quarterback Sam Darnold joins Vikings Entertainment Network’s Gabe Henderson and discusses being coached now by his former New York Jets teammate, Josh McCown, being a big UFC fan, his journey through the NFL and more. Darnold became a Vikings in March 2024 after Kirk Cousins left for the Atlanta Falcons.

This theory came from SI.com and writer Conor Orr.

Orr authored 100 bold NFL predictions this week, and for Darnold, the forecast was a trade out of Minnesota into the lap of a playoff-contending team. Orr wrote, “This will be the season of Sam Darnold. The 2018 No. 3 pick of the Jets will have a short runway as the Minnesota Vikings’ starter before he gets traded before the Nov. 5 deadline to a contender that has an injured starter, paving the way for the J.J. McCarthy era to begin in Minnesota.”

Darnold became a Viking in March after Kirk Cousins bolted to the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. He’s expected to start Week 1 for Minnesota, while some believe he could script a 2023 Baker Mayfield tale with all the playmakers at his disposal.

Orr then dropped the juiciest part of his bold Darnold prediction, “Darnold will head back to the AFC and start in a critical late-season game against the Jets, a team that will be teetering on the brink of playoff contention. After playing well in a thrashing of the Jets, the New York Post back page headline will be GHOST STORY.”

Obviously, a lot has to happen for Orr’s bold theory to materialize. Darnold evidently has to play well — but not well enough to hold off J.J. McCarthy for the QB1 job. Because — why would an AFC team want Darnold if he performed poorly in Minnesota?

After that, a team playing the Jets late in the season must be the trade participant. Per New York’s schedule, that limits the choices to the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Generally speaking, this is just a bold prediction. It’s way too early for any trade-Darnold fodder.

Rumor: Brandon Powell is the current frontrunner to win the Vikings’ open WR3 job.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

According to the Pioneer Press, Brandon Powell, who doubles as the Vikings’ punt returner, could be in the driver’s seat for the WR3 assignment.

Dane Mizutani wrote last week, “Who is going to take the spot up for grabs behind Jefferson and Addison? It looks like shifty receiver Brandon Powell is the leader in the clubhouse based on his amount of reps with the starters.”

The observation checks out, especially because Minnesota signed no other high-profile WR3 candidates after adding Sherfield in free agency. The 2024 NFL Draft, too, was stuffed to the gills with promising WR3 types, and Minnesota drafted exactly zero receivers during the event. Many fans, plus this website, assumed the purple team would spend a mid- or late-round draft choice on a wide receiver like Jamari Thrash or Luke McCaffrey. No cigar.

Powell as the WR3 has serious legitimacy.

Rumor: NaJee Thompson will no longer play cornerback, switched to safety by Minnesota’s coaching staff.

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Welcomed to the Vikings’ roster as a cornerback in 2023 from undrafted free agency, Thompson has switched to safety, according to The Athletic’s Alec Lewis.

Lewis published observations of each Vikings player from the spring and early summer this week, and regarding Thompson, the news was a position change. “NaJee Thompson: Switched positions, but his value remains in his special teams prowess. Likely to make the roster,” Lewis wrote, adding the “S” acronym to the front of his name, denoting a safety, not a cornerback.

On Vikings.com and other major roster websites, Thompson is still listed as a cornerback, so the news might simply travel slowly.

But if correct — it probably is — the Vikings now have seven safeties.

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 MIN 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.