Purple Rumor Mill: The Tampering Fiasco, McCarthyism, Vikings a Top 10 Squad?

Free Agency
Jeffrey Becker-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 March 24th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: The Tampering Fiasco, McCarthyism, Vikings a Top 10 Squad?

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: The Falcons conducted more tampering than only Kirk Cousins. A Darnell Mooney angle was present, too.

purple rumor mill
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio has led the charge in revealing the Falcons’ alleged tampering with Kirk Cousins before free agency got underway. But this week, he added another layer involving wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who also joined Atlanta’s roster in free agency.

“Someone enlisted Cousins to recruit Darnell Mooney from the Bears. So you got tampering within tampering. You got multiple levels of tampering. Cousins just talked about it openly, like they just didn’t care. It was so blatant,” Florio said on the What The Football podcast.

All signs point to the Falcons indeed tampering, and the NFL is investigating. But fans shouldn’t expect an earth-shattering punishment. This will probably result in some sort of slap on the wrist.

Rumor: ESPN’s Field Yates claims J.J. McCarthy will be “the guy” for the Vikings in the draft.

Vikings Is Sweet
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy makes a pass against Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner during the first half of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

Yates posted a predictive mock draft after one week of free agency last weekend, and for Minnesota, the franchise will evidently trade into the No. 5 hole with the Los Angeles Chargers and capture McCarthy as its quarterback of the future.

He explained McCarthy to the Vikings, “In moving to No. 5, the Vikings jump ahead of the Giants, another team some believe would consider a quarterback (picking at No. 6). Minnesota lost Kirk Cousins to the Falcons in free agency and signed Sam Darnold to a one-year deal this week. But while he is still just 26 years old, I do not view the signing of Darnold as prohibitive to drafting a quarterback.”

The Vikings are also Vegas darlings to draft McCarthy, possessing the highest odds of all teams to draft the Wolverine as of March 24th.

Yates added, “That deal just gives the Vikings insurance under center, and Minnesota really needs to reset at the position and find its long-term guy. McCarthy is widely viewed as the fourth-best QB in this class and was sixth in completion percentage last season at Michigan (72.3%). A new era for the Vikings arrives.”

If you want to predict the Vikings’ next quarterback, McCarthy is the safest bet at the moment.

Rumor: Colin Cowherd claims Minnesota is already a Top 10 football team heading into 2024.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports.

According to Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd, Minnesota will be a Top 10 team in 2024 — no matter the quarterback decision.

An odd and standalone declaration to be sure, Cowherd plopped the purple team at No. 10 in his power rankings and explained, “I’m calling my shot. Just go look at their coach and their offensive weapons. Number one receiver, number two receiver, tight end, running back, left tackle, o-line top 12 … I think Kevin O’Connell is the best coach in the league that nobody talks about. They bolstered their pass rush with the savings from not signing Kirk Cousins.”

These were the complete Top 10 power rankings per Cowherd:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. Green Bay Packers
  5. Philadelphia Eagles
  6. Baltimore Ravens
  7. Cleveland Browns
  8. Buffalo Bills
  9. Los Angeles Rams
  10. Minnesota Vikings

Most pundits have the Vikings in a bottom 10 tier for 2024, so this one is especially bold and unique.

Cowherd also made an off-the-wall prediction in the summer of 2022 that Minnesota would finish 14-3. They later fired up a 13-4 record.

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.