Unsigned Vikings LG Talks Contract on Social Media

Dalton Risner was brought aboard in September of 2023. Originally, the guard was serving as a backup but an injury to Ezra Cleveland opened the door to a starting position that he never handed back.

Is that going to continue into 2024?

The unsigned Vikings LG took to social media to discuss the contract that has yet to arrive: “Just In case anyone was wondering… I’ve started 73 games over 5 years in the league… missing only 4 games due to injury… earning the starting spot amongst 3 different coaching staffs… I’ve never asked for a bag, simply just a starting guard contract.”

Unsigned Vikings LG Shares His Contract Desires on Social Media

So far, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been pretty reluctant to pay interior linemen.

Center Garrett Bradbury got a new deal, but it was pretty modest overall (3 years and $15.75M). Ed Ingram has been holding down the right guard position while on his rookie contract and Blake Brandel has been filling in as needed. Chris Reed was picked up for a modest amount back in 2022 and then the original Risner deal in Minnesota was for just a single season at $3 million.

Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) reacts with tight end Josh Oliver (84) and guard Dalton Risner (66) after a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Most notable, though, was the simple decision to move on from Cleveland. The former 2nd-round selection is a high-upside option given his youth and athleticism but Adofo-Mensah shipped him to Jacksonville for a mere 6th. The interpretation from many was simply that Minnesota’s GM wasn’t going to accomodate Cleveland’s eventual contract demands and was pleased with the play provided by Risner.

In the end, the Jaguars brought Cleveland back for a pretty hefty deal. Ian Rapoport provided the news: “The #Jaguars and standout G Ezra Cleveland have agreed to terms on a new 3-year deal worth $28.5M, sources say, with $14.5M guaranteed.”

Nov 1, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) celebrates with offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland (72) after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Around the NFL more broadly, left guards are landing some major money. John Simpson got a pair of seasons and $18 million. Damien Lewis snagged four seasons and $53 million. Jon Runyan got three seasons and $30 million. Jonah Jackson got three years and $51 million. Landon Dickerson picked up four seasons at $84 million.

The overlooked position has been landing some good-size deals.

Bring things back around to Dalton Risner, the Vikings LG who is looking for his next deal. At 6’5″, 312, Risner has excellent size. He was chosen 41st overall back in 2019, which is a high draft slot for a guard. Plus, he’s still only 28, so there’s some youth left in his lungs and legs.

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) celebrates after a touchdown with guard Dalton Risner (66) against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

What kind of deal is in store for Risner? How high would Minnesota go?

In response to the Risner social media post, some NFL analysts voiced their support. Brandon Thorn, a foremost authority on NFL linemen, sent along this thought: “The film justifies that request!” Cap wizard Brad Spielberger offered a thought on the financial end of things: “Better player than plenty of guys that have signed sizable contracts already this week.”

No doubt, Dalton Risner is a rock-solid player. He ended up playing in fifteen games for Minnesota last year, starting eleven. He picked up 746 snaps. Per PFF, he was responsible for 3 penalties, 11 QB hits, and 30 pressures. Notably, there wasn’t a sack allowed.

If a deal gets done in Minnesota, Dalton Risner would ensure there’s complete offensive line continuity going into 2024.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference, PFF, 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.