Vikings Rumors: SF’s Up Close Look at Danielle, 3 Steps for a Vikings Sell Off, & Injuries Piling Up

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Though we’re now into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors aren’t as abundant, we’ll still be highlighting some of the purple rumblings.

The “Vikings Rumor Wrangle” is a series that keeps readers informed on what’s being whispered about in Vikings Land. In this iteration, we discuss San Francisco having a golden opportunity to scout Minnesota’s talent, what needs to happen for the Vikings to sell, and Minnesota’s worsening injury troubles.

The Vikings Rumors — 10.18.2023

Rumor #1 — The San Francisco 49ers Will Use the MNF Game to Scout Minnesota’s Roster

One would assume.

Sitting at 5-1, San Francisco is tied for first place in the NFL. Clearly, they’re among the best teams in the league, possessing a roster that could very easily snatch the Lombardi Trophy. What makes that ambition easier to foresee is the simple fact that they’re sitting on a pile of cap space. Kyle Shanahan’s crew is in first place in the NFL with a touch above $40 million in room.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Jan 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) lines up before a snap against the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Shanahan & Co. are getting the most out of a QB — Brock Purdy — who is operating on his rookie contract. The roster is loaded with excellent players such as Nick Bosa, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Fred Warner, Trent Williams, and Javon Hargrave.

Don’t be at all surprised if they’re interested in Danielle Hunter, a pass rusher who is leading the NFL with 8 sacks and 11 TFLs. Were I in charge — and let’s all be thankful I’m not — I’d be negotiating with Hunter’s camp to keep him around for a while. But, of course, the decision will fall to Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. If the soon-to-be 29-year-old Hunter attracts interest, the GM may pull the trigger on a deal.

Anything less than a 2nd + would be a nonstarter for someone as great as Hunter.

Rumor #2 — There are Some Clear Things that Need to Happen Before a Trade Deadline Selling Spree

Losing to San Francisco on Monday Night Football is a near certainty. Dropping to 2-5 is no one’s idea of success, but the utterly obvious outcome that awaits may prompt Minnesota to hold off on selling for a bit longer.

As we’ve all heard plenty of times by now, the Vikings are alive because there are still five divisional games to be played. In theory, Kevin O’Connell’s squad could sweep the North, giving them an edge for the divisional crown and, at worst, a puncher’s chance at snagging one of a trio of wild card spots.

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell looks on before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The point, folks, is that dropping the game at Lambeau in Week 8 may be the outcome that fully pushes the GM toward selling his best players. Step 1 is the expected outcome: a loss to the 49ers. Step 2 is the more uncertain outcome: a loss to the uninspiring Packers. Step 3 would then be to squeeze the most value out of any interest that arises.

Kirk Cousins is the name that will be on everyone’s mind, but there has been a small army of NFL insiders casting doubt on #8 being moved (as Dustin Baker relays over on Vikings Territory). The various trade candidates, though, extend beyond just Mr. Cousins. Not long ago, PurplePTSD offered 7 names to remember and then a list with 4 players.

Strange as it may seem, the most probable trade candidate may be Lewis Cine.

Rumor #3 — The Vikings’ Injuries are Piling Up

First, it was Justin Jefferson.

The best receiver in the NFL is on the IR and won’t be eligible to return until the Vikings have played three more games. Making matters worse is that Marcus Davenport — a wonderfully gifted pass rusher — is likely to join the receiver. As a result, Brian Flores’ defense takes a major hit in the talent department just as thing have been beginning to improve.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers place kicker Eddy Pineiro (4) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Marcus Davenport (0) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network provided the update: “#Vikings pass-rusher Marcus Davenport suffered a high-ankle sprain in Sunday’s win, sources said after the MRI. Those generally have a recovery time of 4-6 weeks, making Davenport an Injured Reserve candidate.”

The concern with Davenport has never been with talent, or lack thereof. Rather, the concern with Davenport has been his availability, or lack thereof. The Vikings agreed to 1-year, prove-it deal for precisely this reality. A great player, Davenport hasn’t been able to stay on the field with any consistency, undermining his capacity to be a weekly difference maker for a defense.

Hopefully, the initial timeline proves misguided and Davenport finds his way back to the field before long.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.