Dalton Risner Opens Up about Denver Return, Love for Josh Dobbs, & Maybe Getting the Middle Finger

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Dalton Risner does an excellent job of speaking to reporters. His few minutes following the Denver game was merely the latest example.

Before becoming a Viking, Risner was a Bronco. He was chosen 41st overall by Denver in the 2019 NFL Draft, so it’s where he got his career started. And, to his credit, he largely did good things in those initial years, picking up 62 starts across 62 games played. Not bad, folks.

He had a few thoughts about his return to Denver, and he was quite candid in offering them up in his conversation with the media following the game.

Dalton Risner Discusses his Denver Return

There was no shortage of people who tried to get his attention. The issue was simply that Risner couldn’t discern whether their intentions were pure or not. Would he be getting a greeting from a friend or a foe?

“I heard a ton of people trying to get my attention,” the offensive lineman explained. The issue was simply that he needed to “focus on the game.” After all, he didn’t know whether he’d “get the middle finger or turn around and someone saying ‘hi.'”

Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton in the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Elsewhere, the left guard took on the topic of Minnesota’s trio of turnovers. He was quick to note that even if everyone wants to focus on those plays, there are several other moments when he could have been better. And, to be sure, everyone on the team had moments when they could have been better. The point, per Risner, is simply that the full team contributed to the losing effort.

He did make a point to kick some praise in Josh Dobbs’ direction while discussing the final moments (the plays where the QB had an intentional grounding). “Kudos to Josh,” Risner notes, “Love blocking for that dude. That dude is going to do everything he can to make a play.”

Not too long afterwards, Risner explains that a major part of the reason why he respects the QB is because of his consistency: “He’s the same Josh Dobbs.” According to Risner, Dobbs will get back to work and be better so that the Vikings can get back to winning.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos
Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Viking quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Some other noteworthy tidbits from his presser. Dalton Risner had never been in the visitor’s locker room. He grew up as a Broncos fan. He thinks the team did a good job with the run blocking, a thought that gets extended to the tight ends and wide receivers for their contributions with the blocks.

Crucially, he’s already looking ahead to the Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears.

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes in the first half against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the season, the Vikings signed Dalton Risner to a 1-year, $2,781,250 deal. He initially didn’t get into the game (apart from special teams). The Ezra Cleveland injury opened the door at left guard and the veteran Risner hasn’t given the spot back. In fact, Cleveland was shipped out at the trade deadline, so Risner is going to be the LG1 for the duration of the 2023 season.

Risner, 28, is coming in at 6’5″ and 312 pounds. The veteran has been very outspoken about how much he loves playing in Minnesota, so the expectation should be that he’ll be quite amenable to a new deal during the offseason.

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.