Purple Rumor Mill: Player on Borrowed Time, WR3 Mystery, Darnold for the Long Haul

Explained: The 7 Big Takeaways from Vikings Win over NE
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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 May 26th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Player on Borrowed Time, WR3 Mystery, Darnold for the Long Haul

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: Vikings kicker Parker Romo is on borrowed time after the draft pick of Will Reichard.

Detroit Lions placekicker Parker Romo walks off the field after practice during training camp at Detroit Lions Headquarters and Training Facility in Allen Park on Monday, July 24, 2023.

This week, the Vikings’ social media team unveiled a behind-the-scenes draft documentary featuring footage of general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, his staff, and Minnesota’s coaching staff during the draft. Among topics discussed in the 18-minute show, Adofo-Mensah mentioned the importance of getting his kicker, Will Reichard.

Adofo-Mensah asked his counterparts on Day No. 3 of the draft, “If the kicker and [Michael] Jurgens are there, do you go kicker, assuming Jurgens might be there later? Because the kicker is supposed to be gone by now. It’s more about trying to get both players; who do you have to take sooner? I think the kicker will go sooner than Jurgens. I mean, we have our targets. We do all this work for this. Let’s get our targets that we want.”

His comments didn’t make it sound like getting a kicker was negotiable, likely dampening the would-be forecast for Romo on the active roster later this year. It felt very much like Reichard or bust. Pundits considered Reichard the top kicker in this year’s rookie class, so Romo must propel his underdog story a little further.

Romo is likely the odd man out with Reichard on the roster.

Rumor: There is no frontrunner for the Vikings’ W3 job.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Theories on Minnesota’s WR3 are all over the place. The Athletic’s Alec Lewis wrote this week about Jalen Nailor, “With Jefferson absent, Nailor, Jordan Addison and Brandon Powell saw the majority of the snaps with the No. 1 unit. Nailor remains an intriguing option if he can stay healthy; a lower-leg injury ended his training camp early last year, and a concussion sidelined him for the final five weeks of the season.”

Lewis also stated that Nailor made a nifty play at Vikings organized team activities (OTAs) this week. Nailor showed some oomph down the stretch of his rookie season in 2022 but failed to catch on last year despite playing time opportunities after Justin Jefferson missed time with a hamstring injury. Year No. 3 is ginormous for Nailor, so it works out well that Minnesota has a WR3 opening.

Then, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tabbed Brandon Powell as the Vikings player who could surprise the most in 2024: “Wide receiver Brandon Powell: During the O’Connell era, the Vikings’ base offense has been 11 personnel, which generally means three receivers. So unless O’Connell is going to dramatically change that approach in his third season, there is a significant need for a third player to complement Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison in the receiving corps.”

Powell is also the franchise’s punt returner.

Seifert added, “Powell filled that role well last season when Jefferson missed time with a hamstring injury, and he has a strong chance to earn a more permanent role there in 2024.”

Finally, NFL.com projected Trent Sherfield as the starting WR3 a few days ago.

WR3 is all over the board.

Rumor: Sam Darnold could play the entire 2024 season at QB1 for Minnesota.

The Carolina Panthers arrive at Wofford College for their 2022 training camp. The team plans to host 12 training camp practices that are free and open to the public. This Saturday July 30, the team will hold the ‘Back Together’ event at Gibbs Stadium at the college. The Panthers’ Sam Darnold talks about working with his fellow players at training camp. © ALEX HICKS JR./SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL / USA TODAY NETWORK.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said this week, “We don’t always get quarterback competition, and this is a real one. The fact that Sam Darnold is in there. I have also heard he has looked good, he is going to look good. Something he has done his entire career, when it’s the spring, when it’s the preseason or when he has been unbothered, he has looked excellent. It’s really a matter of when he gets in games, is he the same quarterback when it doesn’t all go perfectly?”

Rapoport also mentioned, “I could see Sam Darnold never relinquishing Vikings’ QB1 role in 2024.”

If Darnold dazzles out of the gate in 2024, of course, this is possible. The only problem is that Darnold has never dazzled anywhere. That’s the weird part of the “Sam Darnold can play like Baker Mayfield with the Buccaneers” theories. Once upon a time, Mayfield played quite well in Cleveland. Darnold has not done anything of the sort.

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.