Vikings Rumors: Wrangling Risner, Thielen’s Slow Start, & An Injury Prone Left Tackle

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-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 wrangling Dalton Risner, Adam Thielen starting his year modestly, and whether Minnesota’s LT is injury prone.

The Vikings Rumors – 09.20.2023

Rumor #1 — Signing Dalton Risner Means the Vikings’ OL is Going to Get Put in a Blender

Hopefully not.

Dalton Risner offers the potential to play multiple spots along the offensive line for Minnesota. Allowing the recent addition to shuffle multiple players around seems misguided, though. After all, we just spent several months learning about the merits of continuity, so let’s not deviate too much from that path.

Aug 29, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos offensive tackle Dalton Risner (66) in the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The time to try a more bold configuration for the OL that involves shuffling many people around would have been the offseason. With the season fully underway, the Vikings would be wise to avoid getting too frisky with the OL shuffling. Putting things in a blender could backfire since continuity and familiarity with one’s blocking buddy really does matter (at least to a certain extent).

The Chargers game is a little less than a week away. Expect to see Risner on the sideline with shoulder pads on and helmet in hand. How much playing time he gets and where he gets that playing time is what everyone in Minnesota is looking to find out.

Rumor #2 — Adam Thielen’s Start in Carolina Hasn’t Been Particularly Inspiring

Yes, that’s likely a fair conclusion.

Back in 2018, Adam Thielen put together an elite season in Minnesota. He finished the year with 113 catches, 1,373 yards, and 9 TDs. Sensational stuff for the UDFA who lived the dream as a local kid who made it in the NFL.

Vikings Who Left
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) celebrates his touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone as well since then. Since the fantastic statistical output in 2018, Thielen has put together 418 yards (2019), 925 yards (2020), 726 yards (2021), and 716 yards (2022). More recently, Thielen has offered some similarly modest totals. Take a look at the two-game breakdown catching passes from Bryce Young:

  • Week 1: 2 Targets, 2 Catches, 12 Yards.
  • Week 2: 9 Targets, 7 Catches, 54 Yards, 1 TD.

Add it all together and it’s 9 catches for 66 yards and a score after a pair of games. Humdrum. Minnesota fans will be wishing him well as he continues the second chapter of his career.

Rumor #3 — Christian Darrisaw is Injury Prone

Left tackle Christian Darrisaw isn’t yet through his third season in the NFL. Unfortunately, he has already had to miss time since he’s dealing with an ankle injury.

As a sophomore, Darrisaw could only play 14 games due to concussion issues. As a rookie, Darrisaw could only play 12 games due to his recovery from a groin injury. So, not a great start when it comes to being available for a full season.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) react after a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

When he’s healthy, Darrisaw is a difference maker. He plays one of the game’s most important positions — left tackle — and does so at a high level. Given that he’s still only 24, Darrisaw could reasonably be a top-level player in Minnesota for the next 5-10 yards. Being able to live up to that potential will require the lineman to get a bit luckier with his health.

The Chargers boast Nick Bosa and Khalil Mack along the edge, so having the third-year LT back out there would be a positive for Kevin O’Connell’s crew.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference 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.