Purple Rumor Mill: Would-Be Risner Return, Justin Jefferson Price Tag, Cousins Right Away

Dalton Risner of the Denver Broncos walks the red carpet before the NFL Honors awards special at the Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. © Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK.

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 12th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Would-Be Risner Return, Justin Jefferson Price Tag, Cousins Right Away

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: Dalton Risner could be an option for the Vikings later this summer.

Purple Rumor Mill
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota hasn’t re-upped with Dalton Risner yet, but that doesn’t mean his future in the Twin Cities is sealed. That’s the word from Star Tribune this week after Andrew Krammer subtly cracked the door open for Risner’s return.

Krammer wrote, “The Vikings did not move to bring back Risner, who started 11 games last season after signing in September. But that doesn’t mean they won’t after seeing how the left guard spot shakes out this summer. The most experienced options are currently Blake Brandel and Dan Feeney. Outside of using a second-round pick on right guard Ed Ingram in 2022, this Vikings regime has not allocated big resources to the interior O-line.”

Risner helped solidify the Vikings’ pass protection in 2023, a welcome trait among the team’s fans. During the Mike Zimmer era, guards notoriously struggled to protect quarterbacks, so when Risner did so with relative ease, he became an instant fan favorite. Now, of course, those fans want him back for a sequel. Risner’s overall PFF grade of 57.1 didn’t set records, but his 67.4 pass-blocking score was music to the ears of Vikings fans.

Of course, a Risner reunion is possible, but we believe it would’ve happened by now, thus nominating Brandel for the big job in 2024.

Rumor: Four years and $140 million is the floor for Justin Jefferson’s upcoming extension.

Justin Jefferson
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

Thanks to Sportrac, the value of Jefferson’s would-be extension is clearer. That site calculates Jefferson’s calculated market value at $32.5 million per season while spitballing that Minnesota will likely award the 2022 Offensive Player of the Year a deal for four years and $140 million.

Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti wrote last week, “The modern-day GOAT now knows who the next QB in Minnesota will be. Is a historic extension for JJ next on the Vikings’ to-do list? It’s perfectly plausible that Jefferson and his camp would rather wait for CeeDee Lamb and/or Ja’Marr Chase to lock in their own deals before finalizing his own numbers, but neither of those scenarios seem close to their respective finish lines.”

Ginnitti concluded, “Adding 4 years and $140M to his current $19.7M guaranteed salary for 2024 seems like a logical floor here.”

We agree — and expect the deal to be announced soon.

Rumor: Minnesota could play Atlanta right away in 2024, which is Kirk Cousins’ new team.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

This one is just a fan theory — that it would be sweet for the Vikings to play Kirk Cousins out of the gate in 2024. Many fans attached the primetime stipulation because NFL-themed media loves to claim that Cousins plays poorly under the light, although he does not.

The only substance to this rumor is that it would be a neat grudge match. VikingsTerritory‘s sources are crickets on the reality of the matchup.


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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 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.

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