Purple Rumor Mill: Trading Up on Draft Night, Cousins’ Return, The Risner Mystery

Vikings Will Enter 2023 Offseason with Familiar Problem
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

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 January 28th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Trading Up on Draft Night, Cousins’ Return, The Risner Mystery

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 Vikings will be unafraid to trade up the board on draft night.

The Risner
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders in Week 9 of the 2022 regular season.

Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling joined Paul Allen’s show on KFAN a few days ago and elaborated on Minnesota’s draft mindset regarding quarterback, “If they’re going to take one, it’s going to be someone we love or we’re not doing it. If you have to give up a couple first-round picks for future years, I don’t think they’d bat an eye at that.”

The franchise owns the 11th overall pick and must decide before free agency in March to re-sign incumbent quarterback Kirk Cousins or let him hit the open market. While the team’s leaders have expressed enthusiasm in reuniting with Cousins for a seventh season, the outcome is genuinely a coinflip as of January 28th. It’s all about the money.

“They have certainly looked at this as ‘we need to get the guy that we can plant our flag with for the next 10 years, and if it costs a lot to do that, so be it. ‘I don’t think they’re going to limp in on this, so to speak, and be like, ‘Well, if it’s QB5 and we’re kind of OK with him, let’s take him anyway,’” Goessling added.

So, the Vikings could be mighty movers and shakers on draft night, especially if Cousins is not re-signed.

Rumor: Kirk Cousins is “ahead of schedule” per his Achilles recovery.

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

In a video posted to X, NFL Network’Tom Pelissero said this week, “I’m told he is ahead of schedule in his recovery from the Achilles. He’s actually going to be throwing before the Combine next month.”

Pelissero added about Cousins’ future, “Everything is tracking in a good direction for Kirk Cousins to be fully ready to roll for the Vikings, or whoever he might be with in 2024.”

Usually when confronted with questions about his future, Cousins remains steadfast and states his commitment to the Vikings. In fact, a reporter asked him about a trade last October, and he became visibly irritated. This offseason, however, Cousins seems more open to free agency.

The takeaway? For the Vikings or another team, Cousin should be ready for Week 1.

Rumor: Dalton Risner may be too rich for the Vikings in free agency.

Viking May Not Be Back
Former Denver Broncos offensive guard Dalton Risner on Monday Night Football during his first start with the Minnesota Vikings. U.S. Bank Stadium, October 23rd, 2023. Risner started for an injured Ezra Cleveland.

A new working theory suggests Risner could dart for a big payday on the open free agent market, perhaps making his stint in Minnesota a one-year gig.

In August and September, Vikings fans demanded, tweeted, and screamed for the club to sign Risner from the free-agent wire. The Vikings front office seemed to oblige, and the experiment worked. To continue Risner’s stint in purple, though, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah might have to dust off the checkbook. Risner’s price in 2023 was affordable, likely because the regular season was in full swing when signed on the Vikings’ dotted line. Now, Risner could chase the cash, according to former Viking Jeremiah Sirles.

“I think he played well enough; he’s going to want a bigger contract,” Sirles said on the Purple Insider podcast this week. Sirles also hinted that Adofo-Mensah may not offer such a contract because Minnesota has other roster matters to rectify.

Earlier this month, Pro Football Focus arrived at a similar conclusion regarding Risner. PFF’s Brad Spielberger projected Risner fetching a three-year deal worth a total of $24 million and $15 million in guarantees, a pricetag a bit higher than most Vikings fans have in mind. The hypothetical deal from PFF would make Risner the NFL’s eighth-highest-paid left guard.

Risner can still be considered a reasonable option to return in Minnesota for a sequel, but it’s not as ironclad as a few weeks ago. Because he was affordable and available last September doesn’t mean he’ll always be a discount guy.

The 3 Draft Droughts for the Vikings
Also Read from VikingsTerritory:
The 3 Draft Droughts for the Vikings

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.